Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
I detest misspellings in the name of cuteness, catchiness, or consumerism. Kwik Kash, Kwik Kopy (both actual business names), you get the idea...
But for some reason, the Outer Banks nomenclature "OBX" has never bothered me. Maybe because it's my all-time favorite place and can do no wrong. At any rate, I'm off to OBX in a few short hours for the kind of travel plans that only an impulsive getaway would tolerate. But our 4 a.m. wakeup call is worth it for the sand, sun, mellowness, and casual Outer Banks elegance that I've desperately missed. Not to mention... two of my favorite aunts to greet us!
So I'm off yet again to make some big plans and to reset my internal clock. My body works better on OBX Time.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Here's the newest addition to Forrester...
We broke up this happy family to save him from staying a total feral cat...
His brothers/sisters ran away after we cat-knapped him. Momma's still around. We're hoping to get everyone good homes. This cat is the most photogenic thing since Cleo. Forrester's so very happy to have a new mewing kitty...
Bottle of wine to the person who can name that cat!
The picture of Debbie O'Malley and Obama on FBIHOP is a must see.
In that vein, here are some pics I posted last February, but now I think they deserve a re-post. Here are some of the fabulous women I know who are big Obama fans--we all got up close and personal with Barack when he came for that big rally.
The Colorado Springs Gazette reported earlier this week that Hewlett Packard was offering its 800 call center employees there the opportunity to relocate next year to Rio Rancho when their new facility is built here. You know the one. It was heralded with much fanfare last week by the Governor.
Trip and I reported on the news coming out of Colorado Springs for the New Mexico Independent. Trip had already included in his original story the details about what are pretty standard economic incentives given to companies who relocate to New Mexico. You know those also. In plainer language: transfers of tax money, or tax breaks--to benefit corporations.
In the case of HP:
The company could receive as much as $8 million to $10 million in state subsidies for training workers and more than $20 million in state tax credits for creating high-wage jobs, Economic Development Secretary Fred Mondragon said last week. The governor also will ask the Legislature to provide $12 million in capital improvement financing for the project. The majority of that capital outlay money will go toward constructing the building...
Anyhow, its business as usual. In a nutshell:
New Mexico offered an incentive package in order to compete for the Hewlett Packard call center. That's what States do--it's been going on for a long time. Many feel we simply have to do this.
Given that States find themselves competing like this, most of us are usually (somewhat) understanding of our economic development professionals and politicians who feel they have to
offer tax breaks and other benefits, like job training dollars, to bring us more jobs.
But in return, we ask for a few simple things, one being that the jobs actually go to New Mexicans.
But maybe we're just a bunch of simpletons. Because according to New Mexico economic development spokesperson Toni Balzano:
"There's nothing about our incentives that makes them hire 100 percent of New Mexicans," she said. "That is entirely up to HP. If they choose to move people here or choose NM residents, that is their call."
Balzano said the state hopes that the majority of jobs at the Rio Rancho center go to New Mexicans.
Balzano said that even if they bring outsiders in for the jobs, many of which are expected to pay $40,000 plus a year, just having the jobs alone will be good.
So what do you think? Is it enough to just have the jobs here, or should a multi-million dollar investment of tax dollars mean that New Mexicans, at the least, get a first shot at them?
cross-posted at SWOPblogger
While some of us were traveling around the area today attending meetings and trying their hardest not to publicly strangle a co-worker while still creating walkable, charming village centers (ahem), others were receiving much more acclaim and commendation for their smarts.
Remember Marjorie's piece for the New Mexico Independent where she interviewed Trevor about oil market speculation?
This week, the Democratic Policy Committee picked it up as a talking point. In an e-mail entitled "IS EXCESSIVE SPECULATION DRIVING UP OIL PRICES? HERE'S WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY," we see this about halfway down, in between quotes from George Soros and Alan Greenspan (ha!):
Trevor Hanger, head trader at Brookline Avenue Partners in Dallas, said this about the price of a barrel of oil: "There are fundamental reasons why oil will stay high. But it's my feeling (culled in large measure from talking to oil traders) that the move from $60 to $130 in the last 12 months is maybe 55% fundamentals and 45% speculation. So retracing the speculation move would bring oil back down around $100 give or take." -May 27, 2008 New Mexico IndependentNicely done, guys!
