Friday, August 29, 2008

Forget the R's...I've got Gustav on the mind

marjorie says...

Read this and weep.

I'm already feeling tense.

Not to mention, the timing is surreal on multiple levels. Could it really be possible that on the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina the City of New Orleans is not only watching a hurricane headed their way, but may be evacuating the city en mass as the Republicans kick off their convention?

Sarah Palin...fisherwoman to guv.

marjorie says...

Here's an interesting piece on Sarah Palin by one of my fellow writers at the New Mexico Independent, Joel Gay:

The Sarah Palin I knew

As a longtime Alaska journalist and resident who once knew Gov. Sarah Palin and followed her political rise, I have to wonder what John McCain was thinking when he asked her to be his vice presidential nominee.

Sure, she's a lot of things McCain is, was or needs. The 44-year-old is a political maverick, a Republican who challenged the Alaska GOP's old-boy network and won. She is a fiscal and social conservative who opposes abortion rights. She's a photogenic former beauty queen with five kids, including one just born with Down syndrome and another in the Army heading to Iraq. She's a commercial fisherman and a moose hunter and her husband races snowmobiles.

In many respects she's the perfect choice, a combination of exotic and salt-of-the-earth to balance concerns that McCain is too old, too white and too rich. But there are so many questions surrounding his decision that I can hardly imagine how Palin will strengthen the McCain candidacy. And I like her.

Or at least I did when I knew her in the 1990s. She and her husband, Todd, had a commercial salmon fishing operation in Bristol Bay, and I operated the tender boat that steamed by their site daily and purchased their fish. Sarah and Todd were smart, polite and cheerful — not exactly common traits among setnetters — and I counted them among my favorite fishermen, not to mention my top salmon producers.

Read the rest over at the NMI

VP thoughts?

Maggie says:
My quick take on McCain's VP pick:

  • Chosen because she is a woman, so McCain can respond to the Dems regarding change and making history
  • Thinks Biden won't tear up a woman as badly as he would any of the men mentioned as potential VPs
  • Talk about inexperienced...

Teleprompter interference at the DNC

marjorie says...

Here's how I summed up the week. I know that any of my m-pyre live chat buddies from last night could have done a much better job. In fact, I hope you all will.

The DNC drifts into history

The fourth night of the Democratic national convention was a profoundly historic day for the United States. But as one of the two major political parties officially nominated an African American to be their presidential candidate, on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's "I have a dream" speech at the Lincoln memorial, hardly a word was said to acknowledge it. Here, there, or anywhere it seemed.

In fact, a political novice may never have realized the historical significance of the week simply from watching the major speeches on television. In many ways, it's as though those in the know made a collective judgment, taking their cues from the Obama campaign, to only allude to the convergence of history and history in the making. And in fact, it very well may be that words really weren't needed for most Americans--that in the end, we actually all know all to well the long trajectory that got us to this moment, even if many never want to acknowledge it.

Maybe, or maybe not. It's highly possible the speakers were bursting at the seems to talk about Martin Luther King, but were held hostage to the Obama message through a dependence on teleprompters.

Go to NMI to read the rest.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

DNC Night 4: Obama's Acceptance Speech

What does tonight have in store for us? How monumental will this night be? How fitting on the 45-year anniversary of "I Have a Dream?" What needs to happen? What do we most want to see? Just how fired up are we?

I Have a Dream

August 28, 1963: 45 years ago today.

Full text.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

DNC Night 3!

Maggie says:
I'm watching the roll call right now, which I have always nerdily loved. I really enjoy seeing all the states represented and hearing what they have to say. Watching delegates from each state cheer is one of my happiest nerdy moments, actually. At any rate: so much excitement ahead tonight! I'll be gone from 6ish to 8ish Central time, so fill me in on what I miss, and know that I'll be back to gab asap!

Hillary: Thumbing her nose at the haters

marjorie says...

Hi Dad. It occurred to me that the best way for us to reference this speech was to simply post it here. Hopefully MSNBC will have it up for awhile.

I have several thoughts about this performance, now that I've digested it.

First and foremost, it showed just how strong Hillary is--which is why she's been able to withstand all the mysoginators since 1992.

and second, and equally important, Hillary made a few statements buried in the politicking that bear repeating.

As you know, there are loads of things I disagree with Hillary about (Obama also). But I appreciated greatly her admonition to follow the values, not the person:

"I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?"

The cynic in me questions her sincerity, but at the same time appreciates her acknowledgment that politics should always be about organizing and collective struggle. Not about the individual. I wish more politicians got this.

I also appreciated the passage she invoked by Harriet Tubman:

And on that path to freedom, Harriett Tubman had one piece of advice.
If you hear the dogs, keep going.
If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.
If they're shouting after you, keep going.
Don't ever stop. Keep going.
If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.
Even in the darkest of moments, ordinary Americans have found the faith to keep going.

