Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wanna read something scary?

Mikaela says:
Check out the comments to Norman Lear's article in the Washington Post about respect and tolerance for religious belief.

Oh my.

We got problems...

Not sure what this Christian was doing up on the Internet so late, but ...

Mark Farr:

Some one must say this to you:
You speak as an idiot apologist and who by your own statements identify to all that you do not believe that Jesus is Lord. The word of the Lord John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." Everyone sins. You feel that you can judge and distinguish the big sin from the small, you substitute your own rationalizations for what should be your faith and trust in Christ and his word. Sorry I must tell you but the "Muslim or Hindu" will not see the father and your rationalizations that (in your eyes) they may not have sinned is irrelevant. Their own failure to accept Christ is relevant.
Jesus taught that we should choose, not submit. We all choose, some of us will never submit. I'll pray for you.

And this deep thinker:


Mr. Lear you are lost. Jesus is Lord and God of us all. This liberal belief that all religions work is just nonsense. If there was another way to the Father, and there is not, the Bible would have told us.

Check out the nuance shown here:



These were the most vitriolic entries, I admit, but check it out and see everything on the spectrum of belief. If I had lots of time, I'd chart them and do the percentage to find out just how much trouble we're in.

This is one of the biggest reasons why we thought to separate government and religion in the first place. There is way too much at stake for people to base rule of law on the beliefs only some of us share and some of us would die -- or kill -- for.

Heap o' trouble. Oh boy.

Monday, November 27, 2006

We're at Civil War in Iraq

Mikaela says:
Mainstream media has begun to label Iraq a civil war. Academics who study these things are finally satisfied. The White House isn't happy.

Here's standard criteria by which to judge a civil war:

By Monica Duffy Toft

There are six criteria for considering a conflict a civil war.

Q. Is the focus of the war control over which group governs the political unit?

Q. Are there at least two groups of organized combatants?

Q. Is the state one of the combatants?

Q. Are there at least 1,000 battle deaths per year on average?

Q. Is the ratio of total deaths at least 95 percent to 5 percent? In other words, has the stronger side suffered at least 5 percent of the casualties?

Q. Is the war occurring within the boundaries of an internationally recognized state or entity?

She says yes to all above in Iraq since 2004.

More Orwellian than Orwell

Mikaela asks:
What the **^%$%& is this?

Courtesy Democracy Now:

U.S. Stops Describing Americans as "Hungry"
In news from Washington, the Bush administration has stopped using the words "hunger" or "hungry" when describing the millions of Americans who can't afford to eat. Instead of suffering from hunger, the Agriculture Department now says these people are experiencing "very low food security." The USDA estimates that 12 percent of Americans or 35 million people could not put food on the table at least part of last year.

White Culture

Mikaela says:
I'm totally down with the latest exploration of white as a culture, not an invisible standard by which all other colors are deemed lesser.

Marjorie has often decried the lack of discussion around white culture, which could be a powerful organizing tool if taken to the suburbs and taken out of the hands of supremacists.

Cheers to Out ch'YondA for once again leading the way in celebrating all diversity and enriching our cultural discussions here in the Q.

Out ch'YondA Live ArtZ Studio Presents in December
"Stuck in Neutral": White History Weeks Out ch'YondA

Explore the unexplored territory of White identity through art, intellectualism and radical thought without trashing White folks--not even hillbillies.

White artists from the community include:
  • Bryan Konefsky
  • Bill Nevins
  • Ourania Tserotas
  • Mark LeClaire
  • Peter Chase
  • and more.

Together, we can bridge the historical, social and psychological gaps around Whiteness and bring this identity out of the neutral zone in current times. Events include a gallery opening, poetry, film, performance art, music, panel discussion, anti-racism workshop, food and more.

  • Opening Event: Friday, December 1 @ 6.00; $5
  • Poetry: Saturday, December 2 @ 8.00; $5
  • Brunch & Panel: Sunday, December 3 from 11.00 am-3 pm; $10
  • Gallery Opening: Friday, December 8 @ 6.00 pm
  • Films: Saturday, December 9 @ 7.00 pm; $5
  • Anti Racism Workshop: Thursday, December 14 @ 7.00 pm; $10
  • Music: Friday, December 15 @ 8.00 pm; $10
  • Closing Event: Saturday, December 16 @ 4.00 pm; $10
For more specific information, please contact us at 385-5634
Out ch'YondA Live ArtZ Studio
929 4th St. SW
9 blocks S of Central
5 blocks N of Cesar Chavez

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wake Up Call, Paging Bush Sr. (re: Jr): What the World Thinks (Because of How We Think)

Mikaela re-posts:
Democracy Now reports:

Bush Sr. Lecture Audience Cheers Criticism of President
Former President George Bush Senior got into a verbal confrontation with a student audience in Abu Dhabi Tuesday after several people criticized his son’s policies. One audience member told the elder Bush she did not respect the President and what he’s doing in the world. The Associated Press reports Bush appeared stunned when most of the audience applauded in approval. Another questioner said US wars were waged to open markets for American corporations. Bush Sr. replied: "I think that's weird and it's nuts. To suggest that everything we do is because we're hungry for money, I think that's crazy."

That is money, people. Classic. I have got to find audio. What a fantastic early Christmas present!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Happy eating

Maggie says:
Been working too much to write lately, and I'm off to North Carolina in the morning for the holiday. Hopefully I'll be full of writing upon my return.