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I've been so tied up in fury at the continuing audacity of the Bush administration that I can't even let myself think about it much.
I can't even think too much about the Presidential campaign, because frankly, I don't really care who wins. I mean, okay, I care. But ... I don't really care. I do think McCain looks like a velociraptor when he smiles, and his voice grates on me, but man, he'll be like an aloe salve compared to the Bush-grating my ears have received! I don't even listen to his voice anymore if I can help it.
Which is all to say, that I've been happily whiling away the hours ticking by on his Presidential clock, fingers firmly in ears, la-la-la-ing myself into calm, when last week, I suddenly had this horrifying thought that's stayed with me ever since, like Hepatitis yellowing.
The G.W. personality piece. I don't know why this never occurred to me before, but this is a YOUNG GUY. We have years and years and years of special interest coverage of this doofus on his ranch, going to fundraising dinners, looking intensely into cameras, thumbing his thumbs-up when things either go his way or go wrong in a way he finds validating of his misguided policies.
Can you picture the stories, one a year or more? What do you like best about life after being the President? Can you imagine anything he can possibly say that won't absolutely torture us?
I ... have no answer and no hope. I'm just looking into the future at years of horror. I know the media will never be able to stop themselves. They will never leave him alone.
Man do I feel like a stranger on my own blog!
Always one to overdo things, I've had not one, not two, but THREE time-consuming (but rewarding) extra jobs this month, in addition to my CRAZY real one. I've been doing footnotes, writing statistical analyses of surveys, and my favorite by far - teaching creative writing to teens.
That's right, it's Voces month. My favorite month of the year. I've been running between tribal communities and teen writing communities. Quite the world-view shake-up, let me tell you!
Unbelievably, the month is almost over, which means that we've got a performance coming up Friday. If anyone wants to see a pretty good show and get your dose of heartwarming news that not all is lost with this young emo generation ... come on down! National Hispanic Cultural Center, Friday, 6 p.m.! I'll be the one in the back, crying.
Really, this has been an amazing group of kids. They're interested in EVERYTHING, and man, do they see clearly! Too too cool!
So I've been working every night, getting up at 5 a.m. to read about Camels and elephants and teen angst, staying up to make Excel charts, working over the weekend to reference everything. And what I am, most of all, is TIRED.
More on a new housemate in the next post...
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I want to give a belated shout-out to Gene's column in the Journal this week, about the importance of local theater, particularly the kind that presents socially challenging work exploring race and gender.
And he laments the closing of Out ch'Yonda in Barelas.
Right on, Gene. You are entirely correct--that space will be sorely missed.
Heather Wilson continues to wave some imaginary feminist flag, this time taking Barack Obama to task for comments he made to the Black Congressional Caucus, in response to a request that he reach out to disappointed Clinton supporters:
“If women take a moment to realize that on every issue important to women, John McCain is not in their corner, that would help them get over it,” Obama said, according to ABC.
Heath Hausseman reported for the NMI that Wilson took offense to that, saying it was “patronizing and elitist, and that’s exactly the kind of attitude that causes women to support John McCain.”
Wilson is a lot like Hillary Clinton: very smart and very ambitious, with lot's of good traits (despite what Maggie thinks!). But she's not generally been a standard bearer for feminism. Her comments amount to blatant politicking that comes across as anything but genuine.
One has to wonder why she's so offended by a phrase thats pretty common--among everybody--but doesn't speak out when Michelle Obama is characterized in the media as an "angry black woman" or as Barack's "baby mama."
If Wilson wants to move in the direction of taking up the fight against sexism, she can jump right into the fray and defend Michelle Obama against the sexist onslaught in the media that has only beginning to happen. This time it'll be mixed with a heap of racism also.
We'll see if she does.
Moving on, I'm also getting a little tired of the notion that Democrat women won't vote for Obama because he won the primary. They will vote for him, overwhelmingly. To suggest otherwise, to me, suggests that women as a group don't make rational choices in their own best interests. To support Clinton out of gender solidarity is a fine thing, given the two fine choices in the end, but it doesn't follow that McCain is better on women's issues than the winner of that contest--Barack Obama. And women know it.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Me, with an engagement ring on.
It's true, folks!
