Thursday, September 27, 2007

Workforce Housing Opportunity Act Videos

marjorie says...

Here is a playlist of four video clips describing the Workforce Housing Opportunity Act, Workforce Housing Plan, and Workforce Housing Trust Fund. They're very informative...I encourage you all to watch them. And don't forget to vote YES on GO Bond #10!

Leadership: Iran vs. USA

Mikaela reposts:

Jane Smiley blogs for

Looking at the hysteria caused by the visit of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to New York and Columbia University, I would like to dare George Bush to reciprocate the visit. And I would like to dare the Iranians to let him. It doesn't matter what Ahmadinejad actually says. What matters is that he is entering the territory of a president who has openly vowed to put him out of business, and has dared to speak, indeed, has dared to give what appears to be his honest opinions. And he has been confronted by protesters and by irate news commentators (such as Scott Pelley). Would Bush allow the same sorts of confrontations? I doubt it. He doesn't even allow himself to confronted by Americans who disagree with him.
Or even the reporters and news agencies who get to interview him:

How much control should the White House have over who gets to interview President Bush? Specifically, should Bush be able to dictate which journalists at which outlets he talks to?

Those are among the questions raised by the White House's recent offer to let National Public Radio analyst Juan Williams interview Bush about race relations -- and NPR management's insistence that they should get to choose who conducted the interview.

The end result: Williams did the interview for his other employer -- Fox News.

Given how meticulously the White House picks and grooms Bush's audiences to avoid any unpleasantness, it should come as no surprise that the press office is very careful about who gets to interview Bush. It's certainly no secret that Bush has his favorite interlocutors. And he habitually avoids potentially contentious sit-down interviews with journalists -- and entire news organizations, for that matter -- known for their accountability reporting.

NPR would qualify as one of those. Williams would not, having become in many cases an affable sounding board for conservative rhetoric. ...

Would other news organizations allow the White House to determine who on their staffs would be allowed to interview the president? Would any responsible newspaper accept such conditions? I hardly think so.

Our Education President

Mikaela reposts:

Peter Baker writes today for "As a candidate, George W. Bush once asked, 'Is our children learning?'

"On Wednesday, he had an answer.

"'Childrens do learn,' he said.

This at an education event where the president took credit for rising test scores and called for congress to renew No Child Left Behind, despite the fact that the upswing areas had begun that trend BEFORE the passage of his education law.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Make Housing Affordable: Vote YES on Bond #10

Election day is just one week away and many of you have probably already voted early. For those of you who haven't though, we want to give a plug for Bond #10 which will provide much needed revenue to support the creation of affordable workforce housing in Albuquerque. These funds will be used for actual construction, for rehabilitation of existing housing and for financing strategies to create affordable housing options for our workforce and for the elderly.

For more information about the details, go to the Vote YES for Workforce Housing website. This is a great opportunity for us to put our public dollars into providing avenues for working folks in an environment that is increasingly pricing us out of the housing market.

Come on...Join the Party

marjorie says...

There’s an article on the front page of the Journal called “Independents are Leaning Toward Left” that describes how “independents” are tilting left these days because of their disaffection with George Bush, et al. Of course, this article is talking about the big mass of folks that flutters back and forth between the two parties.

I don’t really get the approach that independents in the middle often take toward politics. For instance, when people tell me they’re going to vote for someone because they like his or her personality I’m always left a little puzzled. I mean, aren’t politics about positions instead of personality? The fact is that I have many conservative Republican relatives who I like an awful lot on a personal basis. Doesn’t mean I’d vote for them though. In fact, I might even work on their opponent’s campaign (Ok, considering I really like hanging with my family maybe that’s an exaggeration…or let’s just call it “hyperbole”…but you get the point).

To me, the difference in the party platforms for the most part tells me what I need to know: how a candidates values are likely to be translated into legislation and who they bring with them to the office. Here are summaries of the 2004 national platforms of the Democrats and the Republicans. These summaries aren't all that really ought to read the actual platforms in their entirety. They're full of political B.S. but you can still see the difference.

Sure, there are differences among Democrats and there are some I most certainly prefer over others. But the fact is that I would still vote for someone like Marty Chavez over a Republican (with the very, very occasional possible exception). Which brings me to the primaries and why I’m registered in the first place given that I’m not the type to get involved with a political party.

