Wednesday, May 31, 2006
One of my most valuable lessons of the last few years has been discovering all the many and varied ways that my Democratic Party loyalty only goes so far... I've disagreed with the Dems heartily on many occasions, such as:
- Supporting the Iraqi War
- Confirming any number of Bush nominees
- Tolerance for Joe Lieberman (Go Ned Lamont!)
- Acting like bumbling idiotic wimps
- Throwing away any number of opportunities to stand for something that matters to people
- Operating with a Beltway-politics-as-usual mentality, regardless of what's at stake
And yet, I remain optimistic. Such is my sickness. Another progressive optimist, David Sirota, agrees that there's cause for hope. Sirota quotes the Denver Post on the turning tide of progressive politics:
"Political corruption comes in two varieties," the Post notes. "There are brazen payoffs, and then there is a kind of gooey rot: the venal abandonment of principles, spurred by the favors of corporate lobbyists and the need for campaign cash." Ultimately, "All but the toughest pols and pundits get seduced, and over time, the party establishment starts to stipulate: globalization is a blessing, free trade is sacred, billionaires need tax breaks, job loss is inevitable, workers are expendable, wages will decline, the war in Iraq is necessary."Sound familiar?
In 2006: The Year the Progressive Movement Became Real, Sirota counts off example after example of progressives saying "enough is enough," many of them in key Senate races where suddenly the primary is the race to watch, not the general election. Ned Lamont is one of these progressives, mad as hell about the fact that the solidly progressive state of Connecticut has been putting up with a sham of a senator for this long. Lamont came out of nowhere - when everyone said he had no chance, that Lieberman was the shoo-in no matter what - and is now neck-and-neck with Lieberman in the upcoming primary, the budding star of the progressive political movement. Montana senatorial candidate Jon Tester (who has the most old-school tough-guy haircut ever) similarly had it with agricultural deals that help no one but corporations and decided to get pissed about it publicly. By talking real about real issues, these candidates have electrified residents who have gotten all too used to no one saying anything that really matters anymore. Hell, we've all gotten used to that.
This brings me to Marty, the mayor we all love to hate. Actually, that's not true. I have no patience for him and would gladly someone else - anyone else! - be in office rather than continually getting pissed at him. I couldn't help but be amused with the Journal story this morning: Chavez Endorses Domenici's Reelection Bid. Among the goo:
- "I am decidedly nonpartisan in the way I run the city, but I am a Democrat."
- "I have every intention of endorsing Pete Domenici, and I'm going to catch a lot of heat for that."
- "He is a great asset to the city of Albuquerque and also the state of New Mexico."
These quotes surprise me for a couple of reasons, but not the ones Marty thinks will be surprising. First, does Marty really think we're surprised that he'd endorse a Republican? This is the man who hemmed and hawed over a decent living wage for Albuquerque residents, who openly hates the brown youth of this city, who has lined his pockets, budgets, initiatives, and vetoes with developer money and interests, and who, in sum, is a complete and total jerk. So given all that, why would he "catch a lot of heat" for endorsing Domenici? Hell, we wish he'd just go ahead and join Domenici across the proverbial aisle. At least then we wouldn't have to shake our heads when national progressive groups give him campaign money over Eric Griego, clearly not understanding the craziness that are local politics here.
And what does it means that Marty runs this city in a "nonpartisan" way? If by "nonpartisan," Marty means willing to govern based on the whims of his donors, sure. If by proclaiming he doesn't run Albuquerque as a Democrat, he means that he has no core values to speak of, sure. But listen to that phrase, said like a reminder: "but I am a Democrat." That just makes me chuckle... You know, Albuquerque's never been a cutting-edge kind of place. We tend to be behind-the-times a bit here in many ways, which is just fine by most of us who like living here because of the interesting ways things happen here, a little slower and a little differently than everywhere else. So given all this, I guess it's no surprise that Marty would think just by using a label - "I am a Democrat" - he can get somewhere with voters.
If this were 10 years ago, and politics as usual meant everyone was sucking up to free trade and running on the same platform they always had without a primary opponent, maybe blind Democratic loyalty would work. But now? Ned Lamont is (hopefully) going to kick Joe Lieberman's ass in Connecticut. Real farmers in the South and the West are coming out and exposing the bullshit that is our corporate agribusiness policy that destroys not just our family farmers, but farmers the world over.