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone... I wish you all lots to be thankful for and lots and lots of yummy food.

Atomic Reality

Mikaela says:
They've got me thinking about all things nuclear.

Democracy Now reports that an insider has come forward with information that Cheney's office is asking intelligence agencies to cook the books about Iran's nuclear capabilities much like they did in order to justify invading Iraq for WMDs in the complete absence of evidence for WMDs.

That and the controversy over the inequitable treatment of Israel's nuclear capability vs. other Middle Eastern countries.

And our focus on nuclear energy as a viable option, coupled w/ news that researchers have found a way to speed the half-life of certain radioactive metals, so that instead of taking 10,000 years to become "safe," it takes 5,000. Not really a "solution" but clearly will be used to increase the optimism of human control over radiation. [Heard on Living on Earth, October 27]

The reality on the ground for those working with these materials is often overlooked. This poem, written by Jeffrey Hillard, from Atomic Ghost: Poets Respond to the Nuclear Age, sums up for me the working man's perspective on the risk we ask him to take.

The Message

I want the sign to read, never come back again.

Instead, it reads, Safety Is A Man’s Best Friend.

I know each one: Alert! above the utility room.

Know Your Goggles near the loading docks.

I have partners who can’t spell half the words,

each orange letter a directive that keeps our

sleeves buttoned and hard-hats within reach.

A mishmash of phrases that exalt our lungs

above any skill; words bold as hot metal,

composed in some super’s office, under a cool fan.

They’ll never convince me that I’d burn myself

or remove my gloves near a blasting furnace

or breathe the fumes from a lead vat

rimmed with sulfuric acid.

I don’t need signs to echo my flaws.

A Careless Employee Is A Disaster In Uniform.

I already load sludge and leave my body

to the eyes of a detector scanner.

Since I drive a forklift, I look ahead,

not above. Today, something is different.

I imagine the tar-black walls swelling,

tiers of sludge frothing over the catwalks,

my lead shield coming apart, dust floating past.

I salvage my thoughts, especially after lunch.

I know it’s dangerous, but I’ll steer the lift

near a pit and join a crew for a cigarette.

We take three puffs, crush them on our hard-hats

and drop them in a shirt pocket. Safe, not sorry.

I’m not yet relieved. I imagine another sign

saying, All bodily cells replaced here,

but the wisdom I receive is Shower Thoroughly.

I find a blessing in each thump of the time-clock,

in the exit gate, in the sign whose broken letters

remind us to dump uniforms in the black barrel.

I say to no on in particular I do, I do.

I think, what else can I give? What else

do they want from a man whose name is duty

and paycheck, a man who sheds these clothes

like they’re footprints to be mopped and forgotten.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

what exactly is news?

marjorie says...

It's all over the "news" this morning about the new O.J. Simpson book coming out in which he "hypothetically" describes how the murder would have happened "if" he had killed his wife Nicole.

You know, this book is utterly crass but that will be covered plenty so I won't go into it here.

The most interesting thing to me about this is how its covered as "news." There are certain news sources that tell us point blank what it really is, like this Washington Post article, by Lisa de Moraes:

"And, in one of those incredible coincidences that make covering the TV industry so fulfilling, the book is being published under the Regan imprint, headed by Judith Regan, who will conduct the interview with O.J. on Fox. And her publishing outfit, ReganBooks, is a division of HarperCollins, which is owned by News Corp. -- which also owns Fox!"

Ok, just to make sure everyone gets that:

News Corp. owns Fox and the publisher of this book, Regen Imprint. The book is coming out just in time for Christmas sales and Fox is promoting the book under the guise of "News" when it airs an "interview" with O.J. Simpson, as news...

There are other news sources that give us this tidbit as well, and to be honest, I don't really know how its being covered on the T.V. "news" outlets of choice for most Americans. Please, somebody tell me.

What is news really, for me, is the fact that so many "news" outlets are covering this as "news"...rather than the corporate money making venture that it is...just like any new product coming in time for our Christmas love affair with material goods. Just skim through all the "news" articles today and you'll see what I mean. In one after the next, the reporter never mentions the money angle...see for yourself here, here, and here.

Fox represents the utter corruption of the concept of News. Here we have a station that mixes shows with so-called news "commentators" and "experts" who are blatantly biased with these types of completely gross entertainment pieces masquerading as news. What kills me is how it reverberates throughout the "news" world, with bonafide outlets simply picking up the schtick and running with it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Did Bush try to suspend the election?

Mikaela ponders:
Is it just me, or does this point to the fact that Bush contemplated -- or at least asked about -- not allowing the election, since we're "at war"?

Mikaela reposts courtesy Democracy Now

Bush: Nation Should Be Proud Elections Were Held in Time of War
Over the weekend President Bush gave his first weekly radio address since the mid-term elections. He said the country should be proud that the elections were held even though the county is in a war.

  • President Bush: "One freedom that defines our way of life is the freedom to choose our leaders at the ballot box. We saw that freedom earlier this week, when millions of Americans went to the polls to cast their votes for a new Congress. Whatever your opinion of the outcome, all Americans can take pride in the example our democracy sets for the world by holding elections even in a time of war."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Save Indie Community Radio in NM!

Mikaela summarizes:
First ClearChannel bought KBAC, then they watered down its programming.

Now they're selling it to a company that will change it to a Christian broadcasting station.

Below is a letter urging you to action to protest the sale and save this long-loved local community station. Time is of the essence.