I blame Anodyne. And our pain-in-the-ass personalities that had us debating from drink one. And those kids driving by on Central who yelled at us to get a room.
You know us, your typical fairy tale... :-)
But sarcasm aside: We're thrilled, and I'm even happier than usual, if you (read: Marjorie and Mikaela) can believe it.
They have no idea how cheesy I'm about to get.
Labels: spotted in dallas
Over the past couple of days I've been having an internal debate over whether to comment on the release of Elton John Richard. After all, I made it very clear what I thought when the subject of letting him walk first came up, both in the posts I wrote and in the discussion each generated (which I highly recommend as m-pyre readers are invariably quite insightful). You can see them here and here.
Suffice it to say, I am disgusted this weekend.
Then I wandered over to my favorite right-wing ideological blog and, you know, wow. The Eye on Albuquerque blog rarely fails to entertain, even if its a rare day that I agree with them. They're the types who don't believe global warming exists, for example. And they actually at times have me feeling sympathetic toward Marty--ha! (I know!) But rarely do I actually find the blog disgusting, like I did today with their championing of "The Marine."
You guys know the one--better not mess with him because you *will* *be* *killed.*
In the words of the Eye:
A note to anyone with felonious aspirations, DO NOT EVER attempt to rob a determined Marine. These guys voluntarily entered a branch of the military that prides itself on being the first into a hostile military situation. Your guns, knives, and gang BS aren't a match for a Marine's training, determination, and honor.
The comment section, though, is where this really gets down and dirty. I recommend you all read it, if you can stomach it, and applaud the hearty souls who venture in to push back on the utter lack of generosity displayed by these kill-them-all vigilante champions, some of whom I fear are also running around in uniform in this city with guns on their hips.
I can't even repost some of the pro-vigilante comments in broad daylight here on m-pyre. They are just too awful. But here are some of the voices of sanity taking them to task...
"How severe an attempted crime warrants vigilante execution? Its clear that you believe B&E does. Does shoplifting? Jaywalking? Police Brutality? Speeding? Littering? Red Light camera violations? Public intoxication? Vigilantism? Off-leash dogs?"
"Ok, so let's review: Marines are bad-ass, Mr. Richard was defending his home, this case should never have gone to trial, the drug-addict gang banger was scum and needed "killing", coulda shoulda woulda....everyone can jump up on their soap box and cry foul, but in the end, laws were broken. One law-breaker is dead, and the other law breaker was found guilty of it."
"You guys are so ridiculous its hysterical. Richard is obviously a nutbag, and this complete and utter glorification of "the marine" is actually beyond hysterical. My brother is a Marine, so are my uncle and cousins. They are all 'intelligent' men (hello) who would never lose their ability to think, i.e. "the training kicks in"--to the point of chasing a guy who's actually trying to leave their house, and killing the guy in cold blood. Richard lost utter control of himself, like an animal. And to say that this is a quality found in Marines--per se--is OFFENSIVE!
"If he's such a bad ass, I think he could have done his measly 2 years.
"Obviously, the judge wimped out completely. What an idiot--and what damage to the rule of law in this country."
"If indeed most of these pro-vigilante posts are by the cops that read this site we finally have an explanation for why APD is so ineffective: extremely low intelligence.
"Since you're all for vigilante executions feel free to provide us with your personal details so we can follow you around and execute you and/or your family members whenever you/they break a law. Excuse me sir, I saw you make a rolling stop at that last intersection any last words? I'll make sure to call waste disposal to clean up the mess afterward, don't want anyone executing me for littering.
"Man what a great country this would be if we all killed each other every time we saw someone else breaking a law. Hey Officer Chavez, I saw you talking on your cell phone while driving yesterday, would you like a cigarette and a blindfold?"
You know, my brother's an ex-Marine, and the one commenter is right--there are plenty of Marines who would never act like Richard did. So lets get off the glorification trip. And then say a prayer for Daniel Romero's family.
Friday, June 20, 2008
I want to give a shout-out to M.G. Bralley for his newest photo essay. He traveled with the R's to their state convention in Las Cruces last weekend, and snapped away. It's great to see pictures of the folks we read about all the time, and Mark's analysis is always very interesting. But what I really love is his photography--it's top notch. Check it out.
ps. I, myself, have had my portrait taken by Mark. You guys know how I am...
