Sunday, November 30, 2008

Labor's Employee Free Choice Act

marjorie says...

Here's an article I wrote for the NM Independent last week, about the Employee Free Choice Act:

As Obama promises union push, business promises to push back

“It’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when.”

These are the words President-elect Barack Obama used in March 2007 about organized labor’s top priority for the next administration: the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it much easier for workers to organize and gain first-time contracts with their employers.

A common refrain Obama used on the campaign trail was that it was “time we had a President who didn’t choke saying the word ‘union.’” Not only would he sign the bill, he promised, but he would work to make sure it got to his desk.

At the time, the House of Representatives had voted for the bill by a comfortable margin. Obama co-sponsored it in the Senate, but Democrats couldn’t muster the 60 votes necessary to override a Republican filibuster and move it to a vote in June of that year.

Since then, Obama has been elected president, and the Senate is just a hair’s breadth away from a 60-vote Democratic majority. So far the Democrats have 58 seats — including two independents who caucus with the party — with two still in the balance. If Democrats win two remaining seats in Georgia and Minnesota, the bill will have virtually assured prospects for passage.

Richard Trumka, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, was expressing confidence about the bill’s prospects even before the Democratic gains on Nov. 4.

“Without a doubt - the Senate Democrats will be there,” he said in an interview with the Independent in Albuquerque last month. “They understand the importance of this act, that unions are good for the country. The union worker makes 30 percent more than non-union — and if the union worker is an ethnic minority or a woman, that percentage goes up even higher. The distribution problem starts to go away. When workers have a union contract they’re vastly more likely to have health care and pensions.”

But it won’t be easy. Randel Johnson, vice president of labor policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, characterized the coming battle as a “firestorm.”

Proponents of the act say it will help prevent employers from bullying workers to vote against joining unions, while opponents say it would allow union organizers to bully workers into unionizing.

Read the rest here.


oh, and Check.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Adding a Fourth Year

Mikaela says:
It is a time of thanksgiving at m-pyre, but also one of birthdays. This year we celebrate our fourth year together on this blog, and we anticipate another birth in the spring: the addition of another m-pyre girl -- my first kid.

This blog continues to do what it was born for: to keep three Ms in conversation, even as their lives have moved apart -- Maggie's taking her to a new city, Mikaela's moving her out of Marjorie's house and a block away from Forrester Street, Marjorie's bringing her a new car and a slew of new jobs to add to her pile.

Of all the places I call home, m-pyre remains here waiting for my political mind, my critique, my interest, my worries, and lots of time my anger. It's had to wait more this year than any before, as my priorities have actively reshuffled themselves to make room for a new lifemate, new house, and now new baby. But among all those changes, the constancy of m-pyre, the comfort of opening the page to see the intelligence and activeness of my fellow Ms, has kept a lifeline open to my "higher brain." The breadcrumbs are there to guide my way back from maternity land. This next year may be a kinder, gentler post kind of year for me. We'll see what engages my attention once there's a new girl to think about, watch out for, and eventually discuss this crazy world with.

In the spirit of sharing our womenly wisdom, my fellow m-pyricists have agreed to impart their advice to the newest little M, making her way into the world. Afterward, we've got a little "How well do you know us, and how well do we know each other?" quiz for you. Share your guesses in the comments, and we'll follow up with answers next week. And finally, we've got requests for posts we'd like to see here on m-pyre in the coming year.

Maggie says:
My first piece of advice to you, little one, is to soak in all the hugs from your mom that you can, because those are some great hugs. Hugs are an underappreciated art form, and your mama is an artiste. Speaking of your mama (and the gals that she surrounds herself with), know just how lucky you are to be born in a moment where anything is possible for girls like you. More than ever before, you can be anything and everything you want to be – your own Supergirl. As you’re figuring out exactly what kind of Supergirl you want to be, the three of us are going to be making noise about things that you deserve, like the same pay as Superboy and the right to make your own decisions and pave your own way. Paving your own way is important, and with a mom like yours, you’ll learn all about the values that can make our world a better place. But just as important, and something your mom knows better than anyone, are all the things that can make our world a more beautiful place, a more expressive place, and a more connected place. Watch her do those things, and take notes. Because expressing yourself with values? That sounds like a Supergirl to me. Also, little one, and this is important: when your mom gets worried, you should always give her the biggest grin that you can. She’s a softie when it comes to big smiles (and they’re good for getting out of trouble, too… shhhhhh....). One more thing, Supergirl, since I already know how smart and strong you’re going to be: laugh as loud and as hard as you can, as often as possible. It’s the secret to happiness, and no one will deserve more happiness than you.