Times change, Marty. No one gives a shit about party loyalty anymore. Get with it. Move on. Your cards have been shown through your actions, regardless of what comes out of your mouth. Albuquerque knows who you are, and that tells us so much more than your lame statements about being a Democrat ever could. Kind of scary, isn't it?
- U.S. Sends 1500 More Troops Into Iraq; Italy to Pull Out All Troops
- Record Number of Multiple Fatality Bombings Recorded in Iraq
- Over 50 Die in Series of Iraq Bombings
- Supreme Court Rules Against Gov’t Whistleblowers
- Senate Confirms Telecom Lobbyist to FCC
- GOP Official Involved in Phone-Jamming Scandal Released From Jail
- 600,000 Students Walk Out of Classes in Chile
- UN: 100,000 Displaced by Violence in East Timor
- Bush Nominates Henry Paulson to Become Treasury Secretary
So what story are they telling with Mr. Wingman and his pitcher of bud? Who are they marketing to, and why is that the most important thing to take up real estate on their page?
Let me just come right out and say it's disgusting and insulting to me, to media, and to all the stories they fail by running that picture anywhere but ... well, anywhere.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Another very thoughtful, deliberate editorial from the NYTimes. What strikes me reading this today is its tone, in striking contrast to the manipulative bravado our country spews all too often.
In full: The Price of Iraq
American forces can never be a substitute for Iraqi soldiers and police officers who take seriously their duty to protect all the people, regardless of religion or ethnicity. Mr. Bush's premise that American troops should simply stay on the ground until Iraq gets things right and defeats all insurgent forces and terrorist groups, however long it takes, is flat wrong. The United States presence is dangerous — to the soldiers themselves, to American standing in the world, and most tellingly to large numbers of innocent Iraqis.
The currently emerging story about what happened last November in Haditha, where at least two dozen Iraqi men, women and children were apparently shot by a small group of American marines, is only the latest indication of what terrible things can happen when soldiers are required to occupy hostile civilian territory in the midst of an armed insurrection and looming civil war. A military investigation is currently deciding whether any of the marines should be charged with murder, and whether a cover-up took place. All these questions have awful resonance for those who remember Vietnam, and what that prolonged and ultimately pointless war did to both the Vietnamese and the American social fabric.
It was somewhat reassuring that Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair have stopped trying to pretend that everything has gone just fine in Iraq, since most of the rest of the world already knows otherwise. But it was very disturbing to hear them follow their expressions of regret with the same old "stay the course" fantasy. It's time for Mr. Bush either to chart a course that can actually be followed, or admit that there is none.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
One of the great privileges of living in this day and age is that I'm lucky enough to know a lot of kick-ass moms. One young mom I know taught yoga all through her pregnancy, had a gorgeous boy, and promptly trounced off to Latin America to do thesis research with her babe on her hip. Another never slowed down her activist schedule during her first pregnancy, had the most beautiful boy I've ever seen, and is working around town to make life better for us all, newly aglow with another baby on the way. Oh yeah, she also took her kid to the World Social Forum in Venezuela this year. How cool is that? These women level me with their strength, inspire me with their bravery, and in their own ways, show me that motherhood is all about possibility, that there is no preconceived outcome or dress code or political stance or required minivan. I need that, all of it, to ever take a leap like that myself.
Such is the state of motherhood today, I suppose, where we've come to view having kids as a wonderful choice instead of a destined lifepath. That means that my friends who've chosen not to have kids are as happy and affirmed by their choice as the ones who are procreating, and each supports the other equally. That's also the state of women today, I think: affirming to a fault, operating within a nest of support, exchanging looks and laughter filled with collective knowledge, and being family.
A new book gets this. Enter The Motherhood Manifesto: What America's Moms Want and What To Do About It, by Joan Blades. Written by one of the MoveOn.org founders, this book aims to be a political clarion call for modern moms. This means calling all moms to organize around issues that moms care about - maternity/paternity leave, health care, child care, etc. - because they matter, not just because they're left-approved.