(I thought I would repost a commentary I did for the NMI over here. Maggie, I want to see your food commentary next!)
Being mindful of one's food is probably a learned trait. For myself, I find that I take much of my food for granted, like most Americans probably. I have a pretty simple, routine vegetarian diet that I don't give a whole lot of thought to. So it was odd to be stopped dead in my tracks at lunch yesterday, gazing down in consternation at my leafy green salad covered in tomatoes. Could I trust the restaurant owners to know if the tomatoes were safe?
Tomatoes are one of my favorite things in the universe. Fresh off the vine, stewed in a thick sauce, or stuffed and baked...they're kind of a vegetarian staple. Tomatoes and spinach together are simply sublime. So imagine the blow to my 20-year vegetarian induced sense of complacency in the wake of the salmonella outbreak this past month.
When bagged spinach disappeared from the grocery stores last year, I railed and ranted about factory farms. With the recent tomato crisis I'm more shell-shocked than anything. In my simple mind, as a vegetarian I'm supposed to be safe from salmonella and e-coli bacterial foodborne illnesses so long as I follow proper food handling procedures.
Continue reading here
Thursday, June 19, 2008
This video deserves its own post on m-pyre.
Two Bear Stearns executives were arrested today on charges of fraud. They allegedly knew the funds were about to have a meltdown, but continued to withhold that information from investors, even as one withdrew his own funds.
I know, I feel bad for the guys, like I do most people I see being led away in cuffs. But rest assured--unlike a lot of people, very different types of people, these two will probably get off very lightly. Who wants to lay odds?
I couldn't help but notice D.R. Herrera's (who is he I wonder?) claim this morning in the Abq Journal that mailers to west side residents in March cost Dan Silva the election.
My understanding, coming from Dan Silva himself no less, is that Silva simply was out-peopled on the doors: "They worked on it day in and day out," said Silva, who sent out six mailings for his campaign. "I don't have the same number of people."
It's easy probably for people who have a lot to say after the fact to forget the intensity of political campaigns, especially a month out. Heck, as far as we know Herrera himself didn't knock on one door.
Contrary to what Herrera wants to believe, politics isn't always just about who has the most money to throw around at the media. People power still is quite effective. And Eleanor Chavez has a lot of that from years working as an advocate for lots of people.
Maybe it hasn't occurred to Herrera that the folks in Silva's district didn't feel all that represented for the past 20 years. And a fresh face with lots of experience working for people actually was compelling to the majority of them.
This is called "democracy."
Its highly speculative on Herrera's part to suggest that mailers sent out months before a campaign were the reason for Dan Silva's defeat. And it does a disservice to the Hard campaign waged by Chavez, who was faced with an uphill battle due to Silva's name recognition.
What a bunch of sour grapes. Does Herrera think incumbents should be in office for life? Is he Dan Silva's friend/surrogate? Personally, I thought Silva's acknowledgment the day after the election that Chavez had a stronger on the ground campaign was gracious. Perhaps as the weeks recede that essential aspect is being forgotten.
Maybe the main lessen out of all this is to incumbents: don't take your position for granted. You may need to actually get out and knock on some doors--you know, talk to your constituency directly--if you want to win. It's a privilege to represent people, not a right.
Now that I've said that, which is the crux of the matter in my view, let me address the mailers.
I do work for a non-profit that sends out voter education mailers. And has done so for many years. And I can't help but wonder how many other non-profits out there send out education mailers that we never hear about.
When you're a politician, I think you should expect to be scrutinized--especially when it comes to who's paying you and how you're voting.
It's undoubtedly true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. In this case, complacent politicians not liking what a simple search of the Secretary of State's website shows about who gives them money, and how they vote...being made very public.
If they took the money and they vote a certain way, what do they care who knows it? Good question.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Ruth Marcus has an interesting WaPo column today discussing the implications of an Obama or McCain presidency on the future make-up of the Supreme Court. She laments the fact that this critical function of the presidency--picking Supreme Court justices--is paid scant attention during campaigns and looks at the recent decision by the Supremes that Guantanamo Bay military prisoners are due Habeas Corpus rights as a way to highlight what direction the two might go.