A little overwrought perhaps for a speech of this nature, but in a power-based world anyone who's been on the losing end of the stick (which if you're on the right side is probably more often than you'd like) understands this sentiment. It's good to hear it invoked with such passion in a world in which keeping cynicism at bay is always quite the task.

Past and future HRC spin

Maggie says:
After last night's rousing speech from HRC and her irrefutable chastisement of delegates who threaten to vote McCain, I have two thoughts regarding past and future spin.

  • Republican HRC ads. On the admission that for the most part the recent HRC-themed Republican ads (one shown here) were not aired and basically constituted "video press releases," we can see very clearly that these ads were created explicitly for the press - to influence talking points, punditry, and coverage. What a decisive way to showcase the pure strategy of that "watch the Dems unravel" message. By producing ads seemingly for the public at large but never intended for airtime beyond news channels, the Republicans succeeded in furthering a storyline that helps them look more unified and confident about their candidate than the Democrats are. We see also, of course, how well that strategy worked for them in the overwrought HRC analysis we've been fed all week... which means, of course, that the media bought it hook, line, and sinker.
  • HRC as VP storyline. The next phase of the HRC storyline - once today's roll call is over, of course - is going to feature prominent Republicans saying that Obama should've put HRC on the ticket. We saw Rudy Giuliani roll out this strategy yesterday. Keeping the "HRC should've been VP" storyline front and center works for the Rs because it continues to cast doubt on the Democratic ticket and maintains an image of a fragmented party on the airwaves. How far will the media run with this story? If their fling with the HRC delegates story is any indication, they'll buy it completely. The premise, of course, is entirely empty: we are supposed to believe that a Republican party that's made easy money over the last 16 years vilifying HRC is so full of respect for her now that they think she should've been the VP? And that's a heartfelt notion? Come on. Biden was the R's most-feared VP choice, and we all know it. The R's tried-and-true tactics against HRC (again, developed over the last 16 years) and the damage they've done with swing voters who feel incredibly negatively about her, are just two of the reasons she wasn't selected. The media should see through Republicans working from the HRC-as-VP playbook easily and treat such statements as the strategic campaign maneuvering that they are. Nothing more, nothing less. The chatter leading up to Biden's speech tonight will be teeming with this messaging, so it's up to Biden to exceed expectations with his speech. Can he do it? Tonight will tell.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

DNC Night 2

Maggie says:
Whoopee, another night of politics!

So tonight, we have the all-important Hillary Clinton speech and a keynote from Mark Warner. As I see it, Clinton needs to strongly and genuinely endorse Obama in the context of how damaging McCain will be for the country. Warner needs to deliver a pointed, all-fronts-attack on McCain that puts us on the offense.

The context of Clinton's speech is, of course, her supporters who are still not in the Obama camp. I have so little patience for this point of view. The NPR piece this morning that spotlighted a couple of these women was absurd. Better than I could, here's Eric Alterman:

Personally, I think that people who are "still angry" about Hillary Clinton and are considering "withholding their support" from Obama are moral and political idiots in exactly the same vein as those people who voted for Ralph Nader in swing states in 2000 were. More so, actually. The Democrats had a primary, and Obama won it fair and square. He didn't cheat. He didn't do any of the things that Hillary Clinton diehards are are so angry about. He just won and she lost. That's how these things are supposed to work.

These Hillary diehards act as if they are making some sort of point, but the only point they are making is that they would prefer to see John McCain be President--and run a government that is opposed to everything they say they favor (here's where the Nader comparison comes in) because they think politics is a form of therapy rather than a matter of compromise, coalition and, ultimately, victorious combination.

If you talk to one of these people for more than two minutes, they immediately cease to make any sense. But the press doesn't talk to them for more than two minutes at a time because all they need is that one self-serving, conflict-building quote to give them what they need to support their big--and, right now, virtually only--story line.
I think Hillary Clinton will deliver tonight. She's got to, and she knows it. I still want to believe that she is better than the Mark Penn politics that defined her campaign. Whether or not tonight's speech will be enough for these supposed "diehards," time will tell. So will my concern for whether or not they join us in November.

Help me, golfers

Maggie admits:
I know nothing about golf, but what's the deal with this? The LPGA is now requiring all players to speak English. Isn't that a little... big-brothersister of them? A bit xenophobic? Is there precedent for this policy in U.S.-based sports? I can't imagine something like this flying in baseball or basketball, where the teams work together to come up with ways to communicate with their Japanese or Latin American players, for example. Not to mention, most players seem to take the initiative on their own, and learn fairly quickly once they're living and playing in the U.S. And those are team sports, where one might argue there's a real need for everyone to speak the same language... but an individual sport like golf? What exactly is the LPGA trying to accomplish, besides upsetting folks?

What's wrong with this...paragraph?

marjorie says...

