Thursday, January 31, 2008

Action at the Roundhouse: Ethics & TIDD Reform!

marjorie says...

Good news from the Roundhouse:

The TIDD Reform Bill, HB 451, was voted out of the House Judiciary Committee 7-3. Now it goes to the House Taxation and Revenue Committee, which is chaired by Ed Sandoval. Please give his office at the Capitol a call to voice your support and urge him to schedule the bill asap: (505) 986-4420.

The Public Financing Bill, HB 564, was voted out of the Voters and Elections Committee 7-5, and now goes to the Appropriations committee. The chair of that committee is Kiki Saavedra, who you can call with support at (505) 986-4316.

The Ethics Commission Bill, HB 309, is going to be heard in the Judiciary Committee tomorrow at 1:30pm.

The State Contributions Limits Bill, SB 387, is going to be heard in Rules tomorrow at 8am.

If you can, make calls to the Committee members and voice your support of these important ethics bills. We need to keep them moving, and have only two weeks left in the session!

You can find who sits on what committee as well as contact information on www.protectnm.org, a website put together by Conservation Voters New Mexico. It requires a free registration but is a great resource. Thank you CVNM!

Latest & Greatest Evidence that Bush Is Out to Controvert Our Constitution...

Mikaela promises:
I'm not even going to harp on this, because I feel I've been shrill enough every.single.time it's been in the news, but Bush's latest Executive Signing Statement (which is nowhere to be found in our Constitution, by the way, just to be clear) excusing himself from following a law passed by Congress (this time about not using federal dollars to construct permanent military bases in Iraq. Ahem.) has to be the last straw.

I could barely even read about it, I was so insanely angry. I have to post about it here lest it never get taken up in the mainstream news.

The whole things's covered beautifully (as usual) by Dan Froomkin in the White House Watch (some formatting added & passages excerpted by me).

It's about as basic as it gets: Congress has the power of the purse. And Section 1222 of the massive defense appropriation bill enacted this week asserts that power. It reads, in its entirety:

"No funds appropriated pursuant to an authorization of appropriations in this Act may be obligated or expended for a purpose as follows:

  • "(1) To establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq.
  • "(2) To exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq."

But in another of his controversial " signing statements," President Bush on Tuesday asserted that Section 1222 ... "impose[s] requirements that could inhibit the President's ability to carry out his constitutional obligations to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, to protect national security, ... and to execute his authority as Commander in Chief."

The overall message to Congress was clear: I'm not bound by your laws.

The three ... sections Bush reserved the right to ignore are significant.

  • One mandates the establishment of a commission to investigate waste and fraud in military contracts;
  • another strengthens protections for whistle-blowers working for federal contractors;
  • a third requires the president to explain in writing each time an intelligence agency refuses to respond to a document request from the House and Senate armed services committees.

... [!]

Charles Savage [the reporter who broke the story about Bush's unprecedented use of Signing Statements to controvert the law] quotes Speaker Nancy Pelosi as saying:

"I reject the notion in his signing statement that he can pick and choose which provisions of this law to execute. . . . His job, under the Constitution, is to faithfully execute the law - every part of it - and I expect him to do just that.'"

Savage also talked to legal specialists who disagreed with the administration's legal theory.

"'Congress clearly has the authority to enact this limitation of the expenditure of funds for permanent bases in Iraq,' said Dawn Johnsen, an Indiana University law professor who was the head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel during the Clinton administration. . . ."

Said Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee: "...[T]he President vetoed an earlier version of this Act, which contained the same specific provisions that he singled out in his signing statement yesterday. The President did not choose to exercise his veto over these provisions, and as a result they have not changed in any way whatsoever in the version of the bill he chose to sign. With his signature these provisions become the law of the land. Congress and the American people have a right to expect that the Administration will now faithfully carry them out."

Can Congress please do one of two things?

  1. Impeach his ass for violating our constitution and his oath to execute the laws of this land (which are written by Congress!!!), along with his power-grabbing VP, OR
  2. At the very least, send this jackass to a mandatory civics class? I know he famously got a C in the subject from ... Yale, was it? But it's far past the time for him to pick up on this little thing called "Balance of Powers" and actually read what powers he does NOT have, based on our Constitution.
How much longer can our "democracy" continue under a dictator in all but name?

And if you think that the danger will have passed come Inaugration Day a YEAR FROM NOW, think again. These are now precedented unprecedented powers, and all future presidents will be tempted to use them. These unchecked powers must be checked NOW and for all time.

And that's all I have to say about that.*

[*Except that I really wish Congress would choose Option 1 above. Please?]

Horse's Mouth: The Presidential Race Comes to NM

Mikaela asks:
Loved that Ted Kennedy endorsement of Obama? Want to hear for yourself just how strident Clinton's getting in efforts to hoist his wife on his own Presidential petard?

This is your lucky week.

As gathered from NMFBIHOP via Daily Kos:

Ted Kennedy in Albuquerque and Santa Fe

Thursday (TODAY), Senator Ted Kennedy will be in New Mexico to stump for Obama, and will probably promote Obama's stop the next day.
From the New Mexico for Obama website:

Tomorrow Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) will host "Change We Can Believe In" community gatherings in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Senator Kennedy will discuss with New Mexico voters why Barack Obama is the only candidate who can bring change we can believe in.

Kennedy will be at Albuquerque's National Hispanic Cultural Center. The doors open at 9:30 am, the program begins at 10:00 am.

Kennedy will make his way up I-25 for a 1:00 program at Santa Fe Community College's Jemez Room One.


Bill Clinton Rally in Albuquerque, Fundraiser in Santa Fe

Details of the Bill Clinton event come from this post.

if you're around the University area in Albuquerque on Thursday, you have a chance to catch former President Bill Clinton. The former President will be at the Johnson Center on the UNM campus at 2:00 pm on Thursday (previously scheduled for 3:00 pm but moved). The event, billed as a "Solutions for America" event is hosted by New Mexico for Hillary and is open to the public.

Afterwards, Bill Clinton will head up I-25 for a high-dollar fundraiser. Now that Bill Richardson is out of the way, wealthy Democrats in New Mexico are more willing to shell out money to other campaigns. You can meet former President Clinton for the low, low price of $2300 at the home of Beth and Stephen Moise.