What interests me about this book is that it cuts across political divides and entrenched stances to arrive at shared issues that millions of moms face each day. Only by discussing childcare and family leave as non-partisanly as it does could this book have a real shot at becoming the manifesto it wants to be. Our problem today is that we're stuck in a sea of political rhetoric that aims to get to motherhood in only two ways: on the right, by rabid right-wing nutcase talk steeped in the notion of keeping women in aprons, and on the left, by overheated abortion rights language that so demands a women's right to choose (obvious disclosure: I am fervently pro-choice myself), it leaves the women who decide to have children off by the wayside. In other words, motherhood is the politically empty choice today, represented on the right by having a child because it's what women do and on the left, by not having one, because that's our right. Myself, my friends, our coworkers, our sisters? Unspoken for. Until now.
The true power of this book is that it speaks to the values of child-rearing in modern America. You know, real family values. The politics of motherhood don't end when you decide to continue a pregnancy or not - that's when they're just beginning. Women's issue groups on the left have forgotten this at their peril, and the right never really will get the modern realities of mothering. By writing from the shared landscape of motherhood, the Manifesto geniusly avoids the trap of gender talk in 2006. It shows us a third way, a better way, to talk about progressive issues in the context of our everyday lives.
Some of the moms I know might be just as apt to align with a shared landscape of women in general, moms or not, or with Chicanas, as they would with mothers one and all, and that's fine. The point here isn't an end product of "Motherhood Power." It's a process, a method of getting beyond the labels that so divide us today. Just like my ongoing rant since W's re-election of "there is no true blue, there is no true red," the Manifesto is less pseudo-talk and more the real deal. When we dismiss labels, when we look at what we have in common, when we start talking to one another, we open the floodgates for positive change.
Those floodgates are scary to some people, though. Sharing issues seems so antiquated to many folks today. Our lives are more private than ever (fueled hugely by suburbia, I should add) that all too often, we don't see that our problems are really universal ones in need of universal fixes. In America, we value ownership so much, eschew the overly personal so much, that we've forgotten how to collectively identify with each other. It's no coincidence that every time a progressive candidate brings up the flight of U.S. jobs overseas, Republicans accuse them of "class warfare." Honestly connecting with folks over real issues isn't warfare of any kind; it's being human. Only out of real human interaction can come family-friendly policies that would make a huge difference to families everywhere: closing the wage gap, enjoying good benefits, having shared spaces in communities where we can engage and build networks... Those are the family values that matter.
What's exciting about a book like The Motherhood Manifesto is that it seems to coalesce around motherhood the way my friends have. Motherhood isn't something specific that we should all do or be. Instead, we should be ourselves, and have children - or not - in that context and in a way that nurtures who we are. Being complete, happy, strong women is the best framework for bringing children into the world. And in that context, why shouldn't we do thesis research in the jungle with a baby or attend an enormous rally with Hugo Chavez and our strollers? Why shouldn't we expect equal pay along with childcare?
Real family values don't stop at the clinic. By forgetting that, the right and the left are missing the real point. Luckily, this book reminds us another way is possible.
PS: Check out the new website and organization born from The Motherhood Manifesto: MomsRising.Org.
Technorati tag: motherhood manifesto
At the risk of being uninvited from m-pyre (or beaten up by Mikaela, which might be the same thing), I feel the need to apologize for my absence. The classics: been busy, mind been elsewhere, blah blah blah... Closer to the matter, though, is that my brain actually has been sparked and full and alive with thoughts and ideas. The thing is, it's been full of exciting work stuff. (I know! Look who's being all responsible and engaged about her profession!) And since writing about work isn't appropriate for a thousand reasons, but that's all that's in my brain right now, I've been silent here instead.
Should a concerned reader fear that I'm bored and listless and wasting away somewhere, let this comfort you. I'm none of the above, and I'm busy as hell, but in a really great way. I'm also working on some pretty cool stuff, so stay tuned...
In the meantime, you can find me in my secret planning batcave.
Friday, May 26, 2006
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Yesterday, a town named Hercules in California made history. The town, desperate to save its community from the negative impact of Wal-Mart, actually voted to use the public’s power of eminent domain to stop Wal-Mart from building there. After the City Council voted unanimously in favor of the people over Wal-Mart, a cheer broke out and, all across America, headlines read, “Hercules Defeats Goliath.”
We may not have the same amount of money, lobbyists or consultants as Wal-Mart, but when ordinary people join together, in common purpose, they can accomplish extraordinary things. Hercules is proof.
The American people can stand up to powerful corporations like Wal-Mart and WIN!