Mikaela edits & re-posts courtesy Friends of KBAC, Radio Free Santa Fe:

has been making a difference in the LIVES of the community
11 years now.

It is time we as a community gave KBAC the same support.




Who is buying this station?

Clear Channel is in process of selling KBAC to a Christian Broadcasting Company, EMF Broadcasting out of Rocklin, California.

Who to write?

I encourage you to write letters and/or fax and EMAIL to the following addresses to air your opinions and get others in the community to do the same. Your letters will make a difference AND please make sure that a copy of your letter gets sent to Friends of KBAC, 223 North Guadalupe #533, Santa Fe, NM, 87501 so that we have a copy on file to send out as well when I write the FCC to protest this sale.


(especially Mr. DICK JENKINS, CEO, EMF Broadcasting).





EMF Broadcasting,
Attention: Mr. Joe Miller, VP
email :
Attention: Mr. Dick Jenkins, CEO
email :

5700 West Oaks Blvd, Rocklin, CA 95765
Phone: 916.251.1600;
Fax: 916.251.1650

and, go right to the source...

Clear Channel Communications
John Hogan, President & CEO
email :
Clear Channel Radio, Clear Channel Communications, Inc.
200 East Basse,
San Antonio, TX, 78209
email :
Jerry Kersting, Acquisitions
email :

Phone : 210.822.2828 / fax : 210.822.2299
and closer to home
Mr. Chuck Hammond, VP Sales, NM Market

email : (Albuquerque Office)
Phone: 505.830.6400 / fax : 505.830.6599
5411 Jefferson NE, #100, Albuquerque, NM, 87109

but WHY stop there?

Governor Bill Richardson / MAIL: Office of the Governor,
Attention : Annette Sedillo, State Capital #400, SFE, NM, 87501
EMAIL : / FAX: 505.476.2226
Mayor David Coss / MAIL : Mayor David Coss,
Attention : Marge Sandoval, 200 Lincoln Ave, SFE, NM, 87501
EMAIL : / FAX : 505.955.6683
Senator Bingaman / MAIL : 119 East Marcy Street, SFE, NM, 87501, Attention : Landri Rush / EMAIL : / FAX : 505.992.8435
FCC Commissioner Tate / MAIL : Commissioner Tate,
Attention : Susan Fifenne, 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554 / EMAIL : / FAX 866.418.0232
Attention : Chris Robbins, Media Advisor to Commissioner Tate /

What is going to happen?

Friends of KBAC plans on protesting this sale, BUT WE CAN'T DO IT ALONE. WE NEED YOU, THE COMMUNITY. When this sale becomes official on the FCC docket, we plan on fighting this sale to preserve the "REAL LOCAL" community radio station and its unique format with your help. If this sale does not go through, there will be an opportunity for the local management of KBAC to purchase the station. This would "FREE" KBAC once and for all from Clear Channel. The raised voices of the Santa Fe community are needed to prevent this sale as we as a community will have only 30 days to voice our opinions once this sale hits the FCC.


How can YOU show your
IMMEDIATE support?

Friends of KBAC will be needing volunteers, as we are going to need as many signatures and letters as we can get, so if you feel moved to become more involved and can spare a block of time, please contact Friends of KBAC at the email address below.

Thank you,

Skye Rivers, FRIENDS OF KBAC @

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Targeting God

Mikaela says:
Despite a new power balance in Congress, we're facing a time of more rampant religious warring in our own country and around the globe.

Fanatics on all sides are being roundly, and perhaps rightly, excoriated for intolerance, fear-mongering, prejudice, and violence.

But let's remember that religion itself is not to blame. Just as all things not taken in moderation can lead to imbalance and disaster, a little belief goes a long way. Believing in the support of a kind, generous, charitable faith community is a good thing. Advocating for a singular definition of the saved and the damned or the good and the evil or believers and non-believers -- well, that's where it becomes dangerous.

Interestingly, despite the Republican co-optation of the religious right as the keepers of all things "moral," American do not in fact have a singular belief in God. An overwhelming majority of Americans do believe in God, just not in the same one. Nor do they agree about how to behave to keep this God happy, if that's even possible, or the extent to which God is involved in our day-to-day lives.

Researchers at Baylor University found that Americans' images of God fall into four categories, which align miraculously, one might say, with particular regions of the country and with voting patterns.

  • The South: "Authoritative God" who has strict rules and punishes -- conservative voters (33%)
  • The West: "Distant God" who created the universe but isn't involved now -- liberal voters (24%)
  • The Midwest: "Benevolent God" who believes in kindness and chartity -- moderate voters (23%)
  • The Northeast: "Critical God" who is judgemental but doesn't intervene -- independent and economic conservative voters (16%)
Remarkably, these same patterns predict stances on the war in Iraq, gay marriage, the death penalty, and others.

Do we see harbingers of the time when political strategists market God images to attract voters? That might be a whole, huge can of wriggly worms.

On the positive side, we might begin to understand that as a country full of believers (92% of us), we need as much freedom to pursue our own gods as we need freedom to be all different colors, multiple genders, and the whole spectrum of political beliefs. Perhaps out of desperation, politicians will be forced to concede that their gods, and the gods of those they represent, must coexist with other ideas in order to get elected and rule with justice and compassion in the service of peace and community. Can I get an amen?