I know, I stole that from Mark. But it's kind of fitting...

What's wrong with this paragraph? From LP's blog today, regarding the party Bill Richardson threw for the New Mexico delegation in Denver:

Also there were Doug Fernandez of KOAT, Peter St. Cyr from KKOB radio, Steve Terrell of the Santa Fe New Mexican, Jeff Jones of the Albuquerque Journal, my editor David Alire Garcia at the New Mexico Independent and Dave Maass of the Santa Fe Reporter. It was the first time that I've met Coleman and Fernandez, but I had spoken to the rest of them before.

When grammar Nazis strike

Maggie points out:
Two men in Arizona - self-appointed "grammar vigilantes" - were busted recently on their three-month national tour correcting signage in U.S. National Parks.

Jeff Michael Deck, 28, of Somerville, Mass., and Benjamin Douglas Herson, 28, of Virginia Beach, Va., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Flagstaff after damaging a rare, hand-painted sign in Grand Canyon National Park. They were sentenced to a year's probation, during which they cannot enter any national park, and were ordered to pay restitution.

Deck and Herson used white-out and a permanent marker to correct a misplaced apostrophe and comma on the sign, which was painted sixty-some years ago by artist Mary Colter. Then, according to Deck's diary, they noticed that the sign also contained a completely fictitious word: "emense."
"I was reluctant to disfigure the sign any further," wrote Deck, "so we had to let the other typo stand. Still, I think I shall be haunted by that perversity."

As part of their sentencing, Deck and Herson are prohibited from entering any national parks for the next year. But what, I ask, will be done about the horrendous use of quotations on park signs? Maybe they can go on a convenience store tour instead.

Note to sign-makers everywhere: Quotations are not meant to add emphasis, and when applied in that manner, actually imply an opposite reality. For example, you probably don't want to suggest that fruit isn't really fresh but only appears to be. Got it?

For further examination of my biggest signage pet peeve (and fun imagining me erupting into peals of giggles while reading), see The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks.

DNC: a police state?

marjorie says...

I hope you guys are keeping up with the blogosphere to supplement that DNC convention floor rah-rah-rah. From Dave Maass at Swing State of Mind:

You might also check out the NMI's sister site, the Colorado Independent for extensive pre-convention reporting about police preparations for the DNC. The streets are basically like a police state. And I don't believe this is an exaggeration. Got to keep Barb, et al, safe!

Monday, August 25, 2008

a puzzled SoS Herrera: (but) He Has a Law Degree!

marjorie says...

The Secretary of State has hired Tom Udall's son-in-law, Jim Noel, to be the state's elections director. I believe this means he's the head honcho in charge of pulling off the election in November.

The SoS doesn't think its a problem...afterall, he has a law degree.

Read it and weep.

I think we finally may know why the SoS is jumping through the A.G. Gary King's hoop.

Those sacrosanct attorneys and all...

Democratic Convention, Night 1

Maggie says:
The convention is on! I'm particularly excited about the Kennedy tribute and Michelle Obama's speech tonight. MSNBC is the house channel. Thoughts and musings here the rest of the night...

Ads ads ads

Maggie says:
I just caught the latest Obama ad... have you all seen this yet? I love smart use of music in ads. Not sure how this one will be received, but it definitely got my attention, and certainly hits on the right economic notes. Love that they got the hug in there, too. Thoughts?

As much as I agree with Hillary Clinton not being on Obama's ticket, I have no stomach for the HRC-themed McCain attack ads. There are two out today - one, which is rather sloppy, was put out by the McCain campaign. The other one scares the hell out of me; it was produced by the Republican National Committee. How much can the convention counter this line of attack?

who's covering the DNC?

marjorie says...

m-pyre didn't make the trek to Denver for the DNC this week---what can we say? Yes, it's true. We really aren't political animals. When it comes to that kind of politics anyway.

However, some of our buddies in the blogosphere are and I'm counting on them to have some great commentary over the course of the week.

Democracy for New Mexico
is our "state blogger"--this means Barb and Mary Helen get to sit with the New Mexico delegation on the floor of the convention. I suspect they'll have some great photographs.

LP from FBIHOP is there, and I suspect his site will be as entertaining as ever. He got started early, making videos with Dave Maass of Swing State of Mind. SSW is the blog of the Santa Fe Reporter, and I thought Maass' characterization of the DNC was right on. NM's delegates, he says, will be some of the most popular debutantes at the ball. In fact, if the SSM weekend posts tell us anything its that Maass is going to be on fire this week. He gives us a little demonstration this morning of reality versus gossip.

Peter St. Cyr made the trek and should have some interesting audio on his blog, What's the Word.

There's some multiple hat wearing going on in Denver also.

NMI writers Matt Reichbach and David Alire Garcia are also in Denver and the two of them will be posting content on NMI. Alire has a great run-down of the happenings already--oh, and he touches on reality versus gossip also. Apparently, Poli Sci Prof Christine Sierra will be posting reflections for the NMI as well.