Well, in particular, she savages McCain's inconsistencies as a candidate in light of his stated positions. For instance, at first, Marcus says, he had a somewhat mild reaction to the news that the Court affirmed the rights of Guantanamo prisoners. Then, apparently, he got riled, calling it "One of the worst decisions in the history of this country."
Marcus says this shows the direction he'd most likely take in appointing a Supreme or two.
She points out that it contradicts his position that he would "shut down Guantanamo -- on his first day in office, no less -- and ship its remaining prisoners to Fort Leavenworth.
"After all, the whole point of stashing the detainees at Guantanamo was to avoid giving them the rights that everyone acknowledged they would have on U.S. soil. So the McCain solution -- sending them to Leavenworth -- would create the very situation he now decries."So, which is it John?
"As his evolving reactions to the Guantanamo case may indicate, legal issues are not at the center of McCain's policy interests. But they are a top priority for conservative activists, which makes me all the more nervous about what a McCain presidency would mean for the court. "
(FYI-You can see how McCain stacks up to Bush, position-wise, by following the link into the NYT. Trip over at the NMI turned me onto that story).
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I'm just back from Holden Beach, NC, where we celebrated my niece's first birthday. Life is quiet in a great way right now. This image encapsulates my head space pretty well, actually. Peek inside:
Monday, June 16, 2008
Although it's not Route Words, or even ABQ Writership (my second suggestion...), the City transit department is soliciting poems until July 7 for its Poetry on the Bus program.
They've got prizes this year! Laptop, Ipod, gift cards... Pretty swanky!
You can submit up to three poems, each no more than 50 words. Get an application here.
If you want to share your submissions, you can post them in comments here.
Or be a good citizen and visit the official webpage here.
I hope lots of people submit poems to get a good cross-section of our community represented on the bus. I can't tell you how great it is to be doing something as mundane as riding the bus only to find 50-word inspirations waiting for you. It's the ultimate answer when you're praying for something to read...
Anyone can do it; everyone should. Go write!
Here's a quote from the Father's Day speech Barack Obama gave yesterday, in which he talked about how important a child's upbringing is:
"Even though my father left us when I was 2 years old, and I only knew him from the letters he wrote and the stories that my family told, I was luckier than most. I grew up in Hawaii, and had two wonderful grandparents from Kansas who poured everything they had into helping my mother raise my sister and me -- who worked with her to teach us about love and respect and the obligations we have to one another," he told the audience. "I screwed up more often than I should've, but I got plenty of second chances. And even though we didn't have a lot of money, scholarships gave me the opportunity to go to some of the best schools in the country. A lot of kids don't get these chances today. There is no margin for error in their lives."
I was glad to see him acknowledge the important role grandparents play, especially in the absence of Father's. In fact, I'm close to a number of people who deserve their own special thank you on Father's Day, in light of the role they play as grandparents. So, to my parents, and to Dave: you guys rock.
Friday, June 13, 2008
LP wants to go to the Netroot Nation convention this summer, and its possible he could get a scholarship. One thing they look at is how many people give him a plug.
Join me by going here and tell them they'd be making a big mistake to not get him there!
Good luck LP!
I joined the NM InFocus show this week, included on Gene's segment wearing my New Mexico Independent hat. It's starting now.
Sigh. Do I really look like that? I think they're right...a person needs to wear make-up on tv.
Ok, to the real question I know you all have: for all you die hard Margaret Montoya fans, YES--she's just as cool in person as she is on tv!
(Jim and Scott, you guys are pretty great too)
And of course, anyone who reads m-pyre knows how way cool Gene is!
(Yes, I have regressed to my way-cool childhood)
It was a lot of fun to be included on Gene and David's show. The show goes a lot faster than it appears when you watch on television. You have to think fast, especially because all these people are so smart.
On another note, things have been a little quiet here. Writing for the Independent is keeping me very busy, because, you know--I have another job also. But its rewarding and I'm learning a lot. Writing about the 2000 Gold issue wasn't easy, so I think I have to tip my hat here to all the reporters we love to criticize from time to time.
I have a couple of commentaries lurking in the background so look for one come Monday. I've been needing to put some words to the feminist debate that's raged in the blogosphere during the primary so am going to do my best to go there. That won't be easy either.
