Saturday, September 30, 2006

Albuquerque rocks

Maggie says:
In the span of one night, I:

  • Found myself overwhelmingly surrounded by "Albuquerque's hottest singles"... only some of whom were hot, and many of whom were not exactly single
  • Survived said event only because of the fabulous ladies who accompanied me
  • Alternated between amusement and distaste at the nakedness of many local "hot" single women and the amount of hair products used by many "hot" single men
  • Had a shockingly accurate and insightful tarot card reading
  • Had a very Marilyn Monroe moment over a street grate with the girls
  • Talked planning with one of my favorite local actors
  • Jaw-dropped at a man with a falcon on his shoulder at Anodyne
Bad fashion and bad hair can happen anywhere, but I like to think that a falcon in a bar is only possible in Albuquerque.

Quote for Saturday

Mikaela offers:

“When our will finds expression outside ourselves in actions performed by others, we do not waste our time and our power of attention in examining whether they have consented to this. This is true for all of us. Our attention, given entirely to the success of the undertaking, is not claimed by them as long as they are docile. . . .

Rape is a terrible caricature of love from which consent is absent. After rape, oppression is the second horror of human existence. It is a terrible caricature of obedience.”
-- Simone Weil (as quoted by Iris Marion Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference, 1990, pp. 39)

Students Unite! -- SDS reincarnates

Mikaela re-posts a letter from Mark Rudd:

Dear Friends: Perhaps you've heard that Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), a defunct sixties rock group, has been resurrected from the grave. It's true!

Myself, I've kept my distance up to now, thinking that they don't need any stupid old people hanging around to screw things up, like we did forty years ago.

But I have been watching the growth of this new SDS, with more than 130 chapters on college and high school campuses. You can check out what they've been up to here.

Last month I was recruited to join the SDS old people's auxiliary, Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS). The original MDS was founded around 1967 to provide an organizational framework for post-campus organizers. This one is intended to help the young SDS organizers with bail, fund-raising, advice (only if asked), logistical support, and who knows what else. The president of MDS is our old founder, Al Haber, one of the authors of the Port Huron Statement.

Somehow, I was immediately put on MDS' board upon joining. When I looked on the website to try to figure out what the duties of board members are, I found my name alongside those of other several old comrades, among others: Tom Hayden, Carl Davidson, Bernardine Dohrn, Charlene Mitchell, Michael Rossman, Michael James, HOWARD ZINN and NOAM CHOMSKY!!!! Now I know what it feels like to be on the same board with both God and Jesus Christ.

A lot of the start-up SDS support work in the last year has been done by Paul Buhle, at Brown, and Tom Good, of New York City. Tom edits a website called Next Left Notes . He has a bunch of great stuff there, plus links to everything under the sun. Check out especially Paul Buhle's reports and essays.

My deepest hope is that the new SDS flourishes and helps build the broadest possible anti-war movement and even a new radical movement to challenge the violent fascist clique now in power in Washington.

One requisite is that they and we avoid the stupid ideological infighting, sectarianism, name-calling, and "correct lineism" that killed the old SDS. (For my mea culpas, check out my website at [I]n response young organizers will probably just change the channel, but old people like me will certainly be repulsed and withdraw because we have better things to do with the little time left us on this mortal coil.

Let's hope this is the last instance of the poison which is guaranteed to kill us off. Or are we incapable of learning from our mistakes?

Anyway, the purpose of this long message, please forgive me, is to ask you to investigate joining SDS (if you're a student or young person) and MDS (if you're a veteran or off-campus). We need help getting these organizations going. The intergenerational aspect of the work can be a plus, especially if the old people don't act as a heavy hand on the young.

Feel free to write me with your response at

For peace, justice, and freedom, and a new and better SDS,


Friday, September 29, 2006

Of Poets and Politicians -- Stick it to the (wo)man!