Barack Obama in Albuquerque and Santa Fe

Senator Barack Obama will be in New Mexico Friday, visiting both Albuquerque and Santa Fe. From the New Mexico for Obama site:

We are excited to announce that Senator Barack Obama will be visiting New Mexico this Friday, February 1st.Barack will be hosting an Economic Summit at the Albuquerque Convention Center, and he will be holding a special rally in the Witter Fitness Center Gymnasium at the Santa Fe Community College.

Obama will be at the Kiva Auditorium in Albuquerque at 11:30 am. You need a free ticket to get in, and you an sign up for one at the link above.

In Santa Fe, Obama will be at the Witter Fitness Center Gymnasium at the Santa Fe Community College. Again, a ticket is needed and, again, you can get one at the website. The doors open at 5:00, and the program begins at 6:45.


Hillary In Albuquerque on Saturday? Chelsea in Las Cruces?

Since these are only rumors, I put this at the bottom. Not some sorta anti-Hillary conspiracy.

Two prevalent rumors that are just that at this point -- rumors -- say that Hillary Clinton will stop into Albuquerque on Saturday for a rally and that her daughter, Chelsea, will head down to Las Cruces on the same day.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Creative Class Activists aka The Net Roots shift to Obama

marjorie says...

Wait, aren't we "the progressives"? I thought that was our moniker these days. But apparently, we're "the creative class activists." Matt Stoller clarifies further in his piece when he then refers to us as the "netroots," maybe a better way to distinguish online left-of-center activists from the murkier "progressive" word, which seems to be claimed by a quite large group of people (I'm thinking I might just go back permanently to "radical" myself). I love this for the blatant attempt at branding that it is. If we're the "creative class activists," does this mean that there are no Republican or more conservative members of the "creative class"? And what is so wrong with the word "liberal" anyway?

On to more substance, in his blog Stoller is actually pointing to a fascinating straw poll on Daily Kos. Maggie, I couldn't help but think of you when I saw it.

Here is todays straw poll, in light of Edwards dropping out.

And here is the straw poll from last week, when Edwards was still in.

Just look at those results. Wow!

Clearly there is a divide happening in a major way among Democrats, because Hillary is very much in the game. Establishment Dems, and perhaps an older set of Dems in general, are going with Hillary. Young, activist Dems who are so prevalent in the blogosphere are going with Obama. There is a lot to think about here, without a doubt.

ps. Just in case you all were wondering, I voted for Hillary in both straw polls, mainly to be ornery. I often do that in straw polls, sorry. But also, in truth, I wanted to see how that felt. Plus, you know, maybe I'm just not completely "creative class" yet to see the clear light of day.

Presidential Libraries in the News

Mikaela says:
I talked a year ago about the initial grassroots balking about Southern Methodist University becoming home to the Bush presidential library. Well, it's heating up. Look at how classic this is:

(from Democracy Now)

Methodists Want Delegates to Vote on Bush Presidential Library

A group of Methodists across the country have launched a new effort to stop President Bush from establishing his presidential library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Opponents say the library should be voted on by hundreds of delegates at a conference of the regional jurisdiction that owns the school. But school officials say they can ignore the delegate vote because they already have approval of a ten-person board. Officials with President Bush’s foundation including his brother Marvin Bush have said the library would further the goals of the Bush White House and would be answerable only to the foundation—not the university. Opponents say they’ve already collected more than eleven thousand signatures against the library and have the support of around thirty-five percent of the delegate vote.

Coupled with the discussion from the Frank Rich editorial Maggie cited that mentions the Clinton presidential library secrecy debacle, you've got a helluva NON-endorsement of presidential libraries. If Clinton is using his as a fortress to PROTECT his information from journalists, historians, and ... well ... muckrakers out to attach Hillary, then you can just imagine what Bush's library will be like. We're talking a vault on par w/ a nuclear warhead silo: closed until it's needed to wipe out some trumped up threat.

Danger, danger.! I think a much better idea, for all the reasons none of these recent presidents would support it, is to put those papers in a federal facility, although as we know, even that's subject to tampering. Still, it's a safer bet than privatizing our shared American history, no matter what President's name is on it. The presidential seal should not represent the power to lock documents away and throw out the key.

Just think of everything Bush & Co. have worked to suppress while President. A presidential library will keep that information under his control forever. In a democracy built on the public's right and need to make informed decisions, it's criminal.

Time to re-align

Maggie laments:
Now that John Edwards is officially leaving the race, it's time to re-align my political stars. Since my top candidate is now gone, is this the push I've been needing to get excited about Obama? Maybe. I need to learn more, and honestly I wish Obama would give us more to work with. So in the meantime, I'll focus on the huge symbolism of an Obama presidency, on the Democratic establishment losing in the face of a candidate who represents hope, change, and youth, and mostly on a general election that we should not and cannot lose, no matter their candidate.

Super Tuesday in less than a week. Pins and needles for the next six days...

And to John Edwards: Thanks for a wonderful run. Your focus on issues, your capacity to understand the fallout of irresponsible trade deals, your willingness to make the tough choices and outrage the establishment, and your ability to see the thread that links various elements of poverty and injustice, are your legacy here. I hope your next step is an exciting one, one that carries forward these elements of your campaign, because they're the stuff real progress is made of.

Onward.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Reforming the TIDD Gravy Train...Make that call!

marjorie says...

While we're debating presidential elections and hashing the movies, the State Legislative Session is in full swing and many New Mexicans are only thinking about the many issues currently being debated at the Roundhouse. One of them is particularly dear to my heart (see maggie, I have those sorts of things also. Tax policy gets me every time!).

Today House Bill 451 is being heard in the House Judiciary Committee at 1:30pm. HB 451 is a bill that would reform the state TIDD legislation, which is the original opening of what can only be considered a Pandora’s box of massive tax subsidies to large corporations.

Please call members of the Judiciary committee this morning and ask them to support the bill, the details of which you can find on SWOPblogger.

HB 451 doesn’t do away with TIDDs, but it does lower the allowable percentage considerably, and it attaches accountability measures to TIDDs given in Greenfields. In this sense, it represents compromise. A lot has been written about TIDDs in the past year, both here and elsewhere. Those who are critical of these massive tax give-aways are often portrayed by TIDD proponents as unreasonable. But in fact, I can attest to a complete unwillingness to compromise on the part of the development community during negotiations with Councilor Cadigan to amend the City legislation last year. Their recalcitrance aside, there needs to be more oversight and accountability built into the legislation, at the very least.