I was sad to see that Tim Russert died suddenly today. He was an energetic and smart man, who had a very nice smile. Plus, he was a media figures that we all paid attention to, even if we at times picked his coverage apart. Life is short, but as someone recently said to me, even worse is that death is long. It's a sad day, to see such a young, vibrant man go, especially one who is so familiar.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Just in case you missed this, it's really great.
Bill O'Reilly: "The key question is, are these just loons to be ignored, and you know, obviously they're unstable people. There's no doubt about it. ...They're fascists. ...But what do you think about Moyers, and Rather...showing up at this??" (thx michelle!)
O'Reilly is a complete nut. He embodies the reason for a media reform movement if you ask me. Thanks to Jo Ann for pointing me to that clip.
If you're a Bill Moyers fan, here's a longer clip from that dressing down he gave O'Reilly's guy.
Moyers asks a very good question: When is Bill O'Reilly going to acknowledge that he was not only wrong about the Iraq invasion, he was it's champion...heaping vitriol on its opponents.
And Moyers is right that O'Reilly doesn't have the courage to go on his show...to which O'Reilly, who he calls a blowhard, has a standing invitation.
O'Reilly calling other people a bunch of lunatics is funny.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Question: If you're a smart teenager full of emotion and thoughts that you like to believe transcend your suburban location, and you have a weakness for long-distance relationships that begin at the beach and call for handwritten correspondence and not much reality, what is your soundtrack of choice?
The Cure, of course.
Even my beloved Smiths couldn't match the Cure for heartbroken romanticism. The Smiths were dark humor, the soundtrack to eye-rolling my way through high school. But the Cure was my angst-filled, lovelorn soundtrack to night owl putterings in my renovated attic bedroom.
When I listen to the Smiths now, I hear them fresh. When I listen to the Cure, I am immediately 16 again, and I am immediately stopped in my tracks.
The first time I saw the Cure was early in college in Boston. The show was at the Orpheum, a renovated opera house and an absolutely fantastic place to see live music. I went with my oldest friend, also a huge Cure fan. I still have the ticket.
The second time I saw the Cure was Friday night at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, about as opposite from the Orpheum as you can get. Only, we had third-row tickets, they played for nearly four hours and for three encores, and it might as well have been 1994. The Cure's original lineup was all there, and they sounded amazing. We were all shocked at how good they sounded, actually. Nearly every song played was an oldie - they played almost the entire Disentegration album, and the third encore was "A Forest," from 1980's Seventeen Seconds, for what it's worth - and it was, in a word, thrilling to be there.
My date this time? The same guy who also took me to see Morrissey last year. He's good that way. And bonus: He didn't even mind that Robert Smith and I totally had a moment during the second encore!
"Pictures of You," The Cure, Dallas, 6/6/08
"Never Enough," The Cure, Dallas, 6/6/08
Monday, June 09, 2008
The best-ever t-shirt, worn by a guy shopping yesterday.
Keep Dallas Pretentious.
PS for Non-Dallasites: If you follow the link you'll see references to the Dallas "$30,000 Millionaire," a lifestyle that plagues this city of appearances at all costs. (The best - and funniest - analysis of the condition is here.) The selling line for this t-shirt, btw?
"Max out your credit on this!"
Labels: spotted in dallas
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Thursday, June 05, 2008
This is a very recent but not great photo, but I use it to demonstrate something that is nothing short of remarkable:
Is this going to be the First Family of the United States?
How absolutely wonderful.
It's those girls that get me every time. Those little girls, Malia and Sasha, who look nothing like any other child who's ever lived inside the White House, could be decorating their bedrooms on Pennsylvania Ave in a few months. What does that say to the millions of little girls in this country who look like them? It's amazing to me.
While I'm being all touchy-feeling, I might as well also mention that the way the Obamas are together affects me, too. It's the fist-pumps, the hugs, the grins, the whispers, the way they look right into each other's eyes and manage to have private moment on a stage in a stadium of 15,000 people. I love how real that is, absent of the contrived expression exchange or forced kiss or awkward hug. It's a true partnership, and that body language can't be faked.
I'm so ready for the general. And I'm beside myself at the thought of what the next First Family portrait could look like, and what that couple's partnership could feel like, and what that means for the rest of us.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Sorry I've not posted on yesterday's primary elections yet. I've been playing catch-up at work, not to mention get-ahead at work since I'm going out of town tomorrow.