There’s another type of independent that resides over here on the left side of the Democrats rather than in the middle. They’re the Green types mainly, and they do vote Republican sometimes. Maybe they’re actually right (seriously) or maybe they have a more nuanced perspective than I do about the value of sticking with the Democrats or maybe they’re just silly. While I respect the argument that one needs to operate outside the machine, I can’t help but lament that these folks put themselves outside the primary elections. The primaries are where we often make real choices about whether the larger public is going to have an option to elect a progressive or a conservative Democrat. And the “independents” who really are on the left are needed in that arena.

Fair Justice Continues...

From Democracy Now:

Judge in Jena Refuses to Release Mychal Bell on Bail
In Jena Louisiana, a judge has refused to release Mychal Bell on bail. Bell is the only one of the Jena Six still behind bars. He has been in jail since December. The decision came down on Friday – a day after tens of thousands of protesters marched in Jena to demand justice for the Jena Six – the six African American students who face a total of over 100 years in jail for allegedly taking part in a schoolyard fight. In June an all-white jury convicted Mychal Bell of aggravated second-degree battery but the 3rd Circuit Circuit of Appeals overturned the conviction because Bell was wrongly tried as an adult.

Police in Louisiana Arrest Two Men For Dangling Nooses From Truck
In the neighboring town of Alexandria Louisiana, police arrested two white teenagers on Thursday night after they found nooses dangling from the rear of their pickup truck. One of the teenagers told police he had a KKK tattoo on his chest and said some of his relatives were involved in the Ku Klux Klan.

FBI Investigates Anti-Jena Six White Supremacist Web Site
Meanwhile the FBI is reviewing a white supremacist Web site that is essentially calling for the lynching of the Jena Six. The website contains the home addresses and phone numbers of five of the teenagers. The owners of the website said it posted the information "in case anyone wants to deliver justice."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bush on Fair Justice for the Jena 6

Mikaela derides:
Bush's only comment on the Jena 6:

Bush was asked about the "Jena 6" -- the six black teenagers in Louisiana charged in the beating of a white classmate. Thousands of chanting demonstrators filled the streets of Jena today in a show of support.

"The events in Louisiana are -- have saddened me, and I understand the emotions," Bush said. "And all of us in America want there to be, you know, fairness when it comes to justice."

Well put, Jackass.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

American Freedom - Unless You Try Paying Your Respects

Mikaela says:
Anyone else bothered by the Iranian President not being allowed to visit Ground Zero to pay his respects and leave a wreath of remembrance?

Certainly not the democratic presidential candidates!

Mitt Romney called the request "shockingly audacious," Hillary deemed it "unacceptable," and Rudy Giuliani urged that "[u]nder no circumstances" should Ahmadinejad be allowed to visit the site.
So... what's the message to Iran here? And what's the facial expression we're all supposed to wear the next time we do a major speech on our high horse about how Iran has to change because America, we're all about freedom!

Unless you come here and want to respect our fallen heroes. That we won't allow.

Seems like we're missing a big healing opportunity here, or at least something to throw back in Iran's face the next time they make decisions that endanger innocent lives (and our government, too, for that matter).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Women's Focus

Mikaela says:
My synchronicity around women's topics continues with two emails today...

The first I'm VERY excited about, on multiple levels.

Alice Walker will be coming to Albuquerque to read her new children's book, Why War Is Never a Good Idea.

(That title alone is worth $20! And, this is a day after my wedding weekend, which marks the next phase in my life that will hopefully include kids, one of whom we've already decided will be named Walker, precisely to honor this author and my love for her.)

Oct. 1 @ 7 pm in the Kiva Auditorium

Our local bookstore gem, Bookworks, is offering advanced sales. Free ticket with purchase of the book ($16.99 + tax) or $25 for book and 2 tix. Buy here or call 505-344-8139.

The second is the first organizing meeting for next year's Women in Creativity, the month-long celebration birthed by (trying to avoid the male symbolism there of 'spearheading' or 'spawned by') the National Hispanic Cultural Center's Shelle Luaces. Partner organizations from around the city share responsibility for programming centered on women throughout the month.

Women & Creativity Organizing Meeting
Oct. 3, 10 am
NHCC - RSVP required (see below)

Any organization can do this. All you've got to do is send the NHCC information about your event, and they'll add it to their gorgeous schedule printing. There are also a thousand ways to be creative about other resources multiple orgs. can leverage. So start thinking
about how you can plug in!