I think is great, but it makes me wonder when the federal government will start moving to take back local powers of eminent domain. Don't think it's not coming! If they can stop people from suing the government for jailing them unjustly for years in secret prisons, they can stop little ole towns from having the power to fight corporations. Don't think they'll go easier on this American town than they will on, say, Bolivia. Constitution be damned.
Details later, but Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling of Enron were just found guilty of fraud for Enron's collapse.
This may not signal a real shaking up of corporate America, but it's one small step toward holding individuals responsible for corporations, which as many know, was the whole reason corporations began in the first place.
Powerful white men who stole and lied and cheated just got convicted.
Justice in America. Huh, go figure!
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
I have a secret hankering to study cultural landscapes. The Community and Regional Planning Program has a specialty in that very subject as part of its Historic Preservation certificate program, as well as a heavy focus as part of the Landscape Architecture program. Too few people know about or take advantage of these totally cool resources.
But if you're interested and just weirded out by planners and/or the School of Architecture and Planning in general, there's hope.
The University of New Mexico, thankfully, has breadth and depth when it comes to studying places. Not only is its anthropology department still world-renown (although slipping a bit in recent years), it's got technology and cultural resource centers hidden in multiple campus nooks and crannies.
This summer, for example, from filmmaker and graduate student Robert Russell is offering a documentary film production course focused on Route 66. Details below.
Personally, I'd like to see this kind of course feature collaboration with cultural landscape historians. How much richer would those films be? Answer: A LOT
How much better would it be for students in planning and historic preservation to be grounded in the visual and learn to tell their stories in media other than boring, dusty, esoteric papers? Answer: A LOT.
How 'bout it, planners and place lovers? Flood that film class! Get your fix... (you know where I'm going here, people) ... on Route 66.
SPECIAL SUMMER PRODUCTION COURSE
MA 216.356 - Highway 66 Revisited: Documenting Contemporary Route 66
Call Number: 08085
Instructor: Robert Russell (email@example.com)
June 5 - July 14
M/W/F 1-5 p.m.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
I offer the following translation of Bush’s statement on Venezuela and Bolivia yesterday.
from Democracy Now
Bush Warns of “Erosion of Democracy” in Venezuela & Bolivia
President Bush warned Monday that Venezuela and Bolivia are suffering from what he described as an “erosion of democracy.” [Read: “erosion of neoliberalism” which, for the record, is NOT the same.]
[These are democratically-elected leaders, voted in OVERWHELMINGLY by poor citizens who SUPPORT their methods.]
Bush’s comments come a week after the U.S. cut off military sales to Venezuela and three weeks after Bolivia announced it would nationalize its natural gas resources.
Bush said he had a message for Venezuela, Bolivia and other nations in the hemisphere.
President Bush: I am going to continue to remind our hemisphere that respect for property rights [as opposed to business records, according to the NSA flap] and human rights [except in the case of anyone we randomly deem to be a “threat to national security” who we jail without the basic right of habeas corpus or oh, I don’t know, freedom from torture – both psychological and/or physical] is essential for all countries in order for there to be prosperity and peace. [Read: prosperity for US and peace from our bombing you “back into the stone ages” for daring to oppose our corporate interests.]
I'm going to remind our allies and friends in the neighborhood that the United States of America stands for justice [for ourselves and in the situations we declare are just and with no recourse for you]; that when we see poverty [in other countries], we care about it [because it gives us an excuse to invade your country] and we do something about it [except in cases of severe distress of our own citizens who happen to be poor and/or black and living in, say, Louisiana or Mississippi]; that we care for good -- we stand for good health care [when it serves our rhetorical needs but not for our own citizens]. I'm going to remind our people that meddling in other elections is [by other people in other countries – certainly not here, where I thank my lucky stars that I have friends in the electronic voting machine business] -- to achieve a short-term objective [if it’s for long-term objectives, okay] is not in the interest of the neighborhood [read: for US].
The hypocrisy is sickening. To declare so openly the opposite of what Bush works for … I know I shouldn’t be surprised or outraged anymore. I can’t help it; this guy blows my mind every time.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
I like to think that last night's raucous girls' night on the Monte Vista patio was less about offending the staff and nearby patrons and more about saluting this town's stock of smart, headstrong, funny, kick-ass women... 'cause our table was full of them.