Gene Grant is there as well. Gene is co-host with Alire on KNME's NM In Focus on Friday nights...could there be a show in the works?

There are NM paper papers up there also. Steve Terrell is reporting for the SF New Mexican, Jeff Jones and Jim Thompson are there for the Abq Journal.

Did I miss anyone? I'm sure.

Friday, August 22, 2008

VP chatter II

Getting close now... let's continue our VP chatter in an updated spot.

Part 1 here.

Part 2 here. And.... go!

Things that make me happy this Friday

Maggie lists:

  • I'm flying to Albuquerque this evening for a weekend of hugging the Ms, gabbing with great friends, eating my weight in green chile, and helping to raise some much-deserved cash for Martin Heinrich.
  • The wry "they got me" notion that unless Obama announces his VP this afternoon (which I wouldn't recommend in order for Too Many Houses To Count to stay in play), I am going to go ahead and sign up for the text message alert. Otherwise, it might come while Trevor's on a plane and I'm out and about Saturday... and what if I missed it by a couple of hours?!
  • Yawning kittens. The scene from the living room last night, where apparently, even the kittens are ready for the Olympics to end so the convention can begin.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

NASCAR in New Mexico?

marjorie says...

I wrote a piece about the Hot Springs Motorplex in Truth or Consequences for the NMI that some of you may find interesting. The story was spurred by an investigative piece published in the St. Petersburg Times, out of Tampa, Florida. That piece exposes almost 20 claims by the developer, Greg Neal, as ”...exaggerated, misleading, disputed, or downright false," including claims he's made about NASCAR and Roush Racing having expressed interest to set up shop in TorC.

You can find claims that NASCAR and Roush Racing have expressed interest in coming to New Mexico, as though it's almost a done deal, literally all over the internet.

Interestingly, I didn't speak to one person in New Mexico who was ready to denounce Neal, despite the Times investigation -- which is eyebrow-raising at the very least considering the impacts that these huge developments will have on the surrounding communities. And I spoke to almost two hands worth of people, at all levels of government. Not to mention, the TorC City Commission approved the annexation, the zoning and the master plan on Monday night, after having seen the investigation by the Times.

There is always the possibility that the reporter got it all wrong. Neal has yet to rebut the St. Petersburg Times piece.

But you guys tell me what you think. Do you think these sorts of exaggerated claims about big development projects should matter?


ALBUQUERQUE -- The proposed Hot Springs Motorplex development in Truth or Consequences has been widely touted as a potential home away from home for both NASCAR and Roush Racing, but according to an investigation by The St. Petersburg Times, that’s all been a bunch of hot air.

The Times report, which ran on Sunday, claims to debunk almost 20 statements made by the developer of the motorplex, Greg Neal, to the Hillsboro Community College in Tampa, Florida as ”...exaggerated, misleading, disputed, or downright false.”

Read the story here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

sub-culture of gross

marjorie says...

Not to make light of the serious allegations in these two cases...but what is up (besides the obvious) with our fire fighters and police officers??

First, a lawsuit is filed that makes the Albuquerque Police Department sound downright seedy.

The suit calls it a "sub-culture of sexual fraternization."

Then, today we have an article about the sexual harassment put up with by a female Santa Fe firefighter, who says the station was akin to a brothel.


Ok, I know...I'm regressing here a little, but really.

um, gross!

And, reminding us what China's REALLY like...

Maggie points to:

Two Women Sentenced to 'Re-education' in China.

They are in their late 70s, and their crime was repeatedly seeking a permit to protest the fact that their homes in Beijing were demolished without fair compensation to make way for the Olympics.

Still talkin' VPs

Here, in comments.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rachel Maddow has her own show!!!!

Maggie is...
Bursting! Just saw this.

Just in time for the closing rush of the presidential election, MSNBC is shaking up its prime-time programming lineup, removing the long-time host –- and one-time general manager of the network — Dan Abrams from his 9 p.m. program and replacing him with Rachel Maddow, who has emerged as a favored political commentator for the all-news cable channel.
She begins September 8!

To catch you all up, I have a huge RM crush. If you don't know why you should too, read this.

Help FBIHOP get to Denver

Maggie says:
The indefatigable New Mexico political blog FBIHOP is trying to get to Denver to cover the convention for New Mexicans. Don't you want to send LP some gas money to make the trip? I thought so.

Of folks I know going to Denver, LP will join local "personality" Gene Grant (for real this time) and my old buddy Richard, who will presumably avoid riling up the Jezebel girls in The Mile-High City.

In other news, if you don't know why I'll be back in Albuquerque this weekend and want to join in on the fun, shoot me an e-mail.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Obama on compromise

marjorie says...