Mikaela re-posts:
[If I were to be in town, I would go just for the poets, by the way: Don McIver, Tony Santiago, and the m's perennial favorite, Hakim Bellamy]

Join the League of Independent Voters for a hillarious night of comedy, as we poke fun at our "favorite" NM District 1 Congresswoman (Heather Wilson). All proceeds of this fundraiser event will work towards building community power through local politics. Oh, and the evenings host will be none other than "Pleather Wilson" him-uh, i mean herself...

Saturday October 7th 2006, 8:00-9:30 PM
Gorilla Tango Comedy Theatre
519 Central (Downtown Abq, NM)

20$ Presales available now!
buy online-

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Mayor Marty on Democracy Now -- Really!

Mikaela says:
Listening now... More to come, but here's the link if you want to listen yourself:

Click here for the article.

Click here for the audio file.

I'm just at the beginning, but so far he sounds really reasonable, and Albuquerque comes off as this haven for Green Building and sustainability vision. Ahem.

And then there's this little gem about the March 17, 2003 war protest:

AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you, on the issue of dissent in this time of war, I know mayors around the country are dealing with protests, since the invasion, around that time. In Albuquerque, there was a protest right at the time of the invasion.


AMY GOODMAN: And the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Albuquerque Police Department for treatment of the Albuquerque protesters. Among the issues they were concerned about were protesters being beaten, protesters been arrested. And in the lawsuit, the ACLU deposed a detective, a detective named Gregory Gene Cunningham, and they asked him about the APD, the Albuquerque Police Department's surveillance of antiwar groups. And he went on to talk about being undercover, going to a restaurant where an antiwar protest preparation meeting was taking place, identifying himself, I think it was, as Gilbert Martinez, and sitting in among the group, saying he was an antiwar protester, as well, or interested in the protest. What kind of activity is the police department involved in in surveillance of protesters?

MAYOR MARTIN CHAVEZ: Well, understand, Amy, I come from the Vietnam generation, and I participated in antiwar protests on the exact same streets that were involved with these demonstrations. And we had a handful, a very small handful, unfortunately, of folks come in from out of state that were bent on mischief, pure and simple. And so, I think our police acted entirely appropriately, particularly the first night, and then I got -- because we had these folks in wearing masks, and we had incendiary devices thrown at the police lines, which was entirely inconsistent with what 99% of the folks out there were there for, and that was simply to express their opinions on the war.

And so, what we’ve done -- and I’ve had the ACLU into the office -- we totally revamped all of our ordinances and established a new protocol when there is a planned demonstration. Obviously, sometimes you have demonstrations that are not planned, and these issues can be so emotional and the passions can rise so high. So I think we're doing very well in that regard, respecting the tradition -- and it’s a great American tradition -- of civil disobedience, but also ensuring public safety.

AMY GOODMAN: Are police going undercover and infiltrating peace groups?

MAYOR MARTIN CHAVEZ: If -- no peace groups, but if we have people coming to Albuquerque from elsewhere that are bent on violence, our police will be there, absolutely.

AMY GOODMAN: And is the Joint Terrorism Task Force also involved with this at the federal level?

MAYOR MARTIN CHAVEZ: You know, I have very little interaction with those folks. I was one of the first mayors in the country, when Homeland Security wanted us to do random stops at our airport without reasonable grounds, probable cause, to say “No, we’re not going to do that.” And as a result, they revamped that policy. And so, it’s unfortunate, Amy, you have a real dichotomy between federal policy and what most mayors and governors know is the right thing to do. And so, we walk a very -- it’s a very delicate balance we have to strike daily.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, are federal authorities working with the APD, the Albuquerque Police Department, in monitoring and surveiling peace activists?

MAYOR MARTIN CHAVEZ: Oh, I wouldn’t be aware of anything like that, but I am sure and I would hope that there’s good communication between the federal authorities, local public safety authorities. That’s important for keeping our neighborhoods safe.

Right, Marty. Keep it positive! Revisionist history and unbelievable claims of ignorance from our lovable Mayor.