At the very least, even if Americans can't accept or acknowledge that different beliefs co-exist within our country, we can try to remember that our own level of religious belief is NOT like the rest of the world. Each country has its own compendium of beliefs, percentage of believers, and spectrum of fanaticism. Understanding ourselves better would take us a long way toward opening the door for an understanding and tolerance of others. Religions teach community; they can model peace. May we learn to live together and support each person's right to believe. Our lives depend on it, no matter what you believe.

Compiled from
: Encyclopedia Britanica's Adherents of All Religions by Six Continents

Source: World Religions Project (Click here for full resolution PDF version)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Saturday morning goodness

Maggie reposts, courtesy of The Nation:

It's Over for Bush

The year 2006 will long be remembered as the Great Retribution--or perhaps the Deliverance Election. George W. Bush's presidency is toast. Bush's potential to further harm the Republic has been greatly reduced. Most Americans stopped believing anything he said a good while back. This was their opportunity to tell him to his face. And they did, with such force and breadth that maybe even he and his cronies heard them.

Much credit goes to the voters and the Democratic Party. Not many off-year elections move history in a fundamental way, but this one did. Americans have elected an opposition that can now check the Administration's destructive policies and investigate its actions at home and abroad, while at the same time putting forth policies that begin to reverse the damage of the past six years.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

U.S. Election 2006

who is it, again, that needs to put up or shut up?

marjorie says...

You know what's both amusing and annoying to me in the aftermath of the Democratic sweep of Congress? All the "put up or shut up" talk in the media. As if the Republican control of our government over the past six years hasn't been one of the worst examples ever of gross mismanagement. We have an enormous debt that we might never crawl out from under, a war gone disastrously wrong (not that it was ever right) with almost 3000 U.S. troops and untold number of Iraqi's dead, huge tax cuts for the super rich, a wall reminiscent of Berlin being built on our border and a judiciary well on its way to being stacked with ideological reactionaries.

Let's take the issue of judicial nominees to illustrate my point. In this article, we have a political analyst from CBS, Andrew Cohen, saying this:

"But Senate Democrats will face their own pressure points if and when Webb prevails. No longer will they be able, politically anyway, to threaten to filibuster when the President appoints federal judges. If they obtain their majority, they will have a responsibility to fill the many vacancies on the federal bench-- some that have existed for years. If they balk at this job they will subject themselves to an honest charge of obstructionism, the opposite of what they pledged to do on election night when the extent of their victory became clear.

"There is an opportunity now, I believe, for real progress on the judicial nomination front, which has been mired for years in rank partisan conflict. The President has to know from these election results that he must govern with a more moderate focus. And if Webb prevails in Virginia Senate Democrats have to know that their newfound power brings with it newfound responsibilities to ensure that our federal judiciary is up and running at full speed, with many fewer vacancies than it now has. The moment is here. Let's see what the politicians can do with it. "

Where does CBS find its political analysts? No, the Democrats won't be able to filibuster any longer, they'll be able to flat out stop the stacking of the courts. And if the Republicans threaten to filibuster, the Democrats can do what they did...remember?? Of course, we all know the Democrats don't have that kind of hard ball in them.

As for the vacancies on the federal bench...who's responsibility is that, again? The Republicans had control of the Congress for 12 long years. Let's not forget that. What is this fellow talking about..."if they balk at this job"?? Something tells me that if Bush sends middle of the road judges to a Democratically controlled congress, that bench will get filled up quick...unlike the behavior of the Republican congress under Clinton or Bush. The Republicans held up the vast majority of Clinton's nominees and who can forget Harriet Miers??

This type of analysis is a good example of what is rampant in American politics...speaking and acting as if there was no yesterday. But nothing ever operates in a vacuum...and we can't judge today or predict tomorrow unless we have a good handle on that.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Not so fast, Heather

Maggie says:
Today's going so well I'm bound to believe that anything can happen!

"Madrid Cuts Wilson's Lead"

Democrat picks up votes in latest Bernalillo County tally.

Although Democratic challenger Patricia Madrid leads incumbent Republican Rep. Heather Wilson in populous Bernalillo county by 700 votes, Madrid trails Wilson by 1,048 votes overall in the five counties that make up the 1st Congressional District, according to the latest roundup by the Associated Press.

But still to be counted are
4,850 ballots in Bernalillo County that were kicked out of machines and must be hand-tallied, County Clerk Mary Herrera told reporters this morning.

Full story here.

Best thing about today...

Maggie says:
...was just calling my dad at his job site - far away from breaking news - to tell him that not only is Rumsfeld resigning, but that Jon Tester just officially won Montana.

There was a whoop, and a cheer, and a laugh, and then this question:

"Has W resigned yet?"

What an amazing day!!!

Post Election Musings

marjorie says...

It was a very long day yesterday, so I came to work a little late. As I'm settling in here there are several things running through my mind.

Before I get to New Mexico, can I just first note the incredible moment in Nicarauga? Yes. Daniel Ortega is the new President Elect of that country. I don't have any observations to make about Ortega or what kind of impact two decades have had on the Sandinistas. Clearly they have had to change a lot. But in this moment, I think its amazing, simply amazing...that the heart-breaking Sandinista's are back. And this also represents one more domino in the resurgence of leftist governments in Latin America.

Also, KUDOS to South Dakota!!! While these mid-term elections are BIG on the congressional front, this electoral battle clearly shows the American mind-set about a woman's right to control her own body.

Now...on to the congressional races. Regardless of what happens here in NM-District 1, we can all breathe a huge sigh of relief that our federal government is no longer controlled by crazy right wingers. Because let's face it, the House is the place most of the real ones end up. I still don't think much will change, but am looking forward to watching the Democrats.