And thats one thing HB 451 does at the state level. The truth is that as currently constructed, the state legislation allows a tremendous drain on the general fund, which is a major source of funding for social services and education throughout the state. We can't afford to leave it the way it is, allowing up to 70% of GRT diversion with few controls in place on the back end.

Luckily, there are already a lot of Representatives who agree. I was surprised by how many signatures were scrawled on the Bill…at least 20 had signed right off the bat. I hope you all will call the committee members today, and in the coming week as needed, and encourage the rest of our legislators to take a serious look and support this bill.

The members of the House Judiciary Committee are:

Rep. Al Park (D) Chair
Rep. Joseph Cervantes (D) Vice Chair
Rep. Elias Barela- SPONSOR (D) Member
Rep. Gail Chasey - Co-signer (D) Member
Rep. Daniel R. Foley (R) Member
Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas (D) Member
Rep. W. Ken Martinez (D) Member
Rep. William "Bill" R. Rehm (R) Member
Rep. Mimi Stewart (D) Member
Rep. Thomas E. Swisstack (D) Member
Rep. Gloria C. Vaughn (R) Member
Rep. Eric A. Youngberg (R) Member
Rep. Teresa A. Zanetti (R) Member

You can find their contact information here: http://legis.state.nm.us/lcs/legislatorsearch.asp.


ps You might think the title of this post only refers to TIDDs, but in fact, TIDDs are just one part of the massive New Mexico gravy train. A local expert told me the other day that almost 50% of our tax code is frittered away through tax credits, and he also said that once passed, a tax credit might as well be considered permanent because they are never revisited. Want some dough? Get yourself a tax credit!

My Perfect Storm

Mikaela says:
Forget politics! What does the leader of the free world have next to the power of one bodiless voice that has changed my life through ... storytelling?

Okay, don't answer that.

But here's why I'm suddenly in a good mood today (although, okay, I admit I actually choked up watching Caroline Kennedy endorse Obama, even though my stone-hearted self kicked back in watching Ted Kennedy, who ... never had me, even at "hope").

I went to my favorite kid-in-the-candy-store (Freudian typo - I just wrote "story") website, This American Life, and what did I see? Not one but TWO things that made my day. Damn. Wish I had seen them one day at a time to space out my joy. Then it coulda made my WEEK.

But I digress.

Okay, Thing 1:

This American Life is considering putting together one of those weird movie theatre satellite live show things. You know, like they did for Mozart's Magic Flute or something? I missed it, and kicked myself for not having heard of it in time to sit my ass in an Albuquerque theatre and hear really good opera in a cultural vortex, so to speak (ha ha).

I'm sorry, but that is too cool. It's already cool that This American Life boasts one of the largest radio audiences -- 1.7 million listeners a week, but how cool is it to bring them together in every community across America? COOL, right? As a big ole community lover, I am beside myself.

If you, too, are pretty excited by this idea, you can tell them so through a very short online survey.

Want TAL to Come to a Movie Theater Near You? Take a Quick Survey!

Okay, Thing 2:
Next week's show is called "Tough Room" and it features a story from ... oh my do I wish for a drumroll here! ...

The Onion "newsroom."

Yes, that's right. It's happened. My perfect storm. This American Life. The Onion. The only thing that could be better is if they happened to interview the girls from Threadbared and the Albuquerque's own Pajama Men. And let's face it, I would die of bliss, and I'm not ready to go, so I'm very satisfied that it's just the Onion and Ira. My upbeat lifeboats, keeping my spirits floating and my hand clamped firmly over my mouth to keep from laughing out loud at a very, very quiet and serious office (with half-wall cubicles).

Wait a minute, wait a minute! Does this have anything to do with the Onion's spoof on This American Life, which Ira said really hurt his feelings? I guess they worked it out, or maybe the Onion realized its own lack of diversity of stories (although it does better w/ class if not race).

Wait a minute, WHO CARES??? Not me! I am blissful, finally.

Ahhhh... Except that I have to wait until next week to hear the show!

The Fluttering Liberal Heart

marjorie says...

This is enough to make a liberal heart flutter. Change is in the air! Hope!

But maybe not a radical heart.

Sigh.

Those of you have read this blog over the years will recognize my reaction...I'm probably pretty predictable. When it comes to presidential races I tend to check out, I'm quite the cynic about anyone who runs, and simply want whoever the Democrat is to win so that he (or she...ha!) will bring the rest of the crew with them. I know this is a lame reaction, that the president has an enormous amount of power, that its an important decision, and that I should be more engaged.

Paul Krugman is right on the money in the column Maggie referenced in the comments. The Clinton's were viciously attacked in the 90s, and I really don't think it's fair to talk about what a disappointment they were without pointing that out. Remember Kenneth Starr? It was truly sickening, and really showed the difference between R's and D's. It got to a point in which Clinton simply could do very little (of course, doing very little would have been a lot better than moving to the right).

And Krugman is right about the excitement among many liberals about Obama being a lot like Bill Clinton was in '92, for me anyway. We don't know all that much about him, and there's a lot of hope that he'll change things if he gets to the White House. I remember when Bill Clinton won, it was very exciting. I was quite energized by it, having grown up in the 80s during the Reagan heyday, in a pretty conservative environment. I always knew I was a Democrat. But Bill was a huge disappointment in many ways. I almost wrote a blog laying out the reasons, but why waste my time?

Would Hillary be just as bad? Probably. Would Obama? Maybe. Like Bill in '92, there is really no way to know.

I may get energized and write a comparison of the two in the next week, but don't hold your breath. I'm just going to go vote, and I'm probably not going to tell any of you who I'm voting for. It will most likely be based in things other than policy questions...since those are virtually the same for both of them.

In the end, the nastiest fight is going to come with the Republicans. They're either going to attack Hillary for being a strong woman, or they're going to attack Obama for being a black man. There aren't other reasons for their dislike. And we need to be ready for it.

Happy Birthday, Erik!

We wish our pal Erik from Alterdestiny a very happy birthday today. Erik, by the way, just wrote himself the best birthday post ever:

Exactly 365 days ago, I proclaimed this to be the Christ Year. I turned 33. I fully expected someone to crucify. In fact, I challenged people to do it. I hoped to establish myself as a spiritual leader in much the same way as Jesus Christ. I was sure that someone would betray me to the authorities for approximately 30 pieces of silver, or whatever that translates to in U.S. dollars. However, the decline of the dollar made such an activity not worth the time of my friends or my vast numbers of enemies.