Marjorie says:
It shouldn’t surprise folks that what on first glance seems like a relatively straightforward task—giving “advice” to the newest m-girl—quickly gets made difficult by me. For every encouragement there’s a caveat; for every admonishment an exception. And what advice does one give to a new person regarding life, when it's such a singular experience? But perhaps I can transcend my habits for this new person, because after all she is quite special. So here is my advice, as close to simple noun-verb constructions as I could get them: Balance everything. Do right by yourself, while making room for others. Take a position and act on it. Read a lot. Do your homework. Don’t take no for an answer. And don’t hesitate to ask the question in the first place. Indulge your curiosity. Listen to your intuition. Enjoy your life. Be kind and cultivate empathy. Leave the spaces you enter in a better condition than you found them. Have respect for yourself. Learn what that actually is. Brush your teeth and sit up straight, but embrace your inner tomboy also. Something tells me you’re going to be a blondie—pray that you inherit your father’s hair. Love your mother and your father. Listen to them even when you're sixteen--they're pretty smart.

After four years: Ms Matrix Minutiae

The Ms ask:

  1. Can you guess which M is described in each category?
  2. For bonus points and eternal credit for EQ, can you guess which M volunteered the description?
  3. Place your bets in the comments; answers posted next week! (Sample answer sheet provided below.)
Note: Every row is in a different order - no one is all "A," "B," or "C"... I know, I know, we're tough like that. Can anyone fill out the entire board?

(click for full-size!)







4th Birthday: M Requests...

The Ms ask:
What's in store for the next year on m-pyre? Here's what each of us are hoping to learn from each other in new posts throughout the year:

Mikaela would like to see posts from Maggie on:

  • What the latest economic crisis will do to affordable housing in our cities... and what we should do about it
  • Pairing up (pardon the pun) her favorite celebrities with her favorite shoes... Who looks like which shoes and why?
Mikaela wants to see Marjorie post about:
  • The new political landscape for the Mormon church... and the subtleties of how that may play out for its members
  • A play-by-play of movie-watching with her family... who thinks what and when?
Maggie thinks Mikaela should take a stab at:
  • How to reconcile the loads of pale pink baby clothes she's bound to receive with modern notions of girlhood and motherhood. I will need guidance!
  • Can a brilliant mind watch dumb tv without hearing that inner "you're too smart for this" monologue? If not, how to shut it off? If so, what's the filter like? Discuss!
Maggie wants Marjorie to detail:
  • The future of labor in the landscape of a Democratic Washington and a decidedly new economy, where nothing is what it was.
  • The imaginary dinner party she would host with special guests Emma Goldman, Gram Parsons, Jane Austen, and Lyndon B. Johnson, and just what they would discuss.
Marjorie wants to hear from Maggie about:
  • The urban planning landscape of Dallas, from her vantage point in a private sector planning practice. How does the city stack up when it comes to transit, is there a community-based planning world in the big D, what are the power nodes? Please, do tell.
  • A reflection about the life transitions of a mobile, young professional in the United States--juggling the freedom to pursue career moves with the pull of a highly rooted family.
Marjorie wants Mikaela to tell us:
  • How faith and politics intersect on the left, and where are the commonalities between her faith based community and those evangelical groups we hear so much about on the right.
  • Is it possible for a mile-a-minute, high achieving woman to "have it all"? Regarding this perennial question, I'd like to hear about the challenges, through the lens of Mikaela.

What about our readers? Do you have requests for us? What would you like to read here in the next year?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Move over Missouri...

Mikaela says:
Got to thinking about Missouri's status as bellwether state - picking the president in all but one presidential election since 1952 (exception: Adlai Stevenson). Since Missouri went for McCain by the slimmest of margins (49.4 vs. 49.3%), they've lost exclusive title to their predictive hat.

And guess who was right behind their record, with 2 slips since Presidential voting started in the state? That's right - good ole NM.

As one reporter put it about losing Missouri's not-so-much-vaunted position:

"Well, whatever. There wasn't a lot of glory in being the bellwether, except that reporters and news crews from places like Washington, London and Germany came to interview us in election season."
You know what? We'll take it! We need the tourist, even if they are news crews! Get ready, Missouri. We'll go head-to-head in 2012 and see who goes home with the bellwether title.

Image: "Bellwether States and Counties - 1960 through 1996"

Friday, November 21, 2008

Today's Chuckle: Why Did Bush Cross the Low Road?

Mikaela reposts from Dan Froomkin:

In May, White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten issued a memo announcing that, as far as last-minute regulations were concerned, the Bush Administration would take the high road.