Thanks to Barb for pointing me to this video clip of Barack Obama today at Rio Grande High School in the South Valley. In it, he responds to a local Democratic party activist, Dallas Timmons, who called him out for his positions on moving Iraq soldiers to Afghanistan, and for his FISA vote...asking him if he was for real change... or a compromiser with the Republican minority.

Obama says... "Dallas, you're feisty, and I like that...but you're wrong."

He explained his positions...and then at the end, said, yes...sometimes compromise is necessary to get things done. Because he isn't an elected monarch. There's nothing wrong with compromise, he said, as long as one understands what their core principles are.

ok :-)

Obama in ABQ

FBIHOP is live-blogging the Obama event over at Rio Grande High School right now.

I believe Gene is there with KNME as well.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Graffiti art and the upper classes

marjorie says...

Anthony has a great post on Alterdestiny about a conflict over graffiti art in SoCAl.

A problem solved by art, then jacked up by government tools

I caught this story in the LA Times, which has also made it on the local news rotation here in Southern California.

A small family-owned grocery business in Highland Park (a north east Los Angeles neighborhood) was having a difficult time with graffiti—the owners told the LA Times that the store had been hit by “taggers” over 100 times. After some research, the Antonio family found that buildings in the area with murals were not being hit by graffiti. As it turns out, murals are highly respected in the world of street art and are generally untouched out of respect for the creators. The Antonio family spent $3,000 hiring some local artists to create a mural on the side of their grocery store. The plan worked—after mural was finished, the store went untouched for three months. Art solving real-world problems, very cool.

Enter The City. The LA Times article reports that after about three months, the city threatened the Antonio family with a $1,000 fine and/or imprisonment if it the mural wasn’t removed. City crews then came by and whitewashed the side of the building. Why? Usually the city doesn’t go after murals unless someone complains.

A Highland Park resident did complain. She said that the mural was “gang looking” and made her “nervous”. The kicker here is that she is with the Highland Park Neighborhood Council (bletch).

Click here to read the rest.

Muzzling the watchdogs

marjorie says...

Sorry for the quick post last night...I generally am not a fan of simply pasting in comments, but was in a hurry. There are a couple of things you guys might read today if you're following the saga of the non-profits and the A.G.

First, you might want to check out SWOP's commentary, for this issue but also if you're curious about grassroots community organizing in general. All 501c3's in the state are affected by this case, even if they don't do similar issue advocacy. This has been acknowledged by the A.G., which you can read in Heath's article this morning. Then, CCP's Eli Il Yong Lee has a commentary in todays Journal, in which he characterizes that lawsuit as frivolous and says this is all about muzzling citizen watchdog groups.

For me, it still comes down to what its always come down to: When does a non-profit get to speak about an elected official? In this case, mailers were sent out in March, right after the legislative session ended and over two months before the primary. Looking forward to a special session, they pointed out campaign contributions, how the elected officials have voted, and urged folks to give them a call. If the A.G. says these were "political" acts related to elections, then he's opening up a big bag of interpretative worms. The "chilling" effect that the attorneys refer to has to do with the ultimate outcome if the AG is successful: the shutting down of non-profits. In other words, the muzzling of the watchdogs. And the ripple effects of that would permeate the entire non-profit sector.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The right to Free Speech

marjorie says...

Apparently, the A.G. still hasn't agreed to meet with New Mexico Youth Organized or the Center for Civic Policy, to hear their perspectives about free speech.

For context, refer back to my previous blogs here, then here and then here.

From a statement by Eli Lee of CCP today:

We have yet to hear a response from the Attorney General’s office, despite a written request for a meeting. The Attorney General has made his decision clear in the media, even though he has yet to meet with us. This attempt to muzzle New Mexico's nonprofits is due a fair hearing because New Mexico's citizens have a right to know how their elected officials vote on key issues affecting our daily lives.

Attorney's John Boyd and Sara Berger also sent a letter today, to the Secretary of State, in which they request a meeting to discuss the case before a decision is made. Here is what the letter says:

We write on behalf of New Mexico Youth Organized (“NMYO”) and the Center for Civic Policy (“CCP”). We are writing in follow up to a letter we sent to your office dated June 6, 2008, and another sent by Sara Berger on July 7, 2008. In our June 6 letter we articulated the reasons why we supported your original determination that NMYO need not comply with the requirements of the Campaign Reporting Act.

It has come to our attention that you and the Attorney General have met and that you intend to issue a final determination regarding our client’s status in the very near future. We wish to reiterate that we believe the law is very clear that the First Amendment protects NMYO’s activities. We respectfully ask that we be given an opportunity to discuss this with you before a final determination is issued.

SWOP weighed in on the issue of non-profit's right to free speech today. Here is an excerpt:

Our theory of action is that we create opportunity for disenfranchised communities to insert their own voices into the crucial public debates that profoundly affect their lives. These opportunities derive from direct campaigns developed with communities of people to affect change. Making our voices heard, for us, has happened in number of ways over our 30-year history. Sometimes it’s with a bullhorn in the street, other times it's sitting at the table with policy makers, and at other times it’s through direct communication via mail, telephone or radio to decision makers.