Here was my memory of the March 17, 2003 protest when peaceful protestors were arrested and tear-gassed, including a woman doing nothing wrong, featured here:

Albuquerque, March 17, 2003

By midnight
the streets were clear and quiet
rain softly drumming on tear-gas canisters
tapping on placards now wilting in the bushes
dissolving horseshit piled up in the streets.

The echo of flashing lights
remained glowing in the puddles
but the sirens now warn of the coming new order
in other corners of the city
to other crooks for other crimes.

One barrette lay open and glistening
in the intersection
between opposite lanes of traffic
at the base of a light
now free to turn green.

She will ask for it at police custody
her release the only thing they can hand her
in the absence of peace
apologies not yet forced from the mayor
by the headlines

her arrest still signaling
just their job
just another protest
just one more voice
shoved face-down to asphalt and rain.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Quote for the Day

Mikaela clips:
As excerpted by Dan Froomkin of WaPo's White House Briefing:

Paul Rieckhoff , who served in Iraq, writes in a New York Times op-ed on the strategic value of treating prisoners decently: "I saw countless insurgents surrender when faced with the prospect of a hot meal, a pack of cigarettes and air-conditioning. America's moral integrity was the single most important weapon my platoon had on the streets of Iraq. It saved innumerable lives, encouraged cooperation with our allies and deterred Iraqis from joining the growing insurgency."

Yesterday's Albuquerque Journal had a front-page article that boldly declared that Bush doesn't agree with the report summarizing the CONSENSUS OPINION of ALL 16 U.S. intelligence agencies that the war in Iraq is damaging America's security against terrorist attack. I found myself wondering who the (*^&*^%!^*) cares about whether or not Bush agrees, but the answer is, well, the Journal, for one. When I went online yesterday to the Journal website, I couldn't find the story. It was not listed among the front page articles. Isn't that interesting?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Transit love

Maggie says:
One day, perhaps even before the week is out, I will reaquaint myself with this whole 'blogging' thing. But not just yet.

So in the meantime, I present two opportunities that all transit-lovers, Albuquerque-lovers, place-lovers, and city-lovers should consider attending.

And hey... you just might see someone you recognize there. ;-)

Public Meetings on Modern Streetcar in Albuquerque

Tuesday, September 26
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Immanuel Presbyterian Church
Carlisle and Central

Wednesday, September 27
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Heights Community Center
Coal and Buena Vista

Friday, September 22, 2006

Choosing Color

Mikaela writes:
Last night driving home, I heard the NPR story about the experimental tanning cream that induces an actual tan -- it's not a dye -- it triggers your skin cells to tan as though they've been in the sun. Here's a quote from the Harvard researcher:

"I will confess I suspected we might see some darkening," says Fisher. "But I was fairly shocked that it was as efficient and complete as what we actually saw."

After several weeks, of applying every day, the mice became really tan.

Fisher was surprised at how dark. "Seriously brown, dark brown, and even black," he says. "It [was] difficult to distinguish from mice born with dark skin."

Suddenly, I'm having visions of people choosing their skin color, getting darker or lighter for ... a party, for a business meeting, for a mortgage application meeting?

Once the barrier to be different colors is removed, maybe the new fad will be patterns -- the all-over skin tatoo (remember falling asleep on the beach reading a book and getting an embarrassing sunburn all around its edges?).

It's Dr. Seuss' Sneetches all over again. You remember the story. (I had it on a record, with Horton Hatches the Egg.) Mr. Sylvester McMonkey McBean, the fix-it-up chappy, comes to town with a new machine to put blue stars on bellies. Half the sneetches line up and pay. But then all the Sneetches want stars, so they all get stars, but then having a star is blase, so Mr. Sylvester McMonkey McBean fixes up his machine to remove the blue stars for even more money. This cycle goes on and on until no one has any money, and Mr. McBean leaves town. The Sneeches realize:
"neither the Plain nor the Star-Bellies knew
Whether this one was that one or that one was this one.
Or which one was what one or what one was who."
Could it ever happen with skin color? We just took a giant step toward "Go" and rest assured companies are signing up to collect their $200.