Each year, this festival has expanded exponentially to include women in all their creative spheres and partners across the city, from dance to theatre, literature to poetry, arts to business, performance to activism. The NHCC pays for a printed schedule of events and some other marketing. Personally, I think this thing is just going to get bigger every year and is a great opportunity to bring the focus back to women once a year!

The most exciting part of this event for me is exploring the various ways women are creative in today's world. It’s also just a great way to find those points of connections across institutions, which often serve to fragment us, as well as to leverage our resources to benefit all (which, after all, is women’s specialty)!

For more information and/or to RSVP, contact Lavinia Nicolae, or visit last year's event info here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Onion's Town Hall

Mikaela says:
And to lighten me up a little: The Onion's take on real democracy - the Town Hall.

Town Hall Meeting Gives Townspeople Chance to Say Stupid Things in Public

So funny! So ... unfortunately true.

Bush's Fictional World

Mikaela says:
I have to say that I've checked out of political discourse lately mostly because my rage just has nowhere productive to go. How many times can you say, "This is outrageous. This is outrageous. THIS is outrageous."

Anyone paying attention at all has got to be angry -- from all sides. Bush has dragged all of us to war, put all of us in more danger, and he's in it purely for himself. Now it's his legacy he has to protect at all costs. Even Republicans say it now.

"He's more concerned about his legacy than he is about helping his Capitol Hill Republican colleagues," says one Republican strategist with ties to the GOP leadership.
Yes, well. Hello, welcome to the Truth. How was your trip?

Add to this Alan Greenspan going on record in his new book:

“I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."
Jeez, but Bush said it wasn't! Even as VP Dick had secret meetings with oil companies. Even as Congress actually debated about how fair windfall taxes were. Fair to send our men and women to die for oil, but not fair to take some oil profits to give back to our men and women? How do you figure?

And now we're heating up the rhetoric to allow us to attack Iran? I wasn't so afraid of this actually happening until the French foreign minister told the world to prepare for war over Iran's nuclear stand-off:
"We have to prepare for the worst, and the worst is war."
Even the mainstream media, perpetually playing catch up and waiting all too often for permission from those in power to write the truth, have begun resisting Bush's blatantly false, repetitive assertions.

Fred Kaplan wrote for Slate about Bush's Friday address to the nation:

"President Bush's TV address tonight was the worst speech he's ever given on the war in Iraq, and that's saying a lot. Every premise, every proposal, nearly every substantive point was sheer fiction. The only question is whether he was being deceptive or delusional.

"The biggest fiction was that because of the 'success' of the surge, we can reduce U.S. troop levels in Iraq from 20 combat brigades to 15 by next July. Gen. David Petraeus has recommended this step, and President George W. Bush will order it so.

"Let's be clear one more time about this claim: The surge of five extra combat brigades (bringing the total from 15 to 20) started in January. Their 15-month tours of duty will begin to expire next April. The Army and Marines have no combat units ready to replace them. The service chiefs refuse to extend the tours any further. The president refuses to mobilize the reserves any further. And so, the surge will be over by next July. This has been understood from the outset. It is the result of simple arithmetic, not of anyone's decision, much less some putative success."

That's what kills me. We have the evidence. We know the shell game the President continues to play, with American lives and resources at stake, and perhaps the structure of our tenuous Democracy and Constitution, to boot.

Yet, there are no consequences for this President. He gets his last 16 months, despite the lies, deception, deaths, future wars, monumental cracks in our constitution, gutting of the best of our bureaucracies, twisting of our judicial system, warps to the checks and balances upon which our democracy depends... and on and on and on.

Flash forward 16 months. What changes with the next President? Who will have the strength to remove the power Bush & Co. have managed to accrue unconstitutionally to the Executive Office?

Who will get out of bed with corporations who we know can't serve the people's best interest? Who will dismantle the power unjustly and sometimes illegally accrued to the very structure of "corporations" themeselves?

Hilary Clinton? I don't think so. Richardson? HA.

Obama? Jury's still out. Edwards is on board, but can he be elected without the same people whose sticky fingers need to be removed from our government pies?

Can anyone?

So what's a citizen to do? Marching seems too easily ignored, and too easy. So much is being sacrificed by so many that a nice, Saturday march seems almost a slap in the face, compared to what we're all up against.

Writing seems an exercise in whining.