As for NM-District is it that we have such a razor thin margin here? Well, I think its due to the military presence, which represents a large pool of people who do go out and vote. We have a lot of work to do to counteract that presence if we want to send a Democrat to the House. It'll be very interesting to see how the numbers break down by precinct in the coming days.

Day-after pulse check

Maggie asks:
So how's everyone feeling this morning?

Home now, but...

Maggie admits:
...still watching. Can't break away.

The Senate seems so close, so real!

Marjorie and I left the party in a glum state after Wilson's press conference, so now I'm asking myself how bittersweet a Madrid loss would be with all these other amazing gains.

Of course, we never know until we know... But these numbers have spoken tonight, all around the world. And that makes me proud. I know the effort and heart and soul behind the Madrid campaign, that they tried their very best, and they were part of this sea change tonight, part of its spirit. But if that race doesn't prevail, it's gotta be okay. Tonight is bigger than one race, bigger than two candidates.

The larger battle has been won handily tonight, and Americans have spoken. That's the real victory, whatever happens with NM-01.

Optimism update, courtesy of Gene Grant: Lots and lots of ballots to hand count tonight. It's bigger than conservative precincts.

Here, but...

Maggie says:
...freaking out, as Marjorie noted.

My insides are on a crash course between optimism and cynicism. The three Senate races left - Missouri, Montana, and Virginia - are all ones I called Dem, and we're still ahead in all three. But could we really take all three? Oh my.

As for NM-01... my stomach is in knots. I seriously felt like I was going to throw up a minute ago. That feeling, the deja vu of bad things about to happen, isn't something I wanted to go back to tonight. The caveat is that the House is ours, thank goodness. But yeah... hiding out here in the dark, quiet press room is about all I can take right now. The cheering through the wall makes my stomach knot up even more.

It's been fun watching Big Bill do his press thing back here. Richardson was my commencement speaker when I graduated from college in Boston... how weird is that? Small world.

C'mon, Senate. C'mon.

Update: Uh oh. Heather just announced that the precincts left are all conservative ones. If that's true, Madrid's done.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

patsy! patsy! patsy!

marjorie says...

that's what i'm hearing on the other side of the wall.
it's razor thin!!!

where's maggie?

marjorie says...

In case any of you were wondering, Maggie is sitting right here with me in the press room (Sophie from fabulous Duke City Fix is here too). Unfortunately, my fellow M can't stop biting her nails long enough to post on m-pyre. But never fear...she'll surface any minute.

Hanging with the press corp

marjorie says...

I think my fellow M's as well as the other bloggers here tonight will agree that it is very cool to be included in the press room. Especially for us photo hounds...

Dems are on FIRE!!

marjorie says...

and here's live:

Yep, that's Bill. I think just about every Democrat in the state must be here tonight. The energy at the Hotel Albuquerque at the moment is intense...there's a very large crowd and a lot of very happy people.

And they should incredible amount of hard work went into taking back the Congress this year...and it looks as though the House at least has finally come back to the Democrats. All I can say's about freakin' time America!!!!

I'm in the press room right now, sitting close to the fellow in the white shirt:

Its quiet in here, as all good press rooms should be...but we can hear the party in full swing just on the other side of that wall. While I've never been much of a party person, it's been nice to see some of my political friends here tonight, in all there glory. Here are some of my favorites:

I'm glad I took this picture for a couple reasons. First, I'm glad I can finally mention Bernadette with an actual picture. Bernadette Miera (seated) and her husband State Representative Rick Miera (standing) live down the road from Mikaela and I, and are the driving force behind our Halloween gala street event every year. I know I digress but I can't help it. Second, I get to show you all a picture of Teresa Cordova (standing), Bernalillo County Commissioner and very good friend of m-pyre. You see, Teresa is also a professor in the Planning school, and I for one would not have made it through the program without her.

On that note...I think I'll go back to the party now...more to come in a bit.

Almost Live: Ms (w/ dems) watch returns via Messenger

Ms discuss:

Mjae: yo ladies
Marjorie: wish you were here!
Maggie: just got another house seat!
Mjae: Who?
Maggie: NH-02
Mjae: Which station u watching?
Maggie: that was from
Mjae: Interesting that TV calls things much earlier than newspapers
Maggie: yes, npr is lagging too... i keep surprising dad with the latest
Marjorie: these days they shouldn't call early...
Maggie: he's a die-hard NPRer
Mjae: yes, but that's momentum for them now and intrigue later when they change their call
Mjae: Marketing!
Mjae: At least on CBS Katie Couric is a continuous woman's presence
Mjae: The other stations are driving me nuts w/ men men men
Marjorie: that's true
Marjorie: all men...
Mjae: And CBS is a panel of 6 men, one of color -- and he's Republican!
Mjae: Ridiculous
Maggie: yikes
Maggie: although not the biggest katie fan.. she's alright i guess
Mjae: agreed
Marjorie: at that level they're plastic
Mjae: yup
Mjae: but there are LOTS more women getting interviewed because she's there
Mjae: Marked difference
Marjorie: that's good...
Mjae: They're talking about "women's rights" now -- highlighting races where both men were antichoice
Mjae: Here's another question. What's up w/ the standardized Republican elephant, whereas every station has that damn ass doing something different?
Mjae: CNN has it rearing up
Mjae: CBS has it avoiding stepping in shit or some damn thing
Mjae: So weird
Maggie: 5th pickup in the house!
Maggie: OH-18
Mjae: WaPo has 7 pickups
Mjae: CBS is listing 11 so far
Mjae: Trying to find WaPo's list
Mjae: Harder than it should be
Maggie: Marjorie and i bursting at the seams with the hypocrisy of the republican commentators on gene's show right now
Mjae: KY-3 (Yarmuth), ID-9 (Hill), ID-8 (Ellsworth), ID-2 (Donnelly), OH-18 (Space), CT-5 (Murphy), NC-11 (Shuler)
Maggie: NBC projects Democrats take control of the House
Maggie: and if you're working on your spreadsheets, losses are FL-13, KEN-04, and VA-02
Mjae: Marriage prop. in AZ losing
Mjae: Anti-immigration props losing
Marjorie: i love my nerdy blogging friends. you realize i hope that i can't even dig into these numbers right now like the two of you
Marjorie: give me everything in a nutshell tonight
Mjae: Looking good in a nutshell
Mjae: knock knock knock
Marjorie: LOL!! awesome!!
Mjae: Can't even stand watching Fox right now
Marjorie: yeah, i think Fox would make me >>>
Mjae: Ok, CNN added a woman, but she's ... not a sexy woman. Androgynous
Mjae: Not sure if that's better or worse than plastic
Marjorie: by golly..we want a hoochie cooch!
Mjae: Predicting CT to Democrats in House District 5
Mjae: No, just a full woman
Maggie: ok, we are off to PARTY!
Mjae: Have fun ladies. Wear my nametag on a bag or something
Marjorie: shall we put it on our forehead?
Mjae: Graff for AZ
Mjae: House 8
Mjae: No, wouldn't want false advertising, Marj!
Marjorie: madrid is rocking...but i'm still not getting my hopes up
Mjae: Hill for IN-9
Mjae: Gillibrand for NY House 20
Marjorie: ok...i'm over and out.
Mjae: bye
Marjorie: bye mik!

Mjae: South Dakota ban on abortion No as of 9:30.

That Gene Grant magic

Maggie laughs:
Gene will cringe at that headline, but I can't help it, because Gene's one of my favorite people in town (okay, on the planet). Plus, the man just is magic, isn't he, Albuquerque? So since he's so magical, you KNOW you want to watch him do his thang (as he always says) on KNME, Channel 5, TONIGHT!

Here are the details for the show:

ELECT NEW MEXICO 2006: Decision Day
7:00 - 9:00

Host: Gene Grant
Panel: Margaret Montoya, Whitney Cheshire, Steve Lawrence, and Mario Burgos
Guests: Michael Rocca, Timothy Krebs, and Lonna Atkeson from the UNM Political Science Department


  • A segment with Matt Farrauto from the Ds and George Buffet from the Rs, along with student reps from each party
  • Gene's interview with Nancy Pelosi and another with Roy Blunt
  • A blogger segment with Scot Key, Mario Burgos, and Sophie Martin
  • Cut-ins from the BBC and the Newshour
  • Tape of a mock debate at Jefferson Middle School (Scot Key's class!) between Wilson and Madrid

Now that's just too much fun for two hours, isn't it?!

Election 2006: Dare I predict?

Maggie says:
...Nope. Well okay, but only a little bit. :-)

Local races are too personal, too (literally) close to home, too big, too... everything. So instead, I hide in the national races, perfect for my wonky, big-picture sensibilities. Yet as we know, all politics are local, so here are the only things I'll say about in-town races:

  • Voting is a breeze. Been getting calls from friends all day who say they were in and out of their polling place in record time. There was so much angst over those long early voting lines, but let's face it: twelve voting locations for an entire city = lines; citywide voting locations = decentralized ease. So go vote! I'll be heading over in an hour or so myself...
  • Sorry, Mary. I'd already decided I just couldn't bring myself to vote for Mary Herrera for Secretary of State, and then I saw the Alibi "endorsement" of neither candidate and busted out laughing. I'm leaving that one blank; I just have to. People I care about are confident she'll be a fine Secretary of State, and I know she's from the Valley and all... but as a Bernalillo County voter for the last four years, I'm not exactly confident. Enough said.
  • Poor Jim. The Land Commissioner race really disappoints me... and I agree with other local bloggers who say it points to the disconnect folks have between environmentalism and their own lives. This gap will continue to get wider as our environmental problems worsen, and we should all worry about that. Baca v. Lyons represented such a clear choice between philosophies, and I really regret that the majority of New Mexicans seems to be favoring an oil/gas/sprawl man rather than a true advocate for public land.
  • Madrid/Wilson. Can't do it, and those of you who know, you know why... It'll be tight, and it'll all depend on turnout, and that's about all I can say right now.
Onto the national scene:
Whew! This is where I'm much more comfortable... I've spent a week doing not much besides obsessing over the latest polls and reading way too much about candidates whose names I'll promptly forget tomorrow, so it's time for tonight to HAPPEN already.