Today, I turn 34. I survived the Christ Year. Does this mean I am not a world spiritual leader? No.

We love the White Buddha here at m-pyre. And to you, Erik, we offer a birthday cake, appropriately red, white, and blue, for the patriot that you are. (I hope it doesn't hurt your chances to be named one of America's most dangerous college professors.)


Much love!

Monday, January 28, 2008

mmm...Things that (almost) kill me

marjorie says...




"Let's make some pillows!
Or how about some Christmas Ornaments!?!"

Clinton nausea

Maggie says:
I've had a knot in my stomach about the Clintons for the last couple of weeks. Hillary's win in Nevada made me realize it existed at that size, she and Bill's tactics on the campaign trail made it grow even bigger, happening upon the Clinton years with Howard Zinn in the car hardened it, and my queasy state every time I see one of them on camera lately only confirms what I've been suspecting all along: I have major Clinton nausea.

I can barely talk about them right now. (Ask Trevor, who innocently tried to start a Clinton conversation while we were grocery shopping the other night.) I can barely write about them here, and certainly don't have the wherewithal to construct a solid "why not" piece. What's changed for me is Bill's sudden front-and-center status in the campaign. Before, I was better able to isolate Hillary and try to support her as a woman, even though I've never been planning on voting for her in a primary. But now, Bill's right there in everyone's faces, and I can't separate them at all, and so it becomes both of them running in my head, which changes the game for me.

Here's what I don't want in the general election:

  • A campaign that's tougher than it should be. This election should be a home run given the disastrous Bush ratings. Why don't we put up a candidate who won't provoke such visceral reactions from folks? Do I really want to spend yet another Election Night tearing my hair out and waking up with the worst "Oh my God, is it true?" feeling possible? No. I'd like to smile on Election Night. I'd like to wake up smiling. Dammit, we deserve to smile. There's too much at stake, and this one is ours to win, and I don't want to go through another election from hell.
  • The '90s. Let's talk now, 2008. I don't to hear about Clinton scandals. I don't want to recall bit players and old dramas. I just don't. I want to move forward, into a new era of policymaking and into a new way of thinking. To me, that's fundamentally impossible with the Clintons.
Here's what I want from the next president:
  • Real positions. I want someone with a clear ideology who will be elected on those ideas and will govern by those ideas. I want no part of the Clintons' politicking-by-polling. I don't want pandering to the right that takes zero risk and gives the other side what they want as a starting point. I don't want a selling-out of liberal ideals and the gall to proclaim it was the best we could get, that our values are still represented. At this point we cannot risk any more madness - I don't buy the argument that we have nothing to worry about because of a Democratic Congress. If that's the case, then I really want someone who'll fight the right fights and enact the best policy possible. That is never going to happen within the politics of triangulation. When I think about some of the policies that came out of the Clinton White House, I want to strangle someone. I want no part of that in the future.
  • Hope. Yes, this is cheesy. But I mean it. How can we carry forward a political legacy of change if we continue to drag our feet with bygone politics and outdated ways of thinking? I want freshness, and I want to move forward. That is absolutely impossible with these two in the White House again.
For the record, I'm not saying that Barack Obama has the answers, either. His rhetoric is beautiful, but his positioning is vague. He represents many of the same corporate interests that the Clintons do. I'd still be voting for John Edwards if I were a Super Tuesday voter. (Although if state polling showed Clinton might win, maybe I'd go Obama after all, I don't know...) But given the choice between Obama and Clinton, that choice has become strikingly clear over the last couple of weeks. At this point, I'd rather vote for a hopeful lack of specifics than a depressing rehash of progressive selling-out.

For better, less heated thinking:
  • Frank Rich's Sunday NY Times piece NAILED the case against the Clintons. "The Billary Road to Republican Victory" lays out why both Clintons are back in play now, and how disastrous that would be in the general election, especially if McCain is the candidate. "Any Democrat who seriously thinks that Bill will fade away if Hillary wins the nomination — let alone that the Clintons will escape being fully vetted — is a Democrat who, as the man said, believes in fairy tales."
  • Salon revisits the context of Toni Morrison's original reference to Clinton as the nation's "first black president." Morrison, who endorsed Obama today (as did Ted Kennedy), wasn't being celebratory in the piece where she wrote that phrase... she was talking about Ken Starr and the "guilty until proven innocent" mindset of the times. Says Salon: "'Black' isn't a cute moniker, a stylish accoutrement, nor a 'down-home' way of speaking. An actual black man now stands before the nation, making the case for why he thinks he is the best choice for president."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Democrats on Poverty

marjorie says...

Want to know more about the differences between Obama, Clinton and Edwards when it comes to tackling poverty? Check out this issue of Pathways, a new magazine produced by Stanford's Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality. I recommend a full read-through, but if you're pressed for time you can also check out the summary that LaToya Peterson already did for us here.

I was surprised that John Edwards didn't mention health care in his plan. Both Clinton and Obama give it the important place it deserves in any discussion about poverty. On the other hand, Edwards does emphasize the importance of labor, making the comment that organized labor is the greatest anti-poverty movement in American history.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

AMC Theaters to Screen Best Picture Nom Marathon

Maggie reports:
For all you hardcore moviegoers out there, doesn't this sound like fun?


Sat, Feb 23 (Day Before the Oscars)
AMC Movie Theaters

Screening of ALL FIVE Best Picture Nominees!!

Michael Clayton, 11:00 a.m.
There Will Be Blood, 1:20 p.m.
Atonement, 4:20 p.m.
Juno, 7:00 p.m.
No Country for Old Men, 9:00 p.m.

All-day pass $30, plus unlimited popcorn!

Press release (and list of participating theaters) here.


Now here's the catch. Here in Dallas, I'm safe, but New Mexicans are not so lucky. Despite the fact that two of this year's nominees were filmed in New Mexico, the offer doesn't extend to you because there aren't any AMC theaters in the state. Who's going to lead the charge to, say, Cinemark Theaters to offer the same package in Albuquerque? Someone with film connections maybe, someone who has a bit of a media soapbox? Hmmm....

Calling Gene Grant!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Spotted in Dallas

Maggie spies:


At last night's Stars game, with icy sleet pounding the streets outside, there were two guys passing out flyers inside, wearing:

  • Cowboy boots
  • Tight, flared jeans
  • White cowboy hats
  • EXTREMELY tight white t-shirts with "Dallas Cowboy Tan" printed across their chests in orange letters
And yet... they were very pale. Huh.