To Marjorie, Mikaela, Sophie, Chantal, Jessie, and Alexis: we could take this town over, you know. Really. Plan the coup over drinks soon? ;-)
I love Albuquerque right now.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Okay, I admit I've been out of it.
But the little I've heard about the latest immigration uproar surrounding Bush's proposal to put National Guard troops along the U.S. /Mexico boarder for "security" reasons seems woefully insincere.
We're used to Bush lying to us about his reasoning in order to get what he wants. The press is still stinging over Colbert's indictment of its inadequacy from global warming to the Iraq war. So do we have to do it again now?
Clearly, Bush wants to pander to those racists wanting to stop immigration from Mexico.
Okay, that's self-explanatory, but for us not to call his bullshit when he couches it in national security is outrageous.
Last time I checked, the foiled terrorist plots took place at the Canadian border, not Mexico. So why are we not rushing to station troops to our northern border?
And if we don't need to (and of course we don't need to, nor is it feasible), then what's the reasoning again? Oh right, jobs or something.
Once again, I'm so exasperated at our media who seems to have the hot line to the Minute Men founder for quotes about his opinion but can't seem to check any of the facts he spews.
In some interview on NPR last week, he said people on the border are "living in terror" about being attacked. Really? Let's check that out with a telephone poll! Or even anecdotal interviews.
What about actually checking the statistics about how much money is spent on social services to illegal immigrants versus the cost of manning every inch of borderland. Let's do a cost-benefit analysis. I'm all for it.
And then let's have a discussion based on facts and decide what our moral stance is here.
Let's all stop letting the Right frame this argument any which way and actually question their claims. Hold them to their arguments. Make our own.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Do you love checking out other people's houses?
Interested in sustainability? Or at least being less of a wasteful asshole?
Need to do it on a small budget but curious about how it can be done right when money is less of an object?
Lucky for you, this coming Saturday, May 20 is the annual green building tour, brought to you by the New Mexico chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.
See the tour schedule here. 10 houses in Albuquerque, 10 in Santa Fe, random others.
Marjorie and I did the tour last year and fell in love with some of the cozy houses people create within the strictures of efficiency.
Monday, May 15, 2006
The following speech was given by our friend Javier Benavidez at the 2006 UNM Raza Graduation Ceremony. Mikaela and I had the privilege of being there and were so inspired by Javier's speech that we thought we should share it with m-pyre readers. Javier, you rock!
Companeros y Companeras,
Today is a BEAUTIFUL day. Its a beautiful day, not just because of the brilliant Nuevo Mexico sunshine outside and also not just because in the midst of our graduation, we're surrounded here in this auditorium by those wonderful friends and familia who have carried us through the hardships, those that have sacrificed so much for us but in addition to that all, it's truly a beautiful day because together with them, as graduates, today we are being sent out into a world where there is something POWERFUL in the air.
Over the past few weeks, millions of people around our nation have become galvanized and energized and have begun to STAND UP.
And what more powerful an experience than to march amongst the spirit of thousands of other human beings demonstrating such goodness and compassion for the well-being of others, many doing so even though they risked losing their jobs and many under the threat of being deported? It was important enough for them to take a stand, because this struggle breaks down to a noble fight for dignity, for integrity, for human rights, and for humanity.
Yet amongst those grand moments of marching and feeling the empowerment of ourselves, when the crowd, young and old, was chanting Si Se Puede, Si Se Puede, we should be reminded that we still live in a heart-breaking time of a great deal of xenophobic frenzy, with a media that perpetuates scape-goating and hysteria and a political climate that pits people against people to close ranks, and to put up thick walls of demarcation. We live in a system that has seemingly fought so hard for free trade and a free market and free exported jobs but perhaps we've lost track of the need to fight for free human beings. And if you take a deep step back and take in the big picture, you begin to wonder if our society's perception lens has perhaps been co-opted. These are human beings exercising the ultimate in moral fortitude working to provide for their families, no matter how hard and back-breaking the work, creating community in often hostile environments - along a north to south trade route that has been there for thousands of years, and now they're called illegals. And Aliens. And criminals. And so we ask ourselves, shouldn't the corporations, the powers at play that create the situations of extreme poverty around the world that bring about these struggles, shouldnt THEY be illegal and considered criminals?