It was an exciting night in New Mexico, so much so that I had no time at all to pay attention to national politics. So please send me any interesting tidbits from how the Obama/Clinton dramarama played out.
To get a handle on how things went in New Mexico, I highly recommend checking out the NM Independent site, where election reports and analysis began streaming in last night, and will continue through the week I'm sure. Trip and I will have a piece shortly on the three progressive legislative victories here in Albuquerque.
In the meantime, I thought I'd share a few items I meant to put up earlier, but just wasn't able to pull off until now. Many of you may have seen the negative campaign mailer sent out by Dan Silva that depicted Eleanor Chavez as a criminal. Here it is.
Eleanor's response to that was a mail piece that sought to inspire, with just a little dig at Silva. I know you all will appreciate it:
See what I mean? That's Eleanor and her daughter with Cesar in the second photo. When I saw that mailer I couldn't help but wonder how all those many people who got it in the mail felt. There are a lot of working class people who live in her district.
And here's a photo of Eleanor and Tomas Garduno, her campaign manager, after the win was confirmed. This was Tomas' second campaign. He cut his chops on his dad's campaign for City Council last year (that would be Rey).
I know Marjorie will have more for us soon on the overwhelming progressive victories from last night's New Mexico primaries (Martin! Eric! Eleanor!), but for the moment, from afar, can I take a minute to celebrate this?!
Pearce Narrowly Wins GOP Nomination
To everyone who detests Heather Wilson and everything she's about, this is a sweet, sweet moment for us. Goodbye, Evil One!
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Over on the west side, two competing candidates look for voters.
Jane Hirschfield writes:
More and more I have come to admire resilience.
Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam
returns over and over to the same shape, but the sinuous
tenacity of a tree: finding the light newly blocked on one side,
it turns in another. A blind intelligence, true.
But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers,
mitochondria, figs--all this resinous, unretractable earth.
This morning was quite the lackluster voting experience. At 8:15 am, my vote was lucky #7. Pretty abysmal. The upside of voter apathy is no waiting in line. There's that.
I was horribly unprepared, now that I don't have Maggie's excellent ballot explanations, like a path through the political labyrinth, but I defaulted (very guiltily) to voting for Hispanic surnames if there were only men and Hispanic women's names if possible, and women over men in general. That's my affirmative action voting default. Not as good as actually doing some research, I know.
But I gotta say, I'm not entirely in this realm these days. At my new job, we've been immersed in tribal planning for the Navajo, and the structural and environmental issues this tribe faces are OUT OF THIS WORLD. At the same time, the integrity and deliberate wisdom that most folks imbue as they talk, plan, consider, and walk forward ... it's emotionally overwhelming to me.
The closing blessing to a two-day workshop last week reduced me to tears. I've never had my heart exploded like that at a community meeting. This elderly woman, who has faced so much and come so far, spoke this prayer that was crystalline perfect in its structure and beauty, incorporating the full rainbow spectrum of simple hope and fierce resilience and common strength.
Everything else in my life seems pale and listless in comparison. I barely glance at the news because really, the vast weather system of politics means nothing compared to the local conditions of continued drought. I know intellectually that everything's connected, but at this moment in my life, I only have room in my head and my hands and my heart for one battle.
At least it feels like a good fight.
Monday, June 02, 2008
Many of you may have noticed the recent media reports about a challenge to federal guidelines regarding transracial adoption. Many advocates want to change a current "color blind" approach to adoptions mandated in the 1994 Multiethnic Placement Act to a "color conscious" approach. According to the Washington Post report:
Because the law forbids discussion of race during the adoption process, it prevents social workers from preparing white parents for the challenge of raising black children in a largely white environment, said the report, titled "Finding Families for African American Children: The Role of Race and Law in Adoption From Foster Care." It cited studies showing that dark-complexioned children in white homes tend to struggle with identity issues related to skin color, self-esteem and discrimination that their new parents are often not equipped to handle.
"To say that we need to be colorblind is an arguable notion," said Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute in New York, which commissioned the study. "It's a wonderful notion in a perfect world. But most of us would agree that we're not there yet."