So in case you're dying to know, there is an organization responsible for All Things Tan in Dallas! It's Planet Tan, "the official Tanning Center for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and the Dallas Mavericks Dancers!" Whoop-ee!

So... why'd they send out these two jokers instead of cheerleader types? Especially to a sports venue?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Rachel Corrie Play @ Out ch'YondA

Mikaela reposts:

MY NAME IS RACHEL CORRIE
Sat. & Sun. FEBRUARY 16-17, 2008, 2 p.m. only
Out ch'YondA in Barelas
929 Fourth St. SW
Tickets $20
Reservations and info: www.RachelABQ.com or call 505-350-1276.
Denver-based political theatre collective, Countdown to Zero, in partnership
with Justice First!, announces the premier New Mexico production of My Name Is
Rachel Corrie, the highly controversial play, in a limited run at the Out
ch'YondA Art Space.

The play was created from the personal journal entries, emails, and writings of the young activist Rachel
Corrie after her death in 2003 while trying to stop an Israeli bulldozer in a
Palestinian residential area in Gaza. An idealistic, curious, and passionate
young woman is presented as she explores her personal world as well as that of
the complex world of Middle Eastern politics.

After a critically-acclaimed run in Denver, Countdown to Zero's production will
run for two performances only, Saturday, February 16, 2:00PM, and Sunday,
February 17, at 2:00 PM.

This play was chosen as an artistic vehicle for community conversation. After both performances, post-show discussions will be
offered in order to address the issues raised in the play and to encourage fair
and honest conversation and reflection.
  • Out ch’YondA Live Arts exists in the margins for folks who need and want to do art “by any means necessary.” It is a nurturing and creative environment for those who dwell on the edges of our society.
  • Countdown to Zero is a political theatre collective dedicated to theatrical based political dialogue. It aims to expand community exchange locally and nationally in a time of charged political extremes.
  • Justice First! advocates diplomacy based on international and humanitarian law as the best hope for peace.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wondering Why This January? Do your Star Check. (And I'm not talking about the Oscar red carpet, either)

Mikaela says:
Belatedly, Eric Francis has your answers to explain just what's going on for m-pyre girls this month...

Aries (March 20-April 19)
RECENTLY, IT SEEMS you had the truth handed to you. What did you do with it? Do you still have it? While many on this planet complain that the truth is not knowable, or is a kind of fictional philosophical concept and not a provable reality, the problem involves how we respond once we encounter it. This peculiar function of the mind, known as denial, makes sure that we are usually out of contact with our most vital knowledge. You can afford no such luxury at this point. The reason for this is that you are gathering too much power to cut yourself off from your personal truth, or any other truth. Much of the past decade has taken you on a prolonged journey where you have seen many strange things, encountered a world bigger than you ever imagined, and endured several difficult tests of your mettle. You have wrestled with your conscience (and, likely, that of someone else). At times, you have prevailed in these tests of integrity and at other times, events have seemed to crush your preconceived ideas. You are now in a well-deserved phase of reconsidering what you have been through, and the decisions you make through the winter will be absolutely essential in determining your life path for an entire long phase of your life. So tell me, now that you know this, can you afford to play any games with what you know? I don't think so, particularly not since all the forces of the universe are conspiring to focus your power. The whole problem with power in this world is that it does not care much for the difference between right and wrong. Most people in a position to conduct themselves this way -- and to some extent, that includes anyone privileged enough to be reading this horoscope -- have granted themselves an exemption from karma. You have no such luxury now, and neither do you want it. You have responsibilities that are much more worthwhile.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
THE FUNNY THING about you is, you move in cycles, but the cycles are predictable, and you keep coming around to the same basic place of honoring your commitments. It took you a while to learn to trust yourself in this process: to mean it when you say, I'll be back in the future to take care of this; this is what I intend to get done by this date, or whatever the commitment may entail. The breakthrough came when you discovered that your track record supported the meaning of your words, rather than the words being a promise of speculated future action. If those who doubt you knew how seriously you take your commitments, they would be compelled to question their own integrity, and rightly so. The issue with the world right now is that despite much talk about walking one's talk, most people don't vaguely question their integrity except for the occasional panic attack; and that does not qualify as a thoughtful review. There is a do-or-die feeling to your sense of truth and justice right now. This is less about an obligation and more about a sacred trust you have with the universe. While you don't want to send out a press release saying that you are the arbiter of cosmic obligation, you must have figured out that you get yourself into that role all the time, and by the time five o'clock rolls around everyone has done pretty well. So, own this power and put it to work -- and make sure it works for you, too. Your second breakthrough has been about defining yourself as someone who has given up their prior concept of limits. This does not happen overnight, but you are seeing that your prior ceiling made of transparent aluminum is now more like the clear sky. Once again, this is not a matter of speculation, but rather of experience. And what it boils down to is that for you, the world is a very different place.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
SATURN will be in your birth sign for the next two years, and everyone born under the sign Virgo will have this meaningful planet conjoin their natal Sun. This is one of the key life transits, and it can happen at any age; it is happening to you now or in the immediate future. In a personal chart, the theme is about fundamentally coming to terms with yourself. If it portends change, that change is about getting relief from nervousness and instability, and calling your life into focus. It is about having the confidence and substance to stand up to the world, which is so rare to find. Finally, this transit is about finding the ability to go deeper into yourself, your ideas and your sense of existence. These things have life on more than the level of thought or concept. Ideas are powerful, yet this transit indicates one of two things. Either you have reached a point of maturity that you have been working toward for a long time; or you are being compelled to do so whether you like it or not. To the extent you have noticed that you are fundamentally passive, Saturn will compel you to take an active role in your life and in your relationships. To the extent that you understand that authority is something we embody or we don't grow, you will be granted enormous assistance in taking on your true role in the world. This is always what we must do with Saturn: embody it fully, if not compassionately. In doing so, we take away the authority that others seem to hold over us, whoever they may be. In ordering our lives, we liberate the energy we need to persist in our creative work and our service to the world. You are, by nature, a sober and sensible individual. You understand that life is an opportunity and a profound responsibility, only magnified by our commitments to others. Be grateful for every day of these two years that Saturn is with you.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Do I Exist?

marjorie says...

In Hollywood...Barely, thanks to Atonement and Juno.

People of Color certainly don't.