Now if we could only invent a religion machine... then where would our prejudices be?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Does this make anyone else nervous??

Mikaela cringes:

This from Businessweek (thanks for the heads up, David Sirota!):

New Mexico Banks On The Box Office

[New Mexico's fund that supports the public education system] has extended $130 million in financing to films shot in New Mexico, with more on the way.

...20% of its assets [will be put] into so-called alternative investments ... [including the film] Employee of the Month, which the state bankrolled to the tune of $13 million, as well as a slate of "soft-R" horror movies such as Living Hell and Buried Alive.

So far, the endowment has managed only to break even. An early venture, Elvis Has Left the Building, a 2004 comedy in which Kim Basinger plays a cosmetics saleswoman accused of killing Elvis impersonators, went straight to DVD.

...The state is providing filmmakers with loans that are guaranteed by investment-grade banks....

New Mexico has been raising the movie stakes of late, in part to spur a cottage industry. (In the past two years, filmmakers spent almost $98 million in the state, including pay for almost 2,100 crew jobs.) Since 2005 the state has allowed the endowment to lend up to $15 million to a film project, up from $7.5 million.

Due out next year, Wanted: Undead or Alive. Scripted by a South Park writer, it was presented to the council as "Blazing Saddles meets Shaun of the Dead," according to minutes from the meeting. Says Kulka: "I personally have high hopes."

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Free Fun This Weekend: Globalquerque

Mikaela reposts:


Please join us at Globalquerque's Free Family and Community Days at the National Hispanic Cultural Center!
Sept. 23 and 24
12 pm - 4 pm
There will be hands-on activities for children, workshops, music demos, food and craft demos and free dance classes by an electic and talented collection of Albuquerque dance teachers!!

Saturday, Sept. 23
12:00 - 12:50 African Dance with Romy Keegan
1:00 - 1:50 Belly Dancing with Taghrid
2:00 - 2:50 Samba with Pilar Leto
3:00 - 3:50 Hula with Cyndi Heffner

Sunday, Sept. 24
12:00 - 12:50 Haitian Dance with Annie King and family
1:00 - 1:50 Belly Dancing with Taghrid
2:00 - 2:50 Tango with Jenny DeBouzek, Tomas Alberto and Karen Keck
3:00-3:50 Casino de Rueda with Sarita Streng

Visit for more information on Globalquerque's free daytime events and ticket information for the exciting line-up of nighttime festival performances featuring 16 bands from 5 continents on 3 stages!Globalquerque is brought to you by AMP Concerts, Avokado Artists, the City of Albuquerque and the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Big Box Blackmail

marjorie says...

A veto by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley of an ordinance passed to raise the minimum wage at large retailers, such as Walmart and Target, was upheld by the City Council this week. The ordinance was passed and subsequently vetoed just as Walmart was about to open a store in a severely economically depressed area of Chicago. Of course, this is an issue we have debated repeatedly...what should the Mayor do when being blackmailed by the big box retailers, in light of the severe need to provide any kind of jobs period to this community? It isn't just Walmart either. Target put their plans to build a store on hold until they saw whether or not Daley would veto the ordinance. With that in mind, let's have a look at the statement Walmart released after the veto was upheld...with my commentary of course in red.

Statement to Mayor Richard M. Daley's Veto of Chicago's Big Box Ordinance
Wednesday September 13, 5:20 pm ET

CHICAGO, Sept. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The following was released today by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT - News):
                                Michael Lewis
President, Midwest Division

"This is a great day for the citizens of Chicago. The city council's action to sustain the mayor's veto will ensure more jobs, more convenience and more choice for Chicago's working families.

The city council and the Mayor, of course, acted under threat by Walmart to not locate in the's called blackmail, even if Walmart prefers to think of it as a "great day."

"This opens the door for desperately-needed business investment and development in the city, with job opportunities and savings for those who need it most.

Can someone please enlighten me about what "savings" Walmart is referring to? We all know that poor people generally are not able to save.