Recently there has been controversy over direct communication from non-profits to the public about elected officials’ campaign contributions and voting records. This mail was not political. It stated the facts that we see as critical information as to why policies that are crucial to fulfilling our mission are not implemented, time and time again. None of the officials have denied the information printed on our mail pieces. Nor, to our knowledge, have any in the media asked them to respond to the information that was presented directly about them to the public.

Instead, the media would rather focus on a red herring called funding disclosure.

Let’s be clear: this is not about funding disclosure. We are very transparent and willingly share our sources of funding to anyone who asks up to the minute, as we have throughout our three decades as a 501c3.

This is about our right to free speech, and powerful interests who don’t like what we are saying.

We know the rules and we follow the rules. As a non-partisan organization we have been diligent and careful about our advocacy efforts. We are confident that in nearly 30 years of existence we have never crossed the line.

If the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, the media, and the public wish to have a genuine conversation about how to improve the ethics of political actors in this state, they will find us where we have always been: leading the charge.


Maggie says:
My typical politics-nerd self is surprised at my own lack of interest and/or excitement in the Obama Veepstakes. I just can't get into it. Weird. My gut reactions - aside from a huge disinterested shrug - are:

  • Kaine. Probably the person I'd most like to see in there from this shortlist. I like the cultural balance, I like that he's from Virginia. Good energy. Catholic, Spanish-speaker, son named Woody all bonus points.
  • Biden. Loose cannon. Arrogant. Defense/security bonus points. The elder stateman choice, I guess. But isn't he too acerbic to be considered an elder stateman?
  • Bayh. Blah. Bland. Voted for the war. There's a reason he's always mentioned but never chosen. RepublicanLite. Boringzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz........................
Who are you guys feeling, if anyone?

ps: The blogosphere seems to be guessing Biden lately, for whatever that's worth. The VP night of the convention is a "Security" theme, etc. Earlier this week they were hot for Bayh. Kaine has been kind of dismissed.

Are all liberals Democrats?

marjorie says...

To read Heath's latest piece you'd think all liberals were Democrats. Well, most probably are, but many are that out of necessity.

Posing the two electoral parties that have a stranglehold on politics in the United States as encompassing the entirety of politics gets very old with this particular m.

Does Conservative = Republican?


On the left side of the spectrum, there are more words to choose from: liberal, progressive, radical, leftist. We're into identity so that shouldn't surprise anyone. ;-)

Do any of those words actually = Democrat?


The two sites Heath mentions are better acknowledged as belonging to Democratic Party netroots activists. Its very obvious to anyone who reads them. And, their progressive politics in general pop up there also. The same with Daily Kos, and all those.

But if you look at the landscape, there are an enormous amount of reflective, very analytical, non-party oriented blogs on the left. In New Mexico, these types of politics get less attention from bloggers who report almost exclusively on the horse race of electoral politics, like Heath.

But they exist. Coco comes to mind.

Shall I veer off now into whether "fair and balanced" actually exists? Maybe next time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

ur prezdent

Maggie says:
One of my favorite Olympics sideshows has been watching Bush bumble around at various events like an idiot. That said, The Guardian's LOL Bush feature is the best thing that's happened to me all day.

More Sunshine-y News

Mikaela says:

Disturbing. From Democracy Now...

Bush Administration Proposes Gutting Endangered Species Act

The Bush administration has proposed rolling back protections for the nation’s wildlife by rewriting the Endangered Species Act. The proposed rule change would allow federal agencies to decide whether protected species would be imperiled by agency projects. This would eliminate the independent scientific reviews that have been required for more than three decades. The draft rules also would bar federal agencies from assessing the greenhouse gas emissions from projects that contribute to global warming and its effect on species and habitats. The Bush administration publicly announced the proposed regulatory changes on Monday, only after the National Wildlife Federation posted leaked documents outlining the administration’s plan. John Kostyack of the National Wildlife Federation described the proposed change as a “full blown attack on America’s premier conservation law.”

CBO Report: US Spends $100 Billion on Private Contractors in Iraq

A new report by the Congressional Budget Office estimates the US will have spent $100 billion by the end of the year on private contractors in Iraq since the invasion in 2003. The Pentagon’s reliance on outside contractors in Iraq is proportionately far larger than in any previous conflict. The Washington Post reports contractors in Iraq now employ at least 180,000 people in the country, forming what amounts to a second private army, larger than the United States military force.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A.G.: "this is my position"..."but I need to research whether I'm right a little more"

marjorie says...