Agency heads were instructed to "resist the historical tendency of administrations to increase regulatory activity in their final months." Bolten set a June 1 deadline for proposing new regulations, and ordered that none be issued after November 1, except in "extraordinary circumstances."

But Bolten's deadlines came and went without anyone paying much notice, and the real deadline is now upon us. Rules published by tomorrow go into effect before President-elect Obama takes office, making them much more difficult to reverse.

As a result, the low road is bumper-to-bumper today.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Happy early Thanksgiving **Updated!**

marjorie says...

Ever wanted to see the execution of a turkey? Hit the play button.

This is really a classic.

Huffington Post says Sarah Palin had just pardoned a turkey in Wasilla in anticipation of Thanksgiving. Then she proceeded to give an interview, completely oblivious to the fact that the fellow behind her was guillotining turkeys.

I'm sorry, I just don't really know what to say about this. I know you all want me to criticize Sarah Palin for it. But hey, most of you eat turkey too. And just because you don't give interviews while seemingly oblivious to the execution of the poor animals behind you, doesn't mean that the saran-wrapped meat you buy in the grocery store isn't the same exact thing.

What can I say? Going on my third vegetarian decade here...sometimes I just can't refrain. Poor turkeys. Isn't pretty, is it?

ps: It dawned on me what Palin's biggest problem is while watching this. She talks *way* too much.


**Just in case some of you think this isn't real, here is the actual tv spot in which she pardons a turkey. This subsequent interview is really just the perfect follow-up to the whole thing, if you ask me. It shows that, yeah, that was one lucky turkey!

Wonkery of the Week

Maggie says:
This week, we layer the 2008 electoral map on top of an 1860 map of cotton production in the U.S. South. Notice how strongly the counties that voted for Obama correlate with 1860 cotton production.

Source: From Pickin' Cotton to Pickin' Presidents

What does this tell us?

First, we see that by and large, the folks who produced that cotton - by force, as we know - still maintain a presence in the area once known as the "Black Belt," both for its soil and for its forced labor. That density patterns of African-Americans in the South still reflect the same geographical pattern of 150 years ago is interesting, but probably no surprise to any of us. Today, the cotton counties are still largely rural, with small towns sprinkled throughout, and have a strong enough African-American presence to turn blue in a sea of red.

The layering of the cottom map with the electoral map provides, for me, an opportunity to reflect on race and change in our country. Like many of you, I see the election of Barack Obama as a reckoning a sorts, a statement of hope, a turning of a new leaf. In the context of last week's wonkery, this map is a powerful testament to me of a new way forward for the South. That the nation's choice for president is the same choice that Southern blacks made is progress in and of itself. By throwing out our old notions of Southern politics, it's possible to interpret that the South has spoken again, only this time, with different voices doing the speaking. This other population of the South - those victims of hate and structural oppression in the name of color - have not only spoken, they have been heard. 150 years later, who exactly is 'backward?'

To me, this map looks like a wave of blue hope. What do you see?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chantal unplugging from the Fix? Yep, it's official.

marjorie says...

Chantal is handing over the reins to Sophie over at the Duke City Fix. From her farewell post:

What a wild unexpected ride it's been! After five years as a local blogger including four at the helm of Duke City Fix, I'm retiring from blogging and officially turning over management of this site to Sophie Martin who's been running things on a day-to-day level for months now... and swimmingly so.


Many may not know that Chantal was quite supportive of m-pyre in the early days...of course, this was pre-Fix, and we didn't know her as Chantal yet. Yep, always quite the mysterious one, she is.

Many thanks for your great work fostering the blog-o-rama Chantal. What a fabulous job.

Oh, and we'll be on the look-out for any pink haired bloggers making an appearance in the future as well. ;-)

Sophie...Onward! The Fix couldn't be in better hands.

Democrats should be ashamed of themselves.

Maggie says:
That is all. Too angry + busy to deal right now.

Non-profits and the A.G.'s blogging buddy

marjorie says...

I've been wondering when Joe Monahan would get back to what always seem to me to be quite biased takes on the dispute between non-profits and the AG. Just check out his language today: "veil of secrecy," "hit list," "blatantly political,"...the list goes on. Joe seems to really believe that a mailer sent to a candidates district at least two months prior to a primary election can swing that election.

Later in his blog, he touches on public financing for the Mayor's race. Pointing out that the rules prohibit self-financed candidates from taking donations from corporations, he says that Marty Chavez is sure to go with public financing if he runs again.

"Unless a wealthy self-financed candidate surfaces, the public finance playing field stands to benefit the well-known and incumbent Chavez. How ironic," Monahan says.