Here's the breakdown for the big Oscar prizes. I simply took the first 10 Actors in IMDB for each movie, plus the Director. And then decided to include the Screenplay category. Would love to see the race of each actor if someone has the time, but something tells me its overwhelmingly Anglo. Click on it to read it better...I'm technically challenged when it comes to making these types of things for the internet.


Hillary Support

marjorie says...

Reading the New Mexico analysis leading up to February 5th, I'm struck by comments that Hillary Clinton has a base of support here. Why would she have a base of support in New Mexico? I forget the 90s sometimes actually, when I'm thinking about Hillary. Or I think of the 90s in terms of how Hillary's politics have seemed to shift to the right. The analysts say that Hillary has strong support among Hispanics, but that Anglo liberals will go for Obama. Well, that tells you a lot...Anglo liberals may be voting based on race, or they may actually be voting based on politics, and Hillary isn't really considered much of a liberal these days. But back to that bit about her having a base of support. We all like to talk about how many people in this country can't stand Hillary. But for me, those people are the freaking right-wing that attacked her relentlessly from 1992 onward. And yeah, I was always on her side, through all of that. Thinking about it now, I can still get angry.

Oscar! Oscar! Oscar!

Maggie says:
The big awards show is in major jeopardy due to the writer's strike, but I'm giddy about these awards nonetheless. Watching live like the movie nerd I am, I bring you this morning's nominations, along with my thoughts/confessions/additions.

Best Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett (I'm Not There), Ruby Dee (American Gangster), Saoirse Ronan (Atonement), Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone), Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)
This category kills me, because I still haven't seen Michael Clayton or Gone Baby Gone. But everyone who's seen I'm Not There comes away mesmerized by Cate Blanchett, and knows why she's a shoo-in for this one. She's just amazing, always.

Best Supporting Actor
Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James), Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson's War), Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild), Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton)
What a year for supporting actors! Javier Bardem is the scariest villain imaginable in No Country (and, um, yeah). Phillip Seymour Hoffman was just brilliant in Charlie Wilson's War. I haven't seen either of the other three - I hear good things about Affleck (in this and Gone Baby Gone), I hear raves about Holbrook but I'm not into this film, and I've never seen Tom Wilkinson and not thought he was fantastic. There's no way this award isn't going to Javier Bardem. I loved so many supporting actors this year, though... both Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin were fantastic in No Country alongside Bardem. Paul Dano was creepily effective in Blood. Little Marcus Carl Franklin stays with you from I'm Not There, right on par with Cate Blanchett. And my beloved, sweet-dry-funny-understated Michael Cera, was fantastic in Superbad and Juno.

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth: The Golden Age), Julie Christie (Away from Her), Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose), Laura Linney (The Savages), Ellen Page (Juno)
Yay for Ellen Page's nomination! So exciting for her. I never got around to seeing Elizabeth, but I think Netflix will have it pre-Oscar. She's always amazing. I have Away from Her on the shelf to watch Julie Christie, and we just watched La Vie en Rose. Wow. Marion Cotillard completely loses herself into the role of Edith Piaf, and it's amazing to watch. I can't tell you how remarkable it is to see how Marion Cotillard looks in real life, watch her portray Edith Piaf, and then see pictures and footage of the actual Edith Piaf. It's just unbelievable. As for Laura Linney... she's her brilliant self in The Savages, but I'm not sure I see that role as a clincher. I've gotta watch Away from Her and get back to you all on this one, but right now, I can't deny what Marion Cotillard accomplished with La Vie en Rose.

Best Actor
George Clooney (Michael Clayton), Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood), Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd), Tommy Lee Jones (In the Valley of Elah), Viggo Mortenson (Eastern Promises)
I'm getting increasingly annoyed at myself for not seeing Michael Clayton... I hear Clooney is fantastic, and I love Clooney, so why didn't I get my act together for this one? I have Eastern Promises sitting on the shelf to watch this week, but there's no getting around Daniel Day-Lewis' monster performance in Blood this year. Just a monster in that role. It's him, hands down. One of my favorite acting performances of the year is never going to see an Oscar stage, though - it's Samuel L. Jackson in Black Snake Moan. Oh man.

Best Director
Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), Jason Reitman (Juno), Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton), Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men), Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood)
This category is a way to honor Schnabel, who's only in the Screenplay category elsewhere. I love the Coen Brothers, always, but I reallllllly love what Paul Thomas Anderson did with Blood. I remember reading a review that said, "Finally, Paul Thomas Anderson has a theme," and I agree. He does these enormous, strange pieces that float around a bit too much for folks - his films can be as unanchored as those infamous frogs at the end of Magnolia. Yet here we have a tight plot and setting, only a few characters, and some strong themes... and he pulls it off beautifully. So for me, I think it's Anderson this year. (Fantasy pick: the crazily brilliant Craig Brewer, who has a small but intense fan club and floored me with Black Snake Moan this year.) (Vindictive girl moment: Maybe if Sean Penn hadn't done something terrible to Robin Wright Penn - because we know she's not at fault! - his karma would've warranted a nod here? Hmmm....)

Best Original Screenplay
Juno, Lars and the Real Girl, Michael Clayton, Ratatouille, The Savages
I'm loving Juno this year in a big way, and Diablo Cody has the kind of made-for-Oscar story that voters love. I was impressed with The Savages, but it's Juno all the way for me. I'm also imagining what's not here: the poignance of nominating the late Adrienne Shelley for Waitress, and recognizing the comedic brilliance of Superbad and the innovative genius of I'm Not There... but oh well.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Atonement, Away From Her, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood
Strong category... Gotta see Away and Diving, but I think both No Country and Blood were amazing. Eek! I don't know! You know, I actually feel like Charlie Wilson's War got a little bit shafted here, despite my misgivings about its messaging. And my tempered enthusiasm for Atonement precisely mirrors my tempered enthusiasm for the book; I thought many scenes were actually better executed on film than in print, so to me it's a strong adaptation. But it's the year of No Country and Blood for me, what can I say?!

Best Foreign Language Film
Beaufort, The Counterfeiters, Katyn, Mongol, 12
I haven't seen any of these! Bad, bad me. I wish Once was here, though... but was it released too early?

Best Animated Picture
Persepolis, Ratatouille, Surf's Up
I'm dying to see Persepolis, which looks incredibly fresh and original, but hasn't opened here yet. In the meantime, you know I love Ratatouille.