If you're unlucky enough to be on my e-mail distribution list, you already received my exhaustively nerdy House and Senate spreadsheets, where thanks to the goodness of Pollster I've compiled averages of all the latest polls per race along with an outcome category: "Lean Dem," "Toss-up," etc. Going through the numbers race by race, it's hard not to foresee huge Democratic victories tonight... But being realistic, I'm not going to go all-out rosy in my predictions. So here we go:
  • House. I'm going to go with 25 pickups. Look through Pollster yourself and you'll see how astronomical some predictions could be, simply based on the lastest polls. But haven't we all been disappointed enough in the past few years by predictions v. outcome? This time I'm choosing to be pleasantly surprised tonight... hopefully. 25 seems reasonable.
  • Senate. This will be verrrrry interesting to watch tonight. My prediction is picking up 5 seats, but I can't break that number down at all. Race-by-race I've chosen six pickups, the magic number. Yet I know one of them will fall, one of them will be the "should have won" race that just won't be able to pull it off in the end. Which, I don't know. But I love McCaskill's spunk and Jon Tester makes me want to move to Montana just to vote for him, so how could I predict one of them going down? I've lost hope for Ford in Tennessee, but I'm still predicting Dem wins in Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. I could see Rhode Island falling, maybe... Not sure, but one of them likely will, and we'll get five. And that's not a number to be ashamed of.
So what's on tap for tonight? I'll be joining other fellow bloggers at the Democratic party at the Hotel Albuquerque. M-pyre fave Gene Grant is hosting election coverage on KNME from 7:00-9:00 (featuring the lovely Sophie Martin, among other guests), and all our big-hair newscasters will be on the scene everywhere, I'm sure. Where are you going to camp out?

It's going to be a long night... but a fun one, I hope.

I want to wake up tomorrow and SMILE... don't you?

Monday, November 06, 2006

TONIGHT: City Council meeting!

Maggie says:
I'm hoping to see lots of you fellow planning nerds out at the City Council meeting tonight. There are not one but two important items on the agenda:

  • Extending the City infrastructure tax to fund Albuquerque's Modern Streetcar project
  • Passing a moratorium on ugly big boxes until appropriate design regulations can be established (I already wrote about it here)
My laptop hates the Council Chambers wireless network, so instead of blogging I'll probably be finishing up my ultra-nerdy congressional spreadsheets for tomorrow night. I can't wait for Wednesday morning... if only so I can BREATHE again. (Insert half-capacity sigh here...)

YOUR FRIENDLY MIDNIGHT UPDATE: If anyone's keeping score, the streetcar passed and the big box moratorium was rescheduled for the beginning of the next Council meeting.

Perspective: It's Just a Galaxy Away

Mikaela says:
I finally got some perspective. I had to leave our solar system to do it.

Last Thursday, Lodestar Planetarium invited a bunch of folks to preview their newest slate of shows that have just now come on-line to the public. (Hint: Start lining up!)

There is nothing that can compare to leaving your planet and being confronted with the vastness of space -- the puny reach of human beings ending within the neighborhood, cosmically speaking -- to understand again how little politics matters and how utterly absurd (however deadly) war is.

With Enchanted Skies, Lodestar uses this great new software that combines all known astronomical data with an interface that allows you to fly all over space, and we did on Thursday night. Our planet -- small, blue-green beauty -- looks nothing like anything else. It's a unique confligration of qualities that allow life, as far as we know (and we know more and more), yet ... we fight over what?

If there really is a God and a Jesus or a Mohammed, how often do they watch earth, with trillions of other planets to watch? How much does the violence of war disturb them when supernovas are exploding all over the place to become the centers of every galaxy? Violence on a cosmic scale makes our violence so ... avoidable.

I admit I loved getting away, contemplating the universal navel, realizing yet again what sorry sorry star splinters we really are. Yes, politics matters. It just strikes me again how ignoble intolerance at all levels really is. Vote for connection and community and science. This really is all we have.

Get some perspective at the Lodestar Planetarium dome:

Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity with
Wonders of the Universe

Shows on the hour from noon - 3 pm

Enchanted Skies: The Digital Universe

Shows 10 am, 11 am, and 4 pm

For information: 841-5955 or visit

WHERE: LodeStar Astronomy Center, in the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, 1801 Mountain NW

HOW MUCH: Admission to each show is $6 adults, $5 seniors and $3 children 3-12

Starting on Saturday, Nov. 18, admission will be $7 adults, $6 seniors and $4 children 3-12.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Dia de los Muertos Marigold Parade

marjorie says...

It was another beautiful day today, just perfect for the Dia de los Muertos Marigold Parade in the South Valley. I love this parade. It is so homegrown, so do-it-yourself. And SWOP's float always epitomizes that. Kudos to Victoria for leading the way on making participation a tradition every year. This year I had a really good time with Moc taking pictures. Afterwards we came over here to Flying Star to see what we came up with...and here they are. More of our pictures are on SWOPblogger.

"To speak the name of the dead is to make them live again"

Aztec dancers lead the way

Front of SWOP truck
SWOP in the parade

Side of SWOP float

Sandra and her grandsons, Ruben and Herman


and more Cars

demanding justice for the murdered women of Juarez

Silviana and her friend

Face painting


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Getting stuck in Iraq: how...stooopid. Not!

marjorie says...

I’m sure you’ve all noticed the latest “he said/she said--someone has to apologize”…stink between the R’s and the D’s, this time about what John Kerry said at a campaign rally. Here’s the quote that has the Republicans self-righteously shrieking that John Kerry, who is an actual Vietnam combat veteran, insulted all U.S. military personnel:

“You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

The R’s claim that Kerry, in essence, is calling the troops “stupid” while the D’s claim that Kerry simply botched a joke that was supposed to be aimed at Bush. In this instance I have to like the stink actually, because Kerry's comment is so blatant. Unfortunately, the stink never addresses the real issue...which should be no surprise given the unwillingness of the American public, much less either party, to address it: the lot of uneducated (and less affluent) people in this country is to fight our wars for us, with all the incumbent risks…such as death or being subjected to a lifetime of trauma and ill-health.

