Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Juarez resident says violence is U.S. responsibility (duh)

marjorie says...

In addition to New Mexico’s congressional delegation, a Ciudad Juarez taco vendor is glad to see the U.S. government ramp up security on the border. Here’s what Andres Balderas told a reporter from Reuters:

“This is what we have wanted for so long. People can leave their houses again,” said taco seller Andres Balderas in Ciudad Juarez, the bloodiest flashpoint in Mexico’s drug war. Cartel violence has killed 2,000 people in the city in the past year.

“They should have done it a long time ago, given they are responsible for this drug demand and violence,” Balderas added.

I guess he told us.

It gets better. Not only is U.S. demand for the drugs fueling the conflict, we also sell the drug cartels their guns:

As President Felipe Calderon stakes his presidency on an army-led war on drug cartels, he has urged Washington to crack down on weapons smuggling to Mexico, where nine of every 10 guns recovered from crime scenes and raids are traced to U.S. deals.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Guv, say it isn't so! Conference Committees need to be open

marjorie says...

Heath Haussamen tells us that the Governor is actually considering veto'ing the conference committee bill that opens those meetings to the public--even though he previously promised to sign it:

“The governor has concerns about what appear to be major loopholes in the
bill,” Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos wrote tonight in an e-mail. “…The
governor is taking his time to scrutinize the bill.”

not what Richardson said on Thursday when asked by a reporter during a news
conference if he would sign
House Bill 393, sponsored by Rep. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, should it pass the

Richardson said at that news conference. The bill passed
the Senate
that night on a vote of 33-8.
Guv, say it isn't so!

Veto'ing this bill would be a really bad move. New Mexico needs greater transparency in politics, and this bill is a crucial step in that direction.

You can tell the Governor what you think by calling 505-476-2200, or emailing him.

Friday, March 20, 2009

TV for the Social Learners

Mikaela says:
Apropos of absolutely nothing, I cannot WAIT for the new TV series Parks and Recreation - with Amy Poehler as mid-level bureaucrat. Set to premiere April 9.

The pool of potential humor about this pseudo-sister planning department is too good, too rich.

I just hope they can exploit it to its full potential. The teasers on NBC so far have been GREAT fodder for optimism.

And as an aside, I'm slightly interested in the prospect of a new show on Fox by Amy's husband, Will Arnett, with Mitch Hurwitz and Jason Bateman -- all of former Arrested Development glory -- and Pushing Daisies' Kristin Chenoweth, whom I adore. Scarily, it's animated, but ... worked for the Simpsons, I guess.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Our weak government and corporate blackmail

marjorie says...

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich on the apparent thumbing of its nose by AIG Insurance to the federal government's demand that it not hand out at least a $100 million in executive bonuses:

This sordid story of government helplessness in the face of massive taxpayer commitments illustrates better than anything to date why the government should take over any institution that's "too big to fail" and which has cost taxpayers dearly. Such institutions are no longer within the capitalist system because they are no longer accountable to the market. So to whom should they be accountable? When taxpayers have put up, and essentially own, a large portion of their assets, AIG and other behemoths should be accountable to taxpayers. When our very own Secretary of the Treasury cannot make stick his decision that AIG's bonuses should not be paid, only one conclusion can be drawn: AIG is accountable to no one. Our democracy is seriously broken.

Reich is right, to an extent. He fails to acknowledge that our democracy has always been a highly controlled system, with a government that often acts as an arm of big corporations.

A good example is probably going to happen this very week, when the state legislature agrees to let Sun Cal Corporation pad its bottom line with tax payer money to the tune of about $800 million over the next quarter century.

We've already done that for Mesa del Sol, and you can bet that both companies will be coming back with their hands out again, for more.

Sun Cal says they won't even issue the bonds until they've built the infrastructure and proven they can successfully raise the tax base. So, they're going to operate at a deficit until then? No, this means they don't need the bond money to build their project.

It's corporate blackmail, pure and simple--Sun Cal says they'll simply build sprawling housing tracts otherwise, with big box stores.

And as ever, our very weak government is going to fall for it. To a company that is experiencing mass bankruptcies in other states.

Have they not noticed that there is no market for those sprawling housing tracts?

It's business as usual. But what may be the case is that New Mexico hasn't actually realized yet that--whatever you want to call it--this system we have is indeed broken.

Caution and prudence should be the raison d'etre at the Roundhouse when it comes to corporate tax subsidies. Especially when it comes to diverting huge future tax revenue streams to a massive out of state real estate company that is struggling to salvage major projects throughout the west.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Showering Mikaela (and a bonus rant)

Maggie says:
Confession: I don't really understand "bridal showers."