"Color consciousness does not mean you're going to do race-matching with kids," Pertman said. But "if you're white and you're adopting a black kid, maybe you could use a little coaching on that issue as you help your kid grow up. The law says you can't be trained to do that. Are we giving parents the optimal tools to succeed in bringing up their families?"
I came across a commentary today that explained why its important to not approach transracial adoption as though race doesn't matter. In fact, NPR's John Ridley explains in plainer language than most I've read as to why race is a factor, not just in these adoption cases but for people of color as they negotiate a white world in general...
To me, this analysis makes total sense, but I'm often amazed by people who don't budge from their belief that "race doesn't matter" -- that love is all you need. I know a fair number of white women with black children, and there's an enormous amount of love in those relationships. But like Ridley points out, there are certain things white folks have no way of being able to translate for a child from an intrinsic place. But we can learn how to be engaged in the conversation with the children in our lives in a way that they know they can rely on the adults closest to them to understand and not dismiss their experiences based in race. Frankly, I think a little training in these matters for people deliberately deciding to have children of another race would be greatly beneficial.
White folks, no matter how well-meaning or open-minded, have no true idea what it's like to be black in America. That's not a slam against white people or an accusation of latent bigotry. But the fact is that we all live in an Anglo-dominated society. From the moment we switch on the morning happy-chat shows until we fade to the stale jokes of the late-nite laughers, our news, our information, our assessments, are delivered through the filter of Anglo perspective. Be it liberal or conservative, it's still monochromatic. People of color grow up steeped in "white" culture. The reverse is not true. And, no, listening to hip-hop on the way to work does not count as immersion. Most whites will never know, experience or fully understand the myriad of preconceptions or gentle indignities that people of color have to deal with near daily. And that's prior to getting hit with full-on bigotry. Being of color in America by no means amounts to a constant barrage of negativity. However, unlike being white, being of color means one's race is a constant issue. How to handle it is an experience that is best learned practically, passed from a parent who's lived it to a child who's living it. It is not an experience gained merely by watching the boxed set of Eyes on the Prize (though you should watch it anyway). Short of that, some actual training would be useful. Anyone who believes otherwise is just displaying arrogance.
I would think, at the very least, trained and qualified parents of black children could be established as mentors. This would also help the adoptive parents build a "go to" support group for when their children do have questions and issues.
No doubt the policy barring the training was born of some kind of political correctness. But like most political correctness, it's Pollyanish.
Parents who engage in transracial adoptions are clearly committed, brave and, above all, loving. They should be fully prepared as well.
Beyond the topic of adoption, Ridley explains pretty well why white folks in this country shouldn't assume they know everything there is to know about black folks...that in fact, maybe the bulk of us are ignorant fools when it comes to how other cultural groups live, particularly regarding church. Maybe you can tell where I'm going with this. Well, when I get over my shock (I still get shocked...) over the fact that Obama had to quit his very large, very well-established and well-regarded African American church in order to run for President...I'll write about it here.
Sunday, June 01, 2008
I'm away at a conference for a few days, and writing hello right now delays my boarding of the shuttle bus that will take me to the next exciting event on my Corporate YAY! agenda. So yes, I'm using you.
A few hours ago, my increasing guilt about not writing on the blog peaked pretty much in sync with the motivational music in the corporate cheerleader video we were treated to. Rather than eliciting any gasps of delight from me, though, the advanced PowerPoint skills on display prompted this brilliant thought: I should live-blog the motivational conference.
There is so much hilarious material here. But alas: my packet clearly states that "laptop, cell phone, or Blackberry use during any conference session is prohibited."
Today I avoided the early afternoon lunch registration and instead roamed around Omaha's Old Market, which has fantastic old brick buildings with authentic facades, just my thing. I took tons of photos and might post a few once I return from tonight's "Icebreaker Reception." Those of you who know me know that I'm a fairly social creature, but here's a good clue that many of the other folks here are not: The "Rubik's Cube Get to Know You" game, which I am inexplicably a part of merely by the fact that I was given a nametag with colored pieces of paper inside it.
And: See why I haven't been writing lately? This is the mush of my brain.
Kinda-more-mpyre-last-minute-ps: Did anyone watch the Democratic Party Rules Committee's vote this weekend? I happened upon it live and it was fascinating stuff. When I get to take my cheerleader uniform off, perhaps I'll be able to expound a bit.