What's ironic about it?

An incumbent always has the advantage of being well-known. That's one of the main reasons incumbents are hard to beat. While leveling the money makes it much more doable for relatively unknown challengers--winning requires a lot more. But it's as though only money is at play in an election, in Joe's mind. What about the nuts and bolts work of knocking on doors and going to community meetings, to actually getting to know people?

If a level playing field when it comes to money still gives a long-time incumbent the advantage, to the point of it being "ironic," then surely Joe can admit that the three incumbents who lost to challengers during the primary last spring had big advantages. And at least in one case--if campaign finance reports are any indication--there was a big money advantage as well. The challengers didn't have established donors or name recognition to lean on for raising money. But they did have strong field campaigns that had a lot of volunteers slogging away for months on the doors. The idea that a mailer months before an election can swing that election is a little ridiculous to me.

Speaking of, has anyone noticed that Joe hasn't pointed out that the lawsuit filed against the winners and a laundry list of non-profits by the three incumbents was tossed out of court because it had no merit? Where's that blog? I keep looking for it.

Another blog I keep looking for is one explaining why its a problem to point out to the public who gives money to legislators and how those legislators vote on issues important to those donors.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

What more can you say?

Mikaela says:
He's a man of history. A man of destiny. Maybe global manifest destiny. Not in a good way. In the good ole fashioned decimating way...

Folks are wondering now how much we'll ever know about the constitutional, legal, and world relations havoc wreaked by our current (and outgoing, thank god) President.

  • Will Bush pardon Libby to protect Cheney's secret legacy?
  • Will he issue a blanket pardon for all involved in the illegal torture he okayed with an Executive memo, as he's considering?
  • Will Obama take the path of "fact-finding" in order to discover atrocities and right them, as his advisors recommend, or will there be bipartisan "commissions" aimed at prosecution, sure to blow all the goodwill and harmony we feel in America right now, or ... [shuddering here ...] will he do what most Presidents do, and sweep everything under the rug, signaling once and for all that laws do not pertain to those at the top?
And then there's this little tidbit. CBS's Mark Knolls has released his latest tally of days Bush has vacationed in Crawford, at Camp David, or in Kennebunkport.

Grand Total = 987 days off
Total days in office = 2920 days
Percent on vacation = 33.8 percent

Holy crap.

Let's take a look at that again.


Days Off / Total Days? That looks like this. Talk about American Pie!

  1. Man do I wish my job had that much paid time off.
  2. If only he could have spent MORE time out of the White House, dragging Cheney with him, maybe some of the worst disasters under his "watch" would never have happened!

Not only has he broken the record of the previous vacationing-est president, Reagan, but it coincides with his record for lowest rating President ever in the polls. Way to make history, Bush! Glad you're history, you clever little cowboy!



Nick Anderson
Houston Chronicle
Nov 13, 2008

Have a say about Prop 8 this Saturday

marjorie says...

If you thought the passage of Prop 8 in California, which reversed the legalization of gay marriage there, was wrong, there's a protest happening on Albuquerque's Civic Plaza this Saturday (tomorrow) beginning at 11:30am. It's part of a national day of protest.

If you wonder why people in Albuquerque would want to protest the passage of a California initiative, consider how much New Mexico money flowed in support or opposition to it. Here is the searchable database created by a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle--you can see where the money came from nationwide. There was a lot of it. On top of the national money that flowed into that campaign, there were also organized phone-banks set up outside the state (by Mormons primarily) to support it. It's a national issue, and it was a national campaign.

I think it's completely wrong to deny people the right to marry, when marriage is the institution that defines so much about how two people join their estates in this society. Plus, in addition to pragmatic considerations it's a highly symbolic institution, and it's not good enough to do it without an official legal contract.

I'll write more later (am a little under the weather this week) about Mormons and their unprecedented foray into the political realm, but in the meantime you can check out what I wrote earlier this year about gay marriage and Mormons here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wonkery of the Week

Maggie says:
I'm going to try and keep up with a little something I'm going to call "Wonkery of the Week" here on m-pyre. (By the way, I like alliteration, so even if I don't make it every week, I'm keeping the name. And sure, 'wonkery' may not be in the dictionary, but I'm going to consider it a parting tribute to W. Gotta get them in while we still can!)

Wonkery of the Week is going to feature the pieces I find myself nerding out to with the most excitement each week. Enter last night, finishing a pile of work I brought home, and finally being able to dig into this article and its corresponding maps and charts under the covers at midnight. So worth the wait!