Toward the end of last week, there were rapid-fire developments in the case of the non-profit mailers. The A.G. released a press release in response to Trip Jennings' article in the NMI quoting the Secretary of State's office that they had been instructed to set aside a May 22 letter from the A.G. that said the tax status of a local non-profit should be changed to reflect a political campaign organization.

In his press release Friday, A.G. Gary King confirmed that his office had asked the Secretary of State to give them further time to research the legal issues surrounding what non-profits can and can not do, before following the previous advice of the A.G.:

"...Before they made a decision to disregard or follow the AG's advice, the SOS was asked to let the AG's office closely examine the CCP's claims and report back. That is where the issue stands today."
But that confirmation was buried in the middle of assertions that Gary King stands by his office's original letter directing the SoS to change NMYO's legal status.

Why the Attorney General gave legal advice in the first place if he needed to conduct further research first is beyond me, much less why he continues to stand by that advice while acknowledging that he continues to do research. Does he think NMYO's rights aren't worthy of proper consideration? Could one of you explain it to me?

Wait. Attorney John Boyd sort of did, in his statement as attorney for the Center for Civic Policy and NMYO. Released in a statement Saturday, here is what he and his colleague Sara Berger had to say:

"The United States Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear that election officials are only permitted to regulate public statements that explicitly address elections. They are not permitted to regulate public statements that relate to officeholders' conduct, even though those officeholders may be running for re-election. This is fundamental to the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech.

The Attorney General's statement that he recognizes what can be regulated on the basis of whether it 'walks like a duck' is an indication that he doesn't understand the law in this area, and he is inviting entirely unnecessary litigation against the State of New Mexico."

Trip and Heath Haussamen have been covering the story over the weekend. See the A.G.'s press release described more fully here. You'll see what I mean about how King's statement is a classic denial and affirmation at the same time.

Trip's follow-up story covering the statement Saturday from CCP, John Boyd and Sara Berger is here.

And the Sunday Journal had an interesting article about CCP here.

Trip's article on Friday links to the A.G.'s original letter in May, the one he stands by now even though he needs more time to research the legal issues.

If there's one letter to read, its that one. Check it out for yourself. Barely more than a page, it seems to base its entire position on the review of a defunct website.

Eli Il Yong Lee expressed disappointment about King's approach over the weekend, due to his "glib" remarks in the press release he sent out Friday. I agree with Lee. If the A.G. is going to recommend that an entities tax status be changed, the least he and his office could do is adequate research.

This entire episode makes me wonder about the relationships/friendships that exist behind closed doors, that the public knows nothing about.

FYI: I work for a 501c3 and am aligned with CCP so I clearly have a position in this case. But I welcome any and all disputes of anything I write here at m-pyre. I think I'm fair, and am more than willing to engage. Others in the blogosphere are less transparent, but thats what you get from someone who's forte is gossip. You know the fabled aristocracy of New York, immortalized in literature and television? The kind that mimic'ed the class structure of England, operating through whispers and back room deals? That's what some of these guys and their minions remind me of.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Laura's environmental blog is back

marjorie says...

I'm so happy to report that Laura Paskus is back in the blogosphere. Her blogs are full of information and interesting analysis, and I was sorely missing her blog.

Check out her new digs: Environmental News for New Mexicans.

Welcome back Laura!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

John Edwards on the entitlement of politicians

marjorie says...

In Edwards' confession about having an affair, he said this about being a politician:

This is what happened. It's what happened with me and I think happens unfortunately more often sometimes with other people.… Ego. Self-focus, self-importance.

Now, I was slapped down to the ground when my son Wade died in 1996, in April of 1996. But then after that I ran for the senate and I got elected to the Senate and here we go again, it's the same old thing again. Adulation, respect, admiration.

Then I went from being a senator, a young senator to being considered for vice president, running for president, being a vice presidential candidate and becoming a national public figure. All of which fed a self-focus, an egotism, a narcissism that leads you to believe that you can do whatever you want. You're invincible. And there will be no consequences. And nothing, nothing could be further from the truth.

In what is otherwise just one more affair made into a public scandal, this is quite a little gem of a comment. Politicians may be more susceptible than others (I'd say its pretty evident lately), but these qualities also increase in general with access to power & money.

And even more broadly, I'd say humbleness is a virtue that is often in short supply.

Friday, August 08, 2008

NM Attorney General: letter? what letter?

marjorie says...

Regarding the letter the A.G.'s deputy sent to the Sec. of State last May about New Mexico Youth Organized...

Apparently, it was followed up pretty quickly by another directing the Sec. of State to disregard it. Here we are in August, and the A.G.'s office has finally decided to share that bit of relevant information.

From Trip Jennings' story in the NM Independent:

Deputy secretary of state Don Francisco Trujillo said Thursday that the author -- Attorney General Gary King's Chief Deputy Albert J. Lama -- phoned shortly after sending the letter out to ask "me to disregard it or set it aside. I don't remember the exact terminology. The message was, we've decided that is not our final say." ...