"We will open our first store in the city on Chicago's west side later this month. This store will show what a great asset Wal-Mart can be to the community, as an employer and corporate citizen, and as an affordable resource for thousands of Chicago's working families.

Not to mention, as a very effective blackmailer.

"We commend Mayor Daley for vetoing the ordinance and the city council for sustaining the veto to ensure more jobs, more savings and more economic development opportunities for all Chicagoans."

Think about that for a second...they are commending the Mayor for vetoing a city ordinance passed by democratically elected city councilors at the same time they call their store "desperately needed." I guess desperation is still not enough for Walmart to pay a few dollars more.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Mini-Series or Fascism?

marjorie says...

I completely understand why Clinton and his cronies are upset about this ABC mini-series about 9-11. It is important to have historical accuracy and the unfortunate truth is that a huge number of Americans form their opinions directly from such fictionalized nonsense. And I also do believe that this mini-series is a partisan affair, otherwise you wouldn't see Republicans coming out in its defense while Democrats condemned it. ABC really ought to be ashamed of itself...airing it this close to the general election. Either ABC is full of Republicans or the people running that place really do buy into the notion that in this country entertainment and politics can be separated. Rather, the reverse is true...they are almost one and the same.

Having said this, let's all take a time out with our rhetoric about who is to blame. Once again I am beset on all sides from folks urging me to call ABC and protest, saying: "...after all, Bush was in office for 9 months before the attacks." WOW. 9 MONTHS. As anyone knows, 9 months flies in the blink of an eye, and those attacks took a much longer time to plan. If Clinton isn't to blame after 8 YEARS in office, well neither is Bush. In reality, it isn't either parties fault. It was the product of a system that had not yet shifted to meet the realities of a non-cold war era.

Speaking of shifting to meet those realities, if any of you hadn't noticed Bush and company are currently engaged in a major propaganda effort to shore up their reputation in the face of their failed war in Iraq and their attack on our civil liberties. Bush is going to address the nation tonight and urge us all to be ok with Torture and internal Government Spying. Just to remind folks, these are the types of activities that we banned as immoral and dangerous a long time ago. And a new type of enemy does not justify a return to them. Unless we're all comfortable being on the road to fascism.

Let's get out of the relentless merry go round of party politics wrapped up in personalities and really examine what we're facing. No I'm not going to call ABC about a mini-series that might hurt the feelings of Democrats. I'd rather think about more important matters.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Heck, I'd marry this woman!

Maggie says:
Is it an unexciting weekend or what... I have a full-on girl crush for a woman I know only through the info-tainment venue of MSNBC. Bride holds charity event after fiance cheats

The story's not a new one. Woman finds out Man is cheating and tries to figure out a plan in the context of an upcoming 180-person wedding and thousands of dollars already spent on the thing.

What's a woman to do?

  • Choice A: Save Face. Some women might go along with the charade of the "perfect" relationship... especially if they have a "perfect" wedding planned that they care about more than the actual partnership. No need to admit to all the dark corners when there's a nice bright white dress to put on and a cake to cut! Any guesses as to how this marriage will turn out?
  • Choice B: Lose It. Not all women can be so stoic in the face of an impending crisis. Some brides might cut and run - literally, fleeing their state for Albuquerque and pretending they'd been abducted and sexually assaulted by a "Hispanic male." Oh, wait - that's just an option if you're scared about the wedding in general, not a reaction to a cheating fiance. Right.
  • Choice C: Stand Tall. This is the notion that Vermont women Kyle Paxman so well embodies. Six weeks before the wedding, she finds out her partner is a cheat. She immediately calls off the wedding and the relationship, but was stuck with nonrefundable hotel rooms and the reception area. According to the article, Paxman and her mom "...turned the reception into a benefit for the Vermont Children’s Aid Society and CARE USA, an international relief organization that aims to combat poverty by empowering women." Paxman's response? “I’m really just trying to turn it around and make something positive out of it.” You go, girl!
And as an aside - so I don't come across as completely jaded and unromantic, which people who know me know I'm totally not anyway - I'd like to give a shout-out to three dear friends who are all getting married within weeks of each other. (And yes, my gung-ho friend-of-the-bride self is traveling back east for all three weddings.) I spent last weekend in Buffalo, NY for Tracy's wedding, will be in Virginia next weekend for Allie's wedding, and then will be a Boston bridesmaid for Nancy just after that. Tracy, Allie, and Nancy are getting married for all the right reasons, and that's always amazing to be a part of.