Best Documentary
No End in Sight, Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, Sicko, Taxi to the Dark Side, War/Dance
I haven't seen any of these yet, but I have No End in Sight and Sicko lined up in the queue, so I'll get back to you. But, ummm, what about Crazy Love? Guess it didn't make it given the political/war theme we have here. And I thought insane relationships were always in fashion!

Best Picture
Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood
I feel like this year we have five shoo-in films for Best Picture - this is the exact lineup I predicted the other night. And Michael Clayton is truly the one that got away for me this year. I love that Juno was nominated here, and I don't think that voters will be swayed by Atonement the way they were at the Globes. This one, to me, is all about No Country versus Blood. How funny that I love these two films in which women are virtually nonexistent. I think Blood is the bigger, showier picture - more of an Oscar picture. It has the kind of ending that makes for viewer satisfaction. No Country is bleaker, more elusive, more about the negative space than what's shown. They're interesting contrasts for me, and I'm fascinated to see how this plays out. (They were tied with eight nominations each, by the way.)

PS: Check out the full list of nominations - La Vie en Rose has gotta win for makeup given the unbelievable transformation of Marion Cotillard into Edith Piaf, for example - at Oscars.com.

Update: Netflix just reported that Michael Clayton will be ready to ship Feb 19, just in time for the Feb 24 awards ceremony! I'll also be able to see Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Gone Baby Gone, and The Assassination of Jesse James by then, although I may hold on Jesse. There is Disk 2 of Flight of the Conchords to watch, after all...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Gee's Bend women weren't just making quilts


marjorie says...

Thanks to Oprah's MLK special today, I found out that in the 1960's the community of Gee's Bend became more isolated from the world than it already was due to civil rights movement. You can read about it here on Oprah's website.

Gee's Bend is a small African American community, surrounded on water by three sides, that had always depended on a ferry boat to get across to the larger town of Camden, for food, medicine, education, etc. The esteemed leaders of Camden shut the ferry down to keep them away when the civil rights marches started...and apparently they didn't restore it for 30 some odd years. The only way to then get to Camden was a one-hour car ride, and not everyone had a car.

Little did the white folks in Camden know that they were further isolating the women who were, every day, making the premier folk art of the 20th century. I don't think my opinion when I say their quilts warrant that designation is sheer bias, either. Here's a page I like a lot.

If you find these quilts interesting, you might want to check out the exhibit that is currently at the International Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe.

Happy Martin Luther King Day




and MLK speaks to Love, Struggle and Resistance:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

"Getting Over Hillary Winning Nevada" Chard

Maggie says:
So the Democratic race has become surprisingly emotional for me, given my instant bad mood yesterday upon hearing that Hillary won Nevada. I didn't expect to have such a negative reaction. So with all of you, I look away from state wins and toward the delegate counts, which are neck-and-neck Hillary and Barack. (But that said, Obama's gotta win SC next week for momentum and media spin's sake.)

I whipped up this chard tonight to get over the bad political taste in my mouth. With a chicken roasted with root vegetables, it was the perfect winter meal for primary season. After all, these days, we need all the comfort we can get.

Maggie's "Getting Over Hillary Winning Nevada" Chard
  • 1/2 large onion, sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
  • 2 pounds Swiss chard, center ribs discarded and leaves roughly torn
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds with skins
Cook onion with 1/4 teaspoon salt in 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy pot over medium heat, stirring, until softened. Sprinkle with paprika and give the onions several stirs. Add all the chard and cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, then add raisins and water. Cook, half-covered, stirring occasionally, until chard is tender, about 7 minutes. Season with salt.

Cook almonds in remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil in a small heavy skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle almonds over chard, give a stir, and YUM!

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Simple Truth - Philip Levine

Mikaela reposts from The Simple Truth:

I bought a dollar and a half's worth of small red potatoes,
took them home, boiled them in their jackets
and ate them for dinner with a little butter and salt.
....
The woman who sold me
the potatoes was from Poland; she was someone
out of my childhood in a pink spangled sweater and sunglasses
praising the perfection of all her fruits and vegetables
at the road-side stand and urging me to taste
even the pale, raw sweet corn trucked all the way,
she swore, from New Jersey. "Eat, eat" she said,
"Even if you don't I'll say you did."

Some things
you know all your life. They are so simple and true
they must be said without elegance, meter and rhyme,
they must be laid on the table beside the salt shaker,
the glass of water, the absence of light gathering
in the shadows of picture frames, they must be
naked and alone, they must stand for themselves.
My friend Henri and I arrived at this together in 1965
before I went away, before he began to kill himself,
and the two of us to betray our love. Can you taste
what I'm saying? It is onions or potatoes, a pinch
of simple salt, the wealth of melting butter, it is obvious,
it stays in the back of your throat like a truth
you never uttered because the time was always wrong,
it stays there for the rest of your life, unspoken,
made of that dirt we call earth, the metal we call salt,
in a form we have no words for, and you live on it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Lobby Days at the Roundhouse

marjorie says...

I'm having one of those weeks...the kind in which I have so much to say that I can't say any of it. So, while I'm collecting my thoughts over here, let me point you all to Barb's commentary over at DFNM that was spurred by this one. Right On Barb!

A Letter From The People: Touring the Realm of the Dispossessed

Since we have a certain blogger with long-time ties to the Roundhouse wall leaners and power brokers waxing poetic today about well connected insiders, hordes of lobbyists with deep pockets and martini-fueled dealings in dark bars in Santa Fe, I thought I'd take a similar tack from The People's point of view.

You know, us -- the little people out here in the wilderness who are supposed to wait silently and submissively for the word to come down from on high on what will and will not be done in our name by the powerhouses of La Politica. We're the ones who won't get real reform related to health care, ethics or campaign finance because our "leaders" in the Legislature -- and especially in the "independent" Senate -- have come to depend on the ready money and perks from people who want to preserve the status quo and the profits for themselves. The public and the common good be damned.

Click here to read the rest of this excellent essay

Ps: Who would like to be a citizen lobbyist for a day this year?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Oh boy! It's January again... must be time for Tricklock's Revolutions Theatre Festival!

Mikaela explaims:
Why, you are right!

And the first thing you must not miss is this burlesque show...