"The letter has been the source of speculation about and criticism of our organization in the media over the past three months," said Matt Brix, political director of The Center for Civic Policy, which oversees New Mexico Youth Organized. "We are shocked to find out today that just days after it was released it was disavowed by its author."

Phil Sisneros, spokesman for Attorney General Gary King, confirmed Thursday that his agency and the Secretary of State's remain in talks about what to do about New Mexico Youth Organized. Changing the organization's legal status remains an option, as does backing off the advice in Lama's letter, he said.

"We are making sure that all our information is correct," Sisnerso said.
It is unclear why Lama sent the letter out.

When asked how much research Lama had done prior to the letter's release, Sisneros said, "You can ask him that yourself."

Sisneros, however, said that Lama could not be reached Thursday because he was on a plane.

Read the full story for yourself.

So, while these entrenched incumbents and their surrogates in the blogosphere used the letter for months to bolster their rampant hyperbole attacking the credibility of a pretty straightforward non-profit voter education campaign ...

... the A.G.'s office sat on its hands.

Why is that?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Eminent Domain: Contemporary Photography and the City

Maggie says:
Those of you who are New York-based, or due for a visit, should really make time for the current exhibition at the New York Public Library. I stumbled upon Eminent Domain: Contemporary Photography and the City last weekend and felt like I'd discovered a treasure.

Shifting Views of Public and Private Space
Last summer, public outcry forced New York City officials to reconsider regulations that might have required even the most casual of tourist-photographers to obtain a permit and $1 million in liability insurance to photograph or film in the streets of the city. A majority of the objectors felt that the proposed regulations threatened First Amendment rights to photograph in public places and amounted to a kind of privatization of public space. Similarly, people have questioned the current private/public arrangements that characterize much of modern urban redevelopment, from the proposed Columbia University expansion to Hudson Yards in Manhattan, and from Willets Point in Queens to the Atlantic Yards and Coney Island in Brooklyn.
Contention particularly surrounds the legal power of eminent domain, or the taking of private property for public use: at the core of the debate is the definition of “public use” and concern that the word “public” has become a euphemism to disguise what are essentially private investments. ....

Eminent Domain presents selections from the work of five New York–based artists who have recently created large photographic projects that take on the theme of the modern city. While none of the artists’ works specifically addresses the law of eminent domain, all of the projects deal in different ways, and to varying degrees, with the changing nature of space in New York City today.

This exhibition is great stuff for planning nerds, especially those of you as interested in issues of public space privatization as I am. This exhibition includes fantastic images of neighborhood life, a Chinatown family, and subway cars. My personal favorite was Bettina Johae's Urban Edges. On her bike, Johae explored the edges of New York's boroughs, camera and sketchbook in hand. The resulting creations are hand-drawn "re"-maps of the boroughs based on public access and accessibility. Another quiet standout was Reiner Leist's Window project, a collection of photographs taken from his window annually, pre-September 11 until now, including the blank negatives during the Trade Center collapse when he left the City.

I have so much love for beautiful public spaces that offer outstanding material open to everyone!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

V.B Price: Blessed are the rich

marjorie says...

V.B. Price elucidates further on the qualities of the rich over at the NMI today.

"One of the strangest ideas in the history of American politics is plaguing us now. It’s a sign of the times that I would even feel compelled to write about it. The idea associates whopping big lies and aggravated selfishness with piety. The problem is that this idea has sanctimoniously run this country for most of the last 30 years. I’ll put it in biblical terms, because it’s sold like a religion: Blessed are the rich, for they keep getting richer. Blessed are the super rich because they can walk all over the law. Blessed is the corporate person, soulless but legally real, for it can steamroll the rest of us."

Read V.B.'s full commentary at the NMI.

Sneaky ABQ Ride fare increase

marjorie says...

Let's call a 50 cent transfer charge what it really is: a fare increase for bus riders.

Believe it or not, there are some people who transfer multiple times a day just to get to and from work. Transfers are part of the fare.

So its disingenuous to explain this away as a transfer charge while saying the "bus fare" will remain the same.

The city cites fraud and abuse for the increase, saying that people are giving their transfers to other people who then don't have to pay, or that people are attempting to use expired transfers and being abusive to bus drivers when challenged.

Is the city suggesting the majority of their bus ridership engages in this kind of behavior?

If the handing over of transfer tickets to other passengers, by what is surely very much a minority of riders, is a problem (which is debatable) the city ought to come up with a new way of handling transfers that doesn't penalize poor people.

But I suppose you'd have to be a member of the working poor, or had to have actually taken the bus regularly at some point in your life to actually get this.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Monday, August 04, 2008

Continuing one-word posts


Too hot to think.


red herring: a definition

marjorie says...

A red herring is defined as something that draws attention away from the central issue.

If you look around, you see them everywhere.