And to Tracy, who looked Hurricane Ernesto in the eye last weekend and told him to bring on freezing rain and howling wind for her shores-of-Lake-Erie wedding: you kick ass, you power bride, you!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Killing me with sarcasm

Maggie says:
I've gotta give a shout-out to Coco and her write-up of the Volcano Heights Sector Plan approval:

Socialist Utopia Announced!

In case you missed it, this plan has been a complete roller-coaster. The culmination was Tuesday's City Council meeting (to add to the political intrigue, the Council skipped over the EPC and just approved it themselves) where Sally Mayer voted against the plan:

This from Dan McKay.

"We're just changing what they can do with their property," Mayer said. "I'll be teased for saying this, but I think this is un-American."

Cadigan said it's inappropriate to call one another "un-American" and pointed out that he'd served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Mayer apologized.

Ah yes, the high comedy that is a City Council meeting... So barely-under-the-surface I can hardly stop from giggling every time I'm there.

Anyway, Volcano Heights is a good thing. And Coco nails it... from the den of her socialist utopia, of course!

Planning nerds unite!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

America & Iran: Why moderates fail and fanatics rise to power

Mikaela writes:

I'm reading Daughter of Persia, written by Satti Farman Farmaian, a woman social worker, about growing up and working in Iran. She comes from a well-connected, rich political family, whose patriarch believed in educating all of his children – mostly in Western schools.

(For feminists: There’s a lot of cool stuff in the beginning about the mutual support of women in a polygamist marriage.)

For me, though, the book’s main importance is the insight it offers into Iran, which has always been simply the vilified (sometimes backward, sometimes evil, sometimes rich) country that is the “other” to Iraq in America’s eyes.

Satti tells a story of a poor country whose overwhelmingly poverty-stricken citizens are at the mercy of the often violently-shifting political winds. She herself is a moderate who believes in democracy, freedom, dissent, and social programs to better the lives of every Iranian citizen, not just those from certain families or certain faiths. Her Western education gives her objectivity in some ways, and blindness in others. In some ways, being a bit of both makes her neither. She’s not the typical Iranian and can’t speak for them, nor is she the typical Westerner. In other ways, she has insights into both that should offer a bridge for understanding.

What I’m fascinated by at the moment is her discussion of the rise of fanatical Islam after years of dictatorship under a monarch who was secular and embraced all things Western – to the point of throwing out all things Islamic. Ayatollah Khomeini offered the opposite view and was able to argue that the excesses of government and corruption went hand-in-hand with being in the pocket of American corporate interests, and the only solution must be to repudiate all things Western. What gets left out are all the moderates who want stability AND democracy AND religious freedoms AND education AND equality for citizens AND women’s rights.

She tells incident after incident of watching in frustration as more and more people assume the mantle of fanaticism at the peril of their own liberty (especially women). At the same time, she herself sees the problems with the opposite form of government and wants to be rid of the worst kind of crackdown on political dissent and increasing corruption.

She laments often about the lack of powerful leaders who can argue from the middle about keeping the best of both worlds – the freedoms of a secular government and the emphasis on family, community, stability, equality and tolerance of Islam.

Tehran aerial courtesy

Her story shows the power of rhetoric and visceral buy-in of extreme positions. It’s much harder to speak passionately about moderation, even if that’s where freedom lies.

I see the same happening in America today. The division between red states and blue states, conservatives and liberals, republicans and democrats are hardly ever about reasonable positions but instead about what can be passionately argued. The moderates and the nuanced thinkers and those who think across platforms to the values that support them… we end up having to vote for the lesser of two evils. The country is therefore left to jolt pendulously from one side to the other, leaving everyone feeling defensive, unsure, enraged, frustrated, and unheard.