So it is phenomenally encouraging, as we graduate, to enter into a world where people are standing up for HUMANITY not as the awakening of a sleeping giant, because so many have struggled so hard in this fight for so long, but we believe, as a bold and powerful tradition of freedom struggle that will lead to a sea change of public judgment similar to that experienced during the Civil Rights movement forty years ago. Think about the thousands of young people all around the country becoming politicized and joining the walkouts and the marches and think of the numbers of young revolutionaries being cultivated STANDING UP because this is a matter of survival and because their love for others drives them to ACT.
And in being part of this all, we remember that for so many historically well-known revolutionary leaders, their fights came out of similarly enlightening experiences. Cesar Chavez initial anger grew around the age 15 when he saw his disabled father lose their house and was forced to live in a 10 by 12 house in the Sal Si Puedes neighborhood in San Jose, California, with 11 other people, and his heart was later broken when he saw so many children die of cancer around him because of pesticides in the fields that they worked. Mother Theresa started at the age of 17 as a teacher and a nun but soon found herself with a calling to reach out to the poorest of the poor in
And later, in his maturity as a revolutionary, it was Che Guevara who once said at the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.
So today, as we all have become witness to the injustices surrounding us and the need for a profound struggle for LOVE amidst the inhumanity, let us feel within our hearts that as we complete these formal stages of education that it is not enough to go on and make a good living and accumulate the material things that this society bestows upon us as fulfilling. Let us also feel that heartfelt pain that so many of our neighbors are being left behind. That pain is a heavy burden to carry and a heavy responsibility for us to share in, but its one that comes out of a great feeling of LOVE and a great sense of empathy and sympathy for the humanity of every one of us.
Cesar Chavez said the end of all education should surely be service to others. As college graduates, we should all realize the significant privilege that we have been granted but let it also be the opening of our eyes to the many wrongs of our society, because try as we might, we will not be able to close our eyes again to those wrongs. Learning makes us responsible for using that knowledge for the sake of others. Education might bring a sense of liberation, a sense of being set free from a state of captivity, but it should also charge us with the responsibility of being liberaTORS, with a responsibility to serve those held captive by hunger, by disease, by racism, sexism and exploitation and so on. Liberation Theology, the Catholic faith which has driven a great deal of revolution in
There was One final revolutionary, whose purest of Love should serve as an example for all of us, who on the night of his last meal, took the tired and weary feet of those around him who had come from long journeys and washed them. This was a beautifully rebellious and revolutionary gesture done during those times to welcome and care for those, most often strangers, who had had arrived after their cruel and treacherous crossings, some who had walked across deserts for 40 years, and it was done to honor their dignity, particularly after the suffering they had endured. And so on that night, there was Jesus, the One, the King of Kings, on his knees, bending down to provide hospitality and consolation and dignity and service to His people by washing their feet.
With whatever faith we believe, let us use that spirit of compassion as our driving force to serve others, because when we give so much of ourselves and of our hearts in that fashion, we might often feel like were stepping out onto nothing, only to land on something. Because as treacherous and inhumane as this current political paradigm may seem here in the U.S., one does not have to believe blindly that, as the blues singer Sam Cooke once beautifully sang, Change Gon Come; (that change IS going to come) one simply has to look around at the millions of people; youth, our peers, the working class, the wise elderly, who have stood up, who have marched, chanting Si Se Puede we will overcome and BELIEVE IN THEM.
To my beautiful family, Mama, Dad and my Brother and Best Friend Mario, I love you! Gracias.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Filming downtown as we speak! Go go go! Park outside of downtown and run toward Century Theatre.
Word is that Martin Lawrence will sign anything with his name on it. DVDs and so on.
Good luck, Star Chasers...
Thursday, May 11, 2006
There are only so many $30,000 bear sculptures I can admire in Santa Fe before I start itching for something a little more... real. Enter Ed Larson. As you wind down Canyon Road with that distinct sense of "haves and have nots" that is oh-so-prevalent there, he's the one who'll make you smile.
His shop is a breath of fresh air, a hug from an old friend, a spell on grandma's porch... it's home and real and funny and poignant all at once.
Ed's studio is clutter at its best - a true warming of the heart for all us packrats. He has paintings piled upon paintings, whimsical wooden toys teetering on uneven surfaces, old paint brushes everywhere, and Amy Goodman going in the background.