Nerdiness out of my system, let's take a look:

NYT: For South, a Waning Hold on National Politics

In the last week of the election, we heard various analysts warn the Republicans that their party was increasingly becoming a white, regional, "Southernized" party only. This article makes those claims impossible to refute, as it details how the South effectively Red-voted themselves out of relevancy last week by supporting McCain in such high numbers, making race the only explanation.

By voting so emphatically for Senator John McCain over Mr. Obama — supporting him in some areas in even greater numbers than they did President Bush — voters from Texas to South Carolina and Kentucky may have marginalized their region for some time to come, political experts say.

The region’s absence from Mr. Obama’s winning formula means it “is becoming distinctly less important,” said Wayne Parent, a political scientist at Louisiana State University. “The South has moved from being the center of the political universe to being an outside player in presidential politics.”

The significance here is that the South ceded their claim to being the center of national politics and colored the much-lauded "Southern Strategy" irrelevant. A Democrat proved he could win without having a Southern accent, and the mid-Atlantic South (Virginia and North Carolina) went with him. In the Deep South, black turnout was higher than in previous years, but not high enough to match the overwhelming support of McCain by Deep South white voters - nearly 9 in 10 whites in Alabama, for example. According to the NYT analysis, "Southern counties that voted more heavily Republican this year than in 2004 tended to be poorer, less educated and whiter." Check the charts in the article for all the numbers; they're truly worth taking a look at.

What, then, for the future of the Republican Party? They are scrambling, no doubt. Their brand is maxed out. The Republican Governor's Conference is taking place right now, and you can be sure they're discussing how to revive their brand after last week's repudiation (see Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal emerging as free of the Bush/Iraq taint and embodying the only Republican biography that comes close to matching our president-elect). As the party scrambles to save face, how will they de-regionalize their message? How do they maintain relevancy, and what does the Deep South do in response?

The rest of the electoral map (Midwest! Mountain West!) breathes easier this week, basking in the glow of its newfound attention. I, for one, am thrilled about that.

Go wonk out yourself to the article, electoral maps, and charts!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Parallels on race in the White House

My inbox is flooded with discussion about a Washington Post piece from last week, originally sent to me by my friend Saleem. In separate discussions resulting from that piece, it's clear that none of us can stop exclaiming - or tearing up - over how poignant it is. See for yourself:

A Butler Well Served by this Election

For those of you in Albuquerque, I hope you were able to attend Electoral Dysfunctions: The Vortex Theatre's Political Playfest while it was running. Longtime friend Gene Grant wrote a piece titled "Enter on the Execution" that won the event's top prize. Without revealing too much, I'll offer that the play is set in a restroom, just before Barack Obama will give the oath of office. Inside, he meets a bathroom attendant who, as a black man who's worked for decades in the White House, has an interesting perspective on just what Obama is about to take on, and just what it means.

In "A Butler Well Served...," the butler in question is Mr. Eugene Allen, 88, an African-American who served the White House for thirty years. His stories and perspective are remarkable, and like Gene's hero, he in many ways represents the moment of change we now find ourselves in with regard to race in America.

Both of these pieces - fact and fiction - are remarkable at this moment in time. Maybe if we're lucky, Gene will tell us a bit about his play and his thoughts about Eugene Allen.

Bonus: A slideshow of Eugene Allen's life in the White House

Bipartisan Hope

Mikaela says:
There's been a lot of admonishment not to gloat about the outcome of the election from many different sources. I'm okay with that. As long as we continue to see signs of progress toward freedom, accountability, and transparency, I'm okay with low-key waiting and watching for change.

Not only does the minister of our very liberal, very blue Unitarian Universalist congregation wish we were more diverse in order to maintain more debate and dialog and our connection to the rest of the country, but her pastoral prayer on Sunday included a request to the powers of healing and renewal to forgive us our doubts and fears about the election. That got me!

She also shared this fantastic cartogram of the 2008 election results, adjusted for population density and the gradient of votes in each county - showing a true representation of the mix of red and blue votes in most places to result in "purple america."



So I have hope for the future and pride in my country, but I'm not harboring any wishes for payback for the last Republican era of excess, greed, and power-mongering (ahem). I'm ready to move on - happily, intentionally, and thoughtfully.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Book of Love

Maggie says:
Something crazy's going on these days, because Keith Olbermann is talking about love. Love. Watch.



I feel ashamed that in the midst of such glorious victory, we're left with Proposition 8. And I feel ashamed that my position in this world allows me to forget that. I'm planning a wedding with no legal constraints, no court orders, no protest signs. Just my heterosexual self who can get married whenever I want, as many times as I want, if that's what I choose.