About The Wau Wau Sisters:

Wearing high-heels and clutching cocktails, the Wau Wau Sisters, NYC’s bravest and bawdiest burlesque duo and the act the New York Times calls “irreverent, sacrilegious, foul-mouthed and uninhibited” straddle the hilarious gap between performance art and burlesque. Their hour-long show starts at a break-neck pace and gets wilder from there! With technical snafus and unscripted one-liners, the show holds the audience rapt with a sly mix of jaw dropping physical prowess and guileless mayhem. While suspended in a boozy state of awe and delight, the Wau Wau Sisters and the audience careen through a show full of surprises and teetering on the brink of a delicious disaster! Dirty songs and double entendres mix with irreverent circus routines and guilty pop culture pleasures as old-time variety gets a new twist with brilliant executions of “bad ideas”, like their signature audience participation costume changes!

Challenging the state of reverence and preciousness of the Cirque du Soleil aesthetic, the Wau Wau Sisters carve out a new niche for circus events –right in front of you, so close you can see the tear in their fishnets, the sinew of their muscles and the sweat on their skin! Don’t miss them as they fly through a Guns ‘n’ Roses trapeze routine with all the adrenaline and abandon of a rock concert, deconstruct the humor and paradigms of country and heavy metal music, while playing matching guitars and barely sitting on one another’s shoulders! They do it all in a festive, freewheeling hour that keeps the audience guessing every second, who’s in control and for how long?

For the full schedule and descriptions of other can't miss shows, corralled and shipped here to good ole 'Burque for your theatre pleasure, visit Tricklock's Revolutions Page. This year's got shows in both ABQ & Santa Fe, and also schedules fun karaoke Wed nights and the always-interesting Reptilian Lounge every Saturday through Feb. 2.

See you at the theatre!

Huckabee: Change the Constitution

Mikaela asks:
Ummm... Excuse me?

Mike Huckabee: “I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do is amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than trying to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.”

This guy is a serious contender for President of the United States? You have got to be kidding me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Food marketing rant

Maggie says:
I get so annoyed with supermarkets, huge "food" companies, and brainless consumerism. In this Salon review of Michael Pollan's new book "In Defense of Food," this Pollan sentence was highlighted: "For a food product to make health claims on its package, it must first have a package, so right off the bat it's more likely to be a processed than a whole food." Thank you, Michael Pollan. This is a favorite tear that Marion Nestle, another supermarket cynic and a leading nutritionist/food writer, gets on, too. Nestle is fantastic at consistently reminding us that supermarkets are designed to make profits, not to make us healthier, and that we should avoid the center aisles of them like the plague and never trust big food corporations. What's especially problematic for me is how aggressively this marketing is geared toward female dieters... it's all so cheap and gendered and false.

Now enter Jezebel, a fluff site that serves as daily brain candy for me. They run the gamut from snarky commentary to celeb photos to insider media gossip, much of it surprisingly smart. But they have rants like this, too, which warm my heart when I have a headache, and thus I paste it in full here:


Jezebel: 100-Calorie Snacks are the Downfall of American Civilization

100-calorie snacks are, among many other things, the reason I despise the word "innovation" when used in the context of the defense of market capitalism. Inventing the Dorito: that is "innovation." Crushing nine Doritos into small pieces and selling them in miniature bags because our landfills aren't being occupied fast enough is just...at best, it is baby food. A hundred calories is a retarded unit of food to try to consume. People in GULAGS didn't dole out food in 100-calorie increments. And the type of food that comes in 100-calorie packs is precisely that sinister brand of carbs that were invented with the sole purpose of making you want MORE. And, of course, if you spend the 256% unit price markup for the luxury of buying your food in 100-calorie portions, that's the nice thing: you're allowed to have more than one. Encouraged, even! That's the innovation. Of course, the 100-calorie snack packs prey on our perceptions that we have no self-control. But consider this: of all the reasons psychologists have been pointed to for conspiring to make us binge on massive quantities of food, that's number one -- the sense you've lost control. (Well, that and pot.) (Also, I'm sort of making that up, but it's true.)

So why buy into that evil notion? Why not just, say, eat when you're hungry? Skip dinner if you go overboard? Go take a walk, change into sweatpants, whatevs? Because it wouldn't feed the CYCLE. The cycle tempting, daring, BEGGING us all to buy something, ANYTHING, to help us cope with the fact that we hate ourselves. It started with King Size snickers bars and Super Size meals and double quarter-pounders and ended with Alli and Anna Nicole Smith's tragic, tragic death.

It's a cycle I see before me every time I find myself confronted with a drugstore rack of 100-calorie snack packs.

Break the cycle.

And oh yeah, don't forget not to buy the new 100-calorie Girl Scout cookies.

Not feeling sorry for Britney

Maggie says:
The Britney Spears trainwreck continues to fascinate and appall me. She is obviously a complete mess, but it's also scary how anxious the media and paparazzi seem to be for a spectacularly dramatic conclusion that involves a former teen pop star killing herself in a photogenic way. It's really sad. When I see clips of what it's like for her to drive anywhere, get out of her car, etc., I can admit that it's an intimidating situation. No wonder she's run over feet and freaked out on a few of them.

And yet... this is clearly a woman who is incapable of making good choices for herself or her sons. She's a disaster of the highest order.

Here's why I don't sympathize that the throng of paparazzi waiting for her at the courthouse yesterday intimidated her into leaving without speaking up for her sons: because she faces them all the time, by choice, and most of the time I think she loves it. A selection of recent interactions with the paparazzi include:

  • Starbucks Frappuccino run
  • Visiting car dealerships
  • Shopping
  • Fast food drive-through
  • Checking into a hotel
  • Hitting up a gas station for snacks
  • Interacting with local police/emergency rescue folks
  • Starbucks Frappuccino run
  • Visiting car dealerships
  • Shopping
  • Fast food drive-through
  • Checking into a hotel
  • Hitting up a gas station for snacks
  • Interacting with local police/emergency rescue folks
  • Starbucks Frappuccino run
  • Visiting car dealerships
  • Shopping
  • Fast food drive-through
  • Checking into a hotel
  • Hitting up a gas station for snacks
  • Interacting with local police/emergency rescue folks
And that's just one day! Ah yes, the life of Britney Spears. The girl does these esteemed activities on an hourly basis, every damn day of her crazy life, facing the cameras and the throngs of photographers because to her, attention = love. So why exactly should we sympathize when she decides she can't face that same crowd to walk into a courthouse where she has been summoned by her lawyers to speak up for her own children?

Not buying it. Glad the kids are with their respectable father. Go and get some rest, girl. Away from the spotlight, please.