I don't want to run for any office myself, god forbid.

Local elections are more of the same.

And yes, I know -- find a cause, sign up to volunteer, find a candidate I believe in and go door to door. Have the hard conversations in the lunch room. Build community where I can in all my grassroots efforts, blah blah blah.

Even what I sometimes want to see done has been stripped from me as an option, thanks to Sarah Vowell's hilarious discussion of a certain Presidential history pointing out all the pitfalls in certain endeavors by examining each in riveting detail:
  • Careful of the dates you pick to ummm... execute your plan. You don't want to reinforce a martyr.
  • Careful of your expectations. These things never go over quite like you think.
  • Plan your endgame. Most likely, you won't be helped to escape on the public's shoulders, propped up there as a hero!
  • Taking down one politician tends to entrench the public and governmental will to see through the actions and follow the direction the fallen man started.
The best I'm hoping for is a better manager than Bush. If we can't have someone at the national level who will say no to Big Money, let's at least have someone who qualified people will follow. We need to build back up the cadre of folks who actually make this country run, the bureaucrats who really do have good intentions and try to work with every administration, or at least despite every administration, to help the American people in the way they know how.

Maybe that would be enough to hope and work for, if we can't ask for less of a liar.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

City Council Candidate Forum - Thurs., Sept. 20

Mikaela reposts (courtesy Claude Morelli -- thanks, Claude!):

Albuquerque City Council
District 2 Candidates Forum

WHEN: Thursday, 20 September 2007 (Thursday), 7 to 8:30 PM
(Doors open at 6:45. Please arrive on time to get a seat!)

North Valley Senior Center (3825 Fourth Street NW)

SPONSORS: Neighborhood Associations & Coalitions of District 2

CANDIDATES: Debbie O'Malley (incumbent) and Katherine Martinez
(Information will also be provided about General Obligation Bond issues and propositions to amend the Albuquerque City Charter.)

Absentee voting has already started. Please contact the City Clerk's office (click here) or phone 768-3030 to request an absentee ballot.

Early voting starts Tuesday, 12 September 2007 and runs through 28 September 2007. Early voting locations are open from 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, and include:
  • City Clerk's Office (1 Civic Plaza, Basement, Fifth & Marquette)
  • City of Albuquerque Records Center (604 Menaul Blvd NW)
  • APS City Center (6400 Uptown Blvd NE, Suite 540)
  • Ladera Shopping Center (5300 Sequoia NW, Suite G)
Election Day is Tuesday, 2 October 2007. To find out where you can vote on Election Day, please visit the web site of the County Clerk's office (click here). You may not be able to vote at your normal voting location!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Goodbye to Madeleine L'Engle

Mikaela says:
I was very sad to read that Madeleine L'Engle, author of the kids classic, A Wrinkle in Time, died September 7.

I so vividly remember reading these books, deep into the night, with a thrilling fear that my mom would burst in on me and I would catch holy hell for still being awake.

I remember feeling so akin to the brainy but loving Meg character, who lacks confidence and yet steps up at every dire circumstance. Over the course of the three-book series, she also gets prettier as time goes on and marries a wonderful guy. Good news for us not-so-beautiful brainiac kids!

The parents of the Murray family were partner scientists who work on chemistry and genetic codes (I think). The best part is the picture of domesticity as Mrs. Murray cooks a big vat of soup on her Bunsen burner so that she can feed her family AND work to solve a scientific mystery. So cool. (And reassuring to those of us brainiac yet maternal types out there!).

Of course the books are all about the power of love, but they're also great reads with amazing characters and such imaginitive events. I actually best-loved A Swiftly Tilting Planet, for its weaved narrative of historic events and the potential to radically avoid a cataclysmic current political event (nuclear both threat from a crazy South American despot). There's Native American lore, Salem witch trials, and all the arguments against nuclear proliferation you can imagine. In a kids book! Not to mention cosmic travel through space and time. Come on!

She was an author who wrote quality literature accessible to kids that actually gave good models and good stories about characters that helped me have choices that I might not have known I had otherwise. I so wanted to be a chemist for a good two years after reading these books! And have a family of five...

Ms. L'Engle also was very active promoting other writers, sponsoring scholarships and programs at the University of New Mexico for young authors. She put her money where her heart was to home-grow talent and support others' dreams.

What a beautiful model for all of us. I can't wait to read her books to my own kids.