I do believe that one day we will look back on the struggles for same-sex marriage equality and shake our heads that there was ever a question, ever a raised legal eyebrow, at that right. Just as we do today with interracial marriage and basic civil rights. But we are not there yet. Not yet.

I leave you with two of my favorite images I've stumbled upon in the world of wedding blogging. The emotion of these unions are always so evident to me in photographs. Take a minute and really look at these. What do you see?

I see happiness. And we all deserve a shot at it, each one of us.

(Photography by Jessamyn Harris)



While we're not looking

Maggie says:
Busy morning here, so I offer in full from The Progress Report (who do such a great job with links and atribution):

Having promised to "sprint to the finish" of his second term and "to remain focused on the goals ahead," President Bush is "working to enact a wide array of federal regulations, many of which would weaken government rules" aimed at protecting workers, consumers and the environment, the Washington Post reports. "The administration wants to leave a legacy," said Gary Bass, executive director of OMB Watch, "but across the board it means less protection for the public." Indeed, the Bush administration is implementing over 90 new regulations which "would be among the most controversial deregulatory steps of the Bush era and could be difficult for his successor to undo." The wide array of new regulations includes proposals to undercut outpatient Medicaid services, weaken the Endangered Species Act, and allow increased emissions from older power plants. In some instances, the administration has allowed federal agencies to circumvent public feedback methods by limiting the period for public comment, "not allowing e-mailed or faxed comments or scheduling public hearings." Transition advisers to President-elect Barack Obama, meanwhile, "have compiled a list of about 200 Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse White House policies." The kind of regulations they are looking at are those imposed by Bush for "overtly political" reasons, said Dan Mendelson, a former associate administrator for health in the Clinton administration's Office of Management and Budget.

My girl Rachel Maddow's been looking at Bush's quiet shenanigans in her daily Lame Duck Watch, too. (As if you need another reason to watch RM.)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Insidery goodness

Maggie says:
I've been absolutely obsessed with Newsweek's "Secrets of the 2008 Campaign," installments of which have been released throughout the day. (Bated breath for Chapter 7 right now!)

Every year, Newsweek puts full-access reporters on each campaign, with the promise that they won't publish a word until after the election. The results are always good. In fact, the 2004 compilation remains Trevor's favorite book about that election, for those of you who know my fellow politics-frenzied sidekick.

Go check it out. Some of my favorite insights, incidentally, come from the Democratic primary. And I continue to swoon over the state of the Obama marriage. Such good stuff there, seriously.

Wow.

Maggie says:
It's real, folks: Change.gov.

Parsing the Win

Mikaela says:
Anxious, for some reason, to see more analysis of voter turnout and slicing and dicing the vote.

First in, from NPR's PlanetMoney, is a chart showing McCain's loss of support compared to Bush in 2004 in suburban areas.


Anyone seen a good chart of voter turnout?

Maybe I don't believe it yet. Maybe I want even more reasons to feel proud and happy and ... grateful to the voters in this country.

Everywhere I go, people are just so stunned to have a president they really admire.

I'M SO PROUD OF YOU, NORTH CAROLINA!!!

Maggie boasts:

My home state turned blue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's 15 electoral votes, bringing Obama up to 364. And that's also an exorcism of a whole lotta political angst over the years. WHOO HOO!!!!!!

Chicago streets

Maggie offers:


City congratulates Obama

Banners congratulating president-elect Barack Obama hang Wednesday outside of City Hall and the Cook County Building in downtown Chicago.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Go Listen

Maggie says:
Bill Moyers fans out there, you've got to listen to his interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air today. Moyers' thoughts on race, the South, modern politics, and Obama are just right-on. And if you're already a Bill Moyers fan, you know the man knows how to spin a phrase.

I love take-no-prisoners analysis of the racist South from a Southerner. As Moyers puts it: "a stone has lifted," whether the Deep South likes it or not.

Oh my. Go listen: Bill Moyers' View of Contemporary America.

Victory dinner

Maggie says:
Just me and my deadlines, home alone, trying not to write up my fantasy cabinet instead of the transit funding application I'm supposed to be doing. You know, the usual... :-)

Here's the view from where I sit tonight. Back soon.



I Miss You, New Mexico: ancho chile stew + blue corn green chile muffins

November 5: Next Phase

marjorie says...

m-pyre has been around for a long time now. So long that I can refer back to a blog from the morning after the 2004 presidential election, the one in which Americans picked George W. Bush for a second term. On that morning, I was depressed and felt very much on the outside of power. Interestingly, while not depressed this morning, I find that I am still outside power. I like the company I’m keeping also.