Since no one I knowlike subscribes to the theory that it's necessary to have a gathering where women can talk appliances and congratulate the bride-to-be on getting a ring out of some hapless shmuck so that in a few months' time, she can proudly proclaim herself "Mrs. John Doe" and not die of humiliation that she's not going to be single at 25, well... no thanks. That's not me at all. Also, it goes without saying, I really dislike wedding-related shower games.

Now, if we interpret the bridal shower to be purely symbolic, as a tradition of women gathering to support one another in the way that only women can, that's another thing entirely. If the goal of a shower is to, literally, shower love and support and wisdom upon a fellow woman, well why not do just that? A shower where women bring their own advice, lessons, blessings, and funny stories based entirely on their experiences... now that sounds like a true community-building kind of celebration. No toilet paper games necessary. Nothing more than the shared experience of people you care about surrounding you.

This brings to me baby showers, for a couple of reasons.

First, I think baby showers are a fantastic idea for all the reasons I dislike traditional bridal showers. Back in the day, it was a lot more necessary to give basic household goods to someone getting married, as she was likely moving straight out of her parents' house into a house with her husband. And back in the day, now-antiquated gender stereotypes were very much the norm. But these days, we've lived alone and accumulated our own things already. Even more, most of us are already living with the person we'll marry. But having a baby is something else entirely. There are things you need that you never even knew existed. There are tips needed for how to use these things you didn't know existed. Babies are expensive, and getting gifts to help ease that expense is fantastic.

Also, the gender disparity of baby showers is less troubling to me. Women give birth, men do not, simple as that. Although women and men (thankfully) parent equally, gender-specific knowledge has real value in the birthing of the child. With a marriage, women and men enter into marriage equally, as partners. The antiquated setup of "Bride, let us congratulate you!" and "Sorry man, guess it's your time to step up" is why a traditional bridal shower isn't modern or helpful. But with a baby, "here's what you need to feed your baby from your own body" is woman-to-woman advice that is priceless. (I've been to co-ed baby showers, by the way, and love them... I'm merely speculating on why women-only baby showers don't bother me like 1950s-era bridal showers do.)

Baby showers are on my brain because I recently returned from one very special shower and am about to attend another. My sister's shower on Saturday will be great fun, will have games (and I'll play them happily just for you, sis!), and will be a fantastic way to spend the afternoon. But I really want to take a moment to describe Mikaela's baby shower a few weeks ago, because it was very easily the best shower I've ever attended. Why? In New Mexico, more than any other place I know, there is an openness of expression that enables folks to translate symbolism into active expressions in a way that is completely real and graceful.

Sitting in a circle, we each brought blessings for Mikaela and her baby, and shared them together. These blessings were read or sung by each of us in turn, all women who are a part of Mikaela's life, and the experience was beautiful. There was so much laughter, more than a few happy tears, and lots of hugging. Mikaela opted to have general baby gifts at another setting, so on this night, we each brought baby shoes instead. Is there anything cuter than baby shoes, after all? The significance of that circle will be represented in her baby's birth, too. At the end of the month when Mikaela goes into labor, we're each going to light a candle that we won't blow out until her little one is born.

What was special about that night was the literal blessings that we brought with us. They weren't represented in the shoes, they were represented by our voices, in our words that we read and then presented to be bound into a book. It only took us each doing that in turn, as part of a group, to turn those individual thoughts into a collective moment and a truly meaningful night. Here we are, surrounding our baby shoes:

And back to bridal showers... they're simply not me. My brain gets fuzzy at the incongruities; that's just who I am. But I love parties honoring the couple together (dinners, cookouts, any excuse for a party) or themed showers, like books (I know, nerd alert) or booze ("stock the bar" etc.).

What's the modern "bride" (still hate that word, I admit it) and mom-to-be to do?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Six-word love

Maggie says:
I was going to do a great post this morning on a book that everyone should go and buy: Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak: by Writers Famous and Obscure. I was going to ditch the usual favorite excerpts and reel you in by including some of the six-word sentiments that spoke most to me. Then I was going to complete the sale by noting that my dear friend Saleem is one of the "writers famous and obscure" quoted in the book, and that his six words are funny and true and very much who he is.

But then I woke up to a howling storm, with the temperature 40 degrees below where it was when I fell asleep, my work scattered all over the place, etc. In my rush to leave, I left the book at home.


This is a book you should own. You'll laugh and smile and wince. If you're as dorky as I am, you'll go about your errands amusing yourself by speaking only in six-word sentiments. Then you'll wonder why you didn't come up with the idea for this book first. And how much more fulfilling things could be if you ran a little publishing company out of your apartment and got to be surrounded by yummy words all day long. Hmmm...

This is an example of a project that takes on a life of its own: the blog for this book is a growing repository of other folks' six-word memoirs. Go read. Go write! Go contribute.

See ya over there?