That is what Kerry is saying here. And he is right. Both parties think that is ok and they don't want to dwell on it. And there are a lot of Americans who think it’s ok too. Do the majority of us think that? I know that the ignorant “pull yourself up by your bootstraps or die” mentality is alive and well. But I like to think that more of us understand the structural inequality built into our system.

Take education as an example, since Kerry brought it up. Structurally, our system does not allow everyone to get a decent education. If it were based on equality, we wouldn’t glorify brainwashed Harvard-ites, as one example, and we’d funnel a lot more money into public education. Is smarts synonymous with education? Kerry shows his Ivy League background on that one…thankfully there are plenty “uneducated” people out there who recognize just how stupid his statement is, who recognize that “getting stuck in Iraq” has a lot more to do with access and opportunity than it does with making “an effort to be smart.”

Attention voting enthusiasts!

Maggie says:
I just found an activity that all us voting nerds can take part in next Tuesday: the Polling Place Photo Project. Sounds way better than going to work that day, if you ask me. (Although I suppose some of us will just have to do both...)

The Polling Place Photo Project is a nationwide experiment in citizen journalism that seeks to empower citizens to capture, post and share photographs of democracy in action. By documenting their local voting experience* on November 7, voters can contribute to an archive of photographs that captures the richness and complexity of voting in America.

With citizen's images and the information that accompanies them, the Project becomes a research tool on how voting happens in America and how it can be designed to be easier, less confusing and more enjoyable. The project intends to collect photographs of every polling place in America, so you are encouraged to participate no matter where you vote, how large or small your polling place is, what kind of ballot you use, or what your party affiliation.

Get your cameras ready. Election Day is November 7, 2006. We need your photographs!

What a great idea! And in town, let's see your photos up on the Duke City Fix Flckr Pool, too. I mean, what else are you going to do while you're waiting in those long lines?

Read what some folks are saying about the PPPP here.

*As the fine print explains, laws surrounding photography near polling places differ by municipality. Anyone know local laws in Albuquerque?

Big Business vs. Not So Big Labor

marjorie says...

Here are the top donors for each party in the California governor's race, reprinted from the San Francisco Chronical:

Schwarzenegger (R) total: $113.4 million.
Top donors:

  • Alex Spanos, Stockton developer and San Diego Chargers owner, $2.5 million
  • William Robinson, founder of DLH courier service, $2.4 million.
  • Jerry Perenchio, owner of the Univision television network, $2.3 million.
  • Henry Nicholas, president, NS Holdings LLC, $1.5 million.
  • Ameriquest Capital Corp., $1.2 million.
  • California Republican Party, $1 million.
  • B. Wayne Hughes, chairman of Public Storage Inc., $1 million.
  • Lawrence K. Dodge, chief executive officer, American Sterling Corp., $965,900.
  • New Majority Political Action Committee, a moderate Republican group composed largely of businesses and business executives, $869,600.
  • T. Gary Rogers, chief executive officer of Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, $579,600.

Angelides (D) total: $32.9 million.
Top donors:

  • Democratic State Central Committee, $1.8 million.
  • Laborers union, various locals: $334,900.
  • United Food and Commercial Workers, various locals, $311,500.
  • Hollywood producer Stephen Bing, $311,200.
  • Sacramento developer Angelo Tsakopoulos, $283,000.
  • Service Employees International Union, various locals, $256,000.
  • Plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters, various locals, $206,800.
  • Sheet Metal Workers, various locals, $154,900.
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, various locals, $130,600.
  • Carpenters union, various locals, $94,600.

(Tsakopoulos also made $6.1 million in independent expenditures to support Angelides' campaign for governor this year.)

I find these lists interesting for a couple of reasons. The obvious one is how well they show the money difference between Republicans and Democrats. Nothing new there. But they also bluntly show how little unions give *compared* to big business...and why Republican rhetoric about "Big Labor" is, frankly, a bunch of BS. When Republican politicos try to change the rules to limit union political campaign contributions, we should remember a couple of things:

  1. Labor unions almost always give to Democrats. Why? Because as ridiculous as I feel while saying this, it's the Democrats who will support pro-worker legislation by and large...such as minimum wage increases, health coverage expansion, safety regulations on the worksites...etc. All you had to do was follow the minimum wage debate in Albuquerque and then statewide last year to realize this.
  2. The Republicans are beholden to Big Business much more than Democrats, simply because Democrats are also beholden to labor. Sure, Democrats get plenty from Big Business, but if this list shows us anything...its that the Republicans are tucked the most in the business pocket. It's in their best interest for Republicans to oppose labor because that's what their corporate sponsors want.
The declining numbers of unionized workers in this country result from a complicated set of factors, the biggest of which is the simple elimination of our manufacturing base. It's a big problem for the future of the working classes, in my mind. Organized labor, as problematic as it may be, has always been a strong advocate for the rights of workers as a whole. If organized labor ceases to exist...who will hold the line against the inevitable rolling back of benefits, wage levels, and rights that we all take for granted today? For a serious answer to that question, you probably don't want to ask the Republican party...which is almost entirely on board with the Big Business objective to eliminate organized labor.