I want to thank Mikaela for reminding us yesterday of Bush. I don’t view the choice we all made last night as a rejection of the current president, although that sentiment certainly helped. If it had been a different candidate, maybe I’d be saying last night was an indictment.

But Obama’s campaign transcended the immense displeasure with the Bush years. It reached deep into our collective psyche, challenging us to believe in our country, to embrace diversity and multiculturalism, and to become engaged.

Nice words. But not meaningless. Too many of us want to believe, but don't quite. We want to embrace diversity, but still gravitate to our clan. And to become engaged, to assume a share of the responsibility for our collective welfare, really does require belief and at least the willingness to step outside one's comfort zone of family and culture.

Many of us often say that most Americans actually share left of center values, which I’ll sum up with the simple maxim that we are our brother’s keeper. Yes, before Che there was Jesus. I will claim both to symbolize the two sides of our politics.

Who can forget the neglect we witnessed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? The impotent rage so many of us felt toward a government that let the poor--overwhelmingly African American--perish in New Orleans has been somewhat salved by this election.

The majority who deeply believe that we are our brothers and sisters keepers came out and voted last night. Obama has been delivered a mandate by the people outside the construct of power. It wasn’t just a landslide of those who always vote. They were joined by an enormous number of first-time voters, many of whom are well into their adult years.

Will this mandate, stemming from an unprecedented engagement among people long disempowered by the system, be squandered?

As I do periodically here, let me remind folks about something. Obama said last night that this election isn’t about him, it’s about us. He's right. He is a flesh and blood man who has a heavy burden. He can pick all the experts in the world to advise him, but none of it will be a magic bullet. If real change is to happen—universal health care, good education and nutrition for all the children in this country, decriminalization of the poor, a clean and healthy environment—it has to happen by the continued engagement of the people who delivered the mandate in the first place.

I never thought I'd say this in relation to presidential politics--because I rarely am inspired by anyone at that level and generally think the best politics are local--but I believe we have just entered into a "next phase." I promise to stay positive and to venture out into uncomfortable terrain, if you guys will.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Where are we?

In the same town, but not together right now!

Mikaela: Holding down her homestead, taking it all in!!!

Marjorie: Surveying the scene with SWOP and joining the NM Dem party later on.

Me: Holed up in a hotel room, too obsessed with the news to join the NM Dem party next door just yet. Twittering through the night via Web or phone.

V-day

Mikaela says:
My compatriots doing their civic and patriotic duties in the field, it's left to me, corporate slave, to keep the lights on here at m-pyre.

  1. Take your neighbor and/or your office-mate and Go Vote. Find out where here (note English or Spanish toggle choice to the right) or here (includes GoogleMap) or here (includes a check to see if you're registered). NM sample ballot and polling places here.
  2. Be sure to file a report of voting irregularites AT YOUR POLLING LOCATION. Get names of witnesses (poll workers) if possible. Follow up with a call to your Secretary of State. In NM, that's Mary Herrera: 505.827.3600 or 800.477.3632 or email MaryE.Herrera@state.nm.us
  3. Call 1-866-Our-Vote (1-866-687-8683), a nation-wide voter protection service, staffed by lawyers who can give state-specific support to those experiencing voter suppression or any other problem. Then call in/text voting irregularities here or here (data collection ONLY - not official).
  4. Find a party to watch the election returns tonight. As Marjorie told me, no one should be alone to witness this historic event. You know you've been invited somewhere... just go! If not, join a local organization watching at your favorite watering hole, or your family, or your political party of choice.
  5. Keep your thoughts and comments flowing on m-pyre. You know we love to get snarky and starry-eyed!
  6. No matter who you voted for, remember to say goodbye to Bush. Maybe now is the time to jot down a few memories. Then burn them outside in a special ceremony.
Here are some thoughts from a few American writers to get your creative juices flowing via Dan Froomkin:
Tobias Wolf writes about get-togethers with friends: "When we meet for dinner we do our best to take up other subjects - books, gossip, movies, our children - but then, like the addicts we've become, we sneak back to the drug of outrage, shooting up the latest barefaced lie and squalid revelation, not forgetting to list yet again the national and global catastrophes brought about by the incompetence, hypocrisy, muddleheadedness, venality, truculence, mendacity, callousness, zealotry, machismo, lawlessness, cynicism, wishful thinking, and occasional downright evil of the administration of George W Bush. Our economy is in freefall, our public school system a disgrace, our military exhausted, the wounded and traumatised dying of neglect, yea, the very earth groaning for relief - and he's optimistic! Yessiree! Looking forward to it! Leaning toward us over the podium with that exasperated little squint and that impatient, dentist-drill voice, utterly at a loss as to how he got saddled with a nation of such gloomy Guses and crybabies.