I hope that what happened in Iran – huge sea changes that still left the main problems of poverty and misery for millions of its citizens untouched if not worsened – doesn’t predict what happens here. Moderate has come to have bad connotations of “those without real values” or “those sitting on fences” or "those who just won't speak truth to power" or "political opportunists" rather than what I would argue its meaning should be: “those who can describe what the optimum balance of freedoms and responsibilities should be.”

In my mind, we have to get pretty far to the perceived “left” before we start finding “moderate” positions in America. We’ve gone way too deep into the red if Bush can argue without shame that secret CIA prisons with “tough” interrogation techniques and indefinitely-held, innocent-until-proven-guilty-except-they’re-“enemy combatants” are actually necessary for our freedom. If that’s freedom, I don’t want it. It’s bloody and immoral and wrong, and I’d rather take my chances against a mostly unarmed shadow enemy.

What’s helpful to me about reading the book is understanding that all the subtlety of our own political process – the fact that so many Americans don’t really approve of Democrats OR Republicans right now – is also true of all these countries we’re so afraid of. Most of Iran’s educated citizens feel like most of us do in America – alarmed at our own governments and systems of power. And those uneducated in Iran and America? They’re just worried about how they will live. I am, too.

In my inbox

Mikaela writes:
This morning, waiting for me, is a spam mail from Travelocity, offering great deals to ... ALBUQUERQUE!!!

"Old Town's churches and museums recall the city's Spanish Colonial past. Artists peddle their Navaho rugs and turquoise jewelry. Where else but Albuquerque?"

Love those peddlers, don't you? And all that Spanish colonialism in our past! I mean, wow. It's kinda like a southwestern Pompeii, perfectly preserved in the past with nothing happening in the present.

Kinda interesting what the 2-sentense summary is for national travelers.

I think the slogan on the picture captures the dilemma the City itself faces right now...

Going last minute or planning ahead?

Any bets? Odds on last minute, no?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day?

marjorie says...

The rest of the world (practically) celebrates International Workers Day, or simply Labor Day, on May 1 in commemoration of the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago as well as the international labor movement. But here in United States and Canada it’s celebrated on the first Monday of September. Labor Day in the U.S. was adopted during a time of great labor organizing as a counter measure to having May 1 become the national holiday. Understanding the history of Labor Day goes a long way toward explaining why it’s essentially a meaningless holiday.

Yes, it’s meaningless. It’s a long weekend that the American middle class uses for vacations and barbeques. And the political class on occasion uses it for meaningless speeches as election season begins. Don’t get me wrong, we already work way more compared to our other first world counterparts. American productivity is sacred and American workers by and large have bought into the notion that their lives should be slaves to the wheel of profit, or simply a better paying salary. Most of us get very little vacation time and most of us experience very stingy bosses who count every single day we take as if it were gold. So I don’t begrudge this Holiday time even though I don’t like the fact that it’s an empty holiday. After all, most of us don’t think twice about all the labor working on this day to make it a nice holiday for the rest of us, much less organized labor itself.

Friday, September 01, 2006

News Bits

Mikaela re-posts:
Heartening and Horrifying, in that order.

From Democracy Now:

Vatican, Churches Criticize Christian Zionist Movement
In other news from the region, the Vatican and three churches in Israel have come out against the Christian Zionist movement -- the American evangelicals who have lobbied the US government for aggressive support of Israel’s policies. In a statement called the “Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism”, the four Church groups write:

"The Christian Zionist programme provides a world view where the Gospel is identified with the ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism. We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war."

Education Dept. Shared Student Applicant Data With FBI
Here in the United States, the Education Department has admitted its shared the personal information of hundreds of student loan applicants with the FBI. The sharing was part of a five-year program called Project Strikeback. Officials say the program was used to check applicants for student assistance with names on FBI watchlists. David Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, said “This operation Strikeback confirms our worst fears about the uses to which these databases can be put.”