Amy's the perfect conduit for what matters to Ed. See, amidst his virile cowboys, naked ladies, and personable animals lies a very political bent. In Ed Larson's world of folk art, Bush&Co are art-worthy subjects in the most delightful of ways.
I took a little piece of Ed Larson home with me today to make my walls happier... you should, too. It's hard to miss him on Canyon Road. Just remember, he's the one who'll make you smile.
(click photos to enlarge)
So now that the m's are graduating, the time for serious summer reading is finally here.
To start the list, NY Times just published its list (picked by some panel of mostly men, obviously) of the best American fiction of the last 25 years. Thankfully, Beloved by Toni Morrison won top honors.
Other than that amazing novel, there is only one other by a woman. The rest are boys. Multiples of the same boys, even [Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy, and John Updike]. And they're good books, don't get me wrong. But where have all the women gone? Hasn't Oprah done enough to open the door to women writers?
So I'm asking you, dear readers. What should m-pyre have on its list of things to read?
My personal top 10 (ladies first but otherwise not in order):
- Temple of My Familiar, Alice Walker
- The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell
- Love Medicine, Louise Erdrich
- Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, Fannie Flag
- In the Time of Butterflies, Julia Alvarez
- Dreaming in Cuban, Cristina Garcia
- Miracle Life of Edgar Mint, Brady Udall
- Prayer for Own Meany, John Irving
- Nobody's Fool, Richard Russo
- Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
As always, this place does something to me. Not in the spiritual, leveling way that Chimayo does, but in a relaxing, I-should-do-more-yoga-and-breathe-deeper kind of way. Or in an I-wish-I-could-paint kind of way. Today, I loved the Blumenschein House, the Harwood Museum, and eating at Joseph's Table. Tonight, I loved sitting in a hot tub for an hour with cold mountain air washing over me.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
One of my favorite New Mexico drives is the High Road from Santa Fe to Taos. There, you'll find breathtaking views alongside classic country clutter, high-falutin' galleries across from decades-old gas pumps.
Apparently we narrowly escaped Albuquerque's freak wind storm this afternoon, and instead found ourselves driving through cold rain and spying on elk through our binoculars. I love New Mexico.
After as intense a workweek as I've ever had (70+ hours, hundreds of community members, and a few dozen pissed-off developers thrown in for good measure), I'm heading up to Santa Fe, Taos, and Angel Fire for a few days with my family, who are visting from North Carolina.
Who knows where the roads might lead us in Northern New Mexico, to me one of the most beautiful places in the world. I'm thinking our adventure will be blissfully news-free, but knowing my dad and me, we're bound to get riled up about something once we get going, so I just might have to check in here and say hi.
We'll be back in town Friday for the School of Architecture and Planning's graduation ceremony, where you can find three certain Ms walking across the Kimo stage as "masters" at last. Only one of us will be wearing a cap and gown, though; the other two are much too cool for that look.
Later that night, a certain bar in town will be host to an M3 graduation party like none other. If you're out and about and hear rowdy cheering, cheesy toasts, political ranting, and nerdy planning talk, it's probably us. Who else could it be?
Have a great week, everyone. :-)
Monday, May 08, 2006
In case any of y'all missed this, here's the link to the video clip of Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert roasting Bush at the White House Correspondents Dinner last week. Basically, Colbert really gave it to Bush, who was sitting right there next to him. If you don't have a good connection, here's the transcript. Choice excerpts:
"Mark Smith, ladies and gentlemen of the press corps, Madame First Lady, Mr. President, my name is Stephen Colbert and tonight it's my privilege to celebrate this president. We're not so different, he and I. We get it. We're not brainiacs on the nerd patrol. We're not members of the factinista. We go straight from the gut, right sir? That's where the truth lies, right down here in the gut."
"I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound -- with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world."
"The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change; this man's beliefs never will.
"As excited as I am to be here with the president, I am appalled to be surrounded by the liberal media that is destroying America, with the exception of Fox News. Fox News gives you both sides of every story: the president's side, and the vice president's side."
And the real doozer:
"Joe Wilson is here, Joe Wilson right down here in front, the most famous husband since Desi Arnaz. And of course he brought along his lovely wife Valerie Plame. Oh, my god! Oh, what have I said? [looks horrified] I am sorry, Mr. President, I meant to say he brought along "Joe Wilson's wife. "Patrick Fitzgerald is not here tonight? OK. Dodged a bullet."