"Eddying around our own indignation again and again, as if caught in some Bermuda Triangle of complaint, we are unable not to remind each other of the fatal character of George Bush's incomprehension, the thousands upon thousands who have died by his blithe actions and inactions, and his inability to understand at any level - political, moral, emotional - the terrible damage he has done...

"There - I've stepped in the trap again. I can't help it. And for many of us that has been a defining condition of life in George W Bush's reign, this unanswerable need to register anew and aloud our shock and dismay, indeed our disbelief, at finding him at the wheel as we wake each morning."

Or this little gem:

Joseph L. Galloway writes in his McClatchy Newspapers opinion column: "They played on our fears like a mighty Wurlitzer Organ, frightening us with lies into an unnecessary war in Iraq. Frightening us into re-electing George Bush, even after we knew that he was anything but presidential, anything but intelligent, anything but a worthy, effective leader.

"They frightened us so badly that we voluntarily surrendered the precious rights that a million American soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and others bought for us with their lives during two centuries of freedom and democracy.

"They used fear to violate international law, to torture and imprison thousands of suspected enemies without charges or trials. They used fear and invoked national security to suspend the right of habeas corpus, the foundation of our freedoms.

"For these and far too many other sins and transgressions to list in so short a space as this, we the people have every right, and perhaps a duty, to cast them aside, and with them their only hope of avoiding justice and judgment -- John McCain, who voted with them 90 percent of the time."

So long Bush! May you be perpetually embalmed in the legacy you deserve. May you be haunted with the success of all you tried to do.

Monday, November 03, 2008

(Updated) Alire Garcia explains Journal endorsement: It's an "Opinion of One"

marjorie says...

Update: Former Abq. Journal Writer & Editorial Board member Denise Tessier has now also added her description of Journal editorial decisions, which you can read here. Tessier also included a description of the 2004 endorsement of G.W. Bush--as it turns out, the recommendation from the editorial board at that time was to endorse Kerry or to decline to endorse. But the "corner office" went with Bush.

Before I dash back out to the doors this afternoon, here are a couple of things for you to read.

First, NMI Managing Director David Alire Garcia explains the Abq. Journal endorsement of John McCain. David was on the Journal editorial board for many years, as it turns out, and makes a strong case that the endorsement is the "Opinion of One" -- that of Abq. Journal owner Tom Lang. Truly, it's a must read.

Then, if you're interested in my meager offerings, please check out the story I put together about Salvador Montes, who voted for the first time this year. I've known Salvador for years, and really enjoyed chatting with him about why he became a citizen this year. And I was surprised by what he said...that it was due to an increasing sense of insecurity and fear of deportation--even though he's held a permanent green card since the 1980s.

Eve a.m. check-in

Maggie says:
I woke up feeling positive today. The time change meant it was bright and sunny, and I actually got out of bed when the alarm went off for a change. There's stuff to do. An election to win. Several elections to win, actually. But it feels right to me this morning.

How are you all feeling?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Forrester Halloween 2008: Villaraigosa & Heinrich pay us a visit

marjorie says...

Another Halloween on Forrester has come and gone. As ever it was a madhouse!
Here are some pictures:




Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Democratic Congressional candidate Martin Heinrich came knocking early. Martin's two boys got some candy and Eric & Mindy got their picture taken. That's me, Mikaela and Eric paying attention to the kids in the background.






















Here's Mikaela manning the candy--those are the pumpkins she and Eric carved. And on the right is one of the neighbors houses. Lot's of lights on Halloween, and it's always a party.


One of my neighbors likes to pull out these spooky dolls in a highchair.
It freaks me out so I can only imagine how the children feel.



Here's Rick and Bernadette Miera's house (the Mieras are the Halloween ringleaders on the street). If you look closely, you can see Rick on the porch. You can also see the books that one of our County Commissioners, Alan Armijo, was handing out. One of our other County Commissioners, Teresa Cordova, was also on hand. Teresa comes to Forrester every year for Halloween, and she usually dresses up in a way spooky outfit. This year was no different--why didn't I get a picture?!


Yep, this was pretty predictable!


View from the street of my house.


Mindy and Mikaela handing out candy to the hordes.
Thanks to everyone who came and helped out!

Mr. November

Maggie says:
I've been looking for an excuse to play The National on m-pyre for years. Then it hit me: the first of November! "Mr. November!" I love this song. So enjoy our house fave, and have a happy Saturday. And a happy November. FOUR MORE DAYS, folks!!!!