He also sticks it to the White House Press Corp:
"Over the last five years you people were so good -- over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn't want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew.
"But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the Decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction!"
Yeah...he actually said all this from the podium at the Press Corp Dinner with the President literally sitting right there. But is it newsworthy? Well, it seems not...because we certainly haven't heard much about it have we?
Thursday, May 04, 2006
2 nights of improvisation with the Pajama Men
Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez
Saturday May 13, 9:00pm
Sunday May 14, 7:00pm
4819 Central Ave (across from Highland Theatre)
Call (505) 255-2182 for reservations
Tix 15 bucks
Workshop 35 bucks
Fresh from their sold out run at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, Pajama
Men Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez return to Albuquerque for two nights
“Whip-smart and able to turn on the thinnest of dimes, Allen and Chavez
are improvisers’ improvisers. Actors’ actors. Comedians’ comedians.”
Join Allen and Chavez as they present their unique style of
improvisation that has been turning heads in the city where improv was
“Writer-performers Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez… inhabit an eccentric
comic world unburdened by the self-congratulatory pop-culture
references of most improvisers.”
Plus! Sunday May 13, from 12 to 3pm the Pajama Men will hold an open
workshop (or if you’re more old fashioned, workshopee) focused on
cartoon-like characterization, physical improvisation, and takes, trips
and falls. All ages and experience levels are welcome. Come Have a
blast with the Pajama Men and to learn what the they’ve been teaching
at Second City without flying to Chicago!
Workshop 35 bucks
South Carolina is reviewing a bill that would ban the sale of sex toys, joining such states as Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas. What do you think?
"I'm no conservative, but I fear that with our increasing dependence on technology, Americans will lose the skills required to masturbate manually."
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
I'm steeped in work craziness and a whirlwind schedule this week, so m-pyre's going to be neglected. But before I race back to planning world or give in to the temptation to write about May Day and the immigrant protests, I leave you with this:
There's no place like Boston.
Red Sox 7, Yankees 3.
Monday, May 01, 2006
Yesterday's Boston Globe article "Bush Challenges Hundreds of Laws" is the scariest thing I've ever read. It outlines the Bush administration's strategic, systematic dismantling of checks and balances guaranteed by our Constitution. Bush claims for himself the right to interpret law, write law (through signing statements), and execute law (or not).
This article is comprehensive, well-reasoned, detailed, and terrifying. A must read. Who will have enough power to stop him? Unchecked power is never a good idea, even in a "benevolent ruler" as Bush's supporters claim him to be.
President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.
Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ''whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.
Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush's assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ''to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ''execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional.
Many of the laws Bush has challenged involve national security, where it is almost impossible to verify what the government is doing. And since the disclosure of Bush's domestic spying program, many people have expressed alarm about his sweeping claims of the authority to violate laws.
Bush is the first president in modern history who has never vetoed a bill, giving Congress no chance to override his judgments. Instead, he has signed every bill that reached his desk, often inviting the legislation's sponsors to signing ceremonies at which he lavishes praise upon their work.
Then, after the media and the lawmakers have left the White House, Bush quietly files 'signing statements' -- official documents in which a president lays out his legal interpretation of a bill for the federal bureaucracy to follow when implementing the new law. The statements are recorded in the federal register. . . .
[P]olitical fallout from Congress is likely to be the only check on Bush's claims, legal specialists said.
The courts have little chance of reviewing Bush's assertions, especially in the secret realm of national security matters.
''There can't be judicial review if nobody knows about it," said Neil Kinkopf, a Georgia State law professor who was a Justice Department official in the Clinton administration. ''And if they avoid judicial review, they avoid having their constitutional theories rebuked."
Without court involvement, only Congress can check a president who goes too far. But Bush's fellow Republicans control both chambers, and they have shown limited interest in launching the kind of oversight that could damage their party....
Bruce Fein, a deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration, said the American system of government relies upon the leaders of each branch ''to exercise some self-restraint." But Bush has declared himself the sole judge of his own powers, he said, and then ruled for himself every time.
''This is an attempt by the president to have the final word on his own constitutional powers, which eliminates the checks and balances that keep the country a democracy," Fein said. ''There is no way for an independent judiciary to check his assertions of power, and Congress isn't doing it, either. So this is moving us toward an unlimited executive power."