Oh, and if love and heartbreak isn't your thing, here's the original. How about six-word political memoirs next?

Monday, March 09, 2009

I heart Meghan McCain

Maggie admits:
I've gotta hand it to Cindy and John McCain. I may not be either of their biggest fans, but I am most definitely crushing on their independent-minded, free-thinking daughter Meghan.

We all remember Meghan's blogging during the campaign, where she raised a few eyebrows for discussing music and makeup in the mix of what was obviously a dead-from-the-start campaign on the part of her father. Although she never elucidated her politics beyond her general support of her father, her sense of humor was what really sparked interest in what she had to say.

Post-election, Meghan's been writing an online column for The Daily Beast. Let's take a look at her two latest posts.

Looking for Mr. Far Right
: Here, Meghan dives in the murky world of dating when every guy in the world knows your dad's politics.

Of all the things people warned would happen post-election, no one ever said anything about how complicated dating would become... at this point in time, nothing kills my libido quite like discussing politics...
She goes on to explain that hardcore "McCainiacs" are just as much of a turnoff as hardcore Obama fans. I can see why. Girl is in a tough position on this one.

This week, Meghan published My Beef with Ann Coulter, and was able to accomplish something Republicans have struggled with for years: she distanced herself from the nastiest wing of her party while grounding herself in its center. First up, Meghan admits that President Obama is "the hippest politician around," while being a Republican is "about as edgy as Donny Osmond." Here's where the magic happens:
Certain individuals continue to perpetuate negative stereotypes about Republicans. Especially Republican women. Who do I feel is the biggest culprit? Ann Coulter. I straight up don’t understand this woman or her popularity. I find her offensive, radical, insulting, and confusing all at the same time.
Meghan then goes on to challenge Coulter on several of her controversial statements, blatantly asking her if she really believes the ridiculousness that she spouts. This type of questioning from Coulter's own party is so, so important. Now granted, progressives might be better off if all of America could dismiss Republicans out of hand as being clones of Ann Coulter (certainly, this is a strategy currently in play regarding Rush Limbaugh). But for my money, I'd rather rid us all of the hate speech propagated by people, and yes, especially women, like Ann Coulter. Their contribution to the world is pure poison, and we'd all be better off without it, simple as that. Kudos to Meghan McCain for taking her on and explaining her own point of view with courageous simplicity:
I am not suggesting that extreme conservatism wasn’t once popular, nor am I suggesting I should in any way be any kind of voice for the party. I have been a Republican for less than a year. Still, even after losing the election, I find myself more drawn to GOP ideals and wanting to fight for the party’s resurgence. And if figureheads like Ann Coulter are turning me off, then they are definitely turning off other members of my generation as well. She does appeal to the most extreme members of the Republican Party—but they are dying off, becoming less and less relevant to the party structure as a whole. I think most people my age are like me in that we all don’t believe in every single ideal of each party specifically. The GOP should be happy to have any young supporters whatsoever, even if they do digress some from traditional Republican thinking.
To me, Meghan McCain is the type of McCain more voters would have liked to see on the campaign trail last fall. At least one of the family actually understands what "straight talk" really means.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


marjorie says...

I just want to say, m-pyre is really playing second fiddle to a certain wedding blog.

Sorry for outing you Maggie!

In the meantime, anyone who's interested really should hit Mags up for the URL. Aside from my hurt that our lovely m-pyre has been so neglected, it's a really amazing chronicle of a journey toward marriage.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Justice Ginsburg stickin' it to the Boys Club

Maggie cites, from USA Today:

When asked why, on her second day back on the bench, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg attended President Obama's televised speech to a joint session of Congress, she responded:

"First, I wanted people to see that the Supreme Court isn't all male. I also wanted them to see I was alive and well, contrary to that senator who said I'd be dead within nine months."

Love her.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Tidd Wars

marjorie says...

On occasion, there are priceless moments in the blogosphere. One such moment came this morning when I cycled over to Monahan to see what fodder he was throwing up from the pool of anonymity he wades in. Lo and Behold, under a heading called "No Domestic Tranquility," he's got an Ad against the SunCal Tidds. It's a black box saying "Bail out Suncal? Get Real" and it takes you to this website.

Too bad Joe didn't have a little pro-bono spirit working--he could have run it right next to the banner Suncal Tidds ad he's had at the top of his site forever now.

Suncal has run a massive lobbying campaign to get their TIDDs--with television, billboards, direct mail, radio, and internet ads all pointing to their website,, which then directs people to communicate with their legislators in favor of TIDDs for Suncal. It's pretty fancy--they have forms, sample letters, you name it.

In a letter to the Santa Fe New Mexican, published today, Suncal representative Vanessa Alarid responds to what she calls a "recent paid political ad campaign against development by our group" by saying its been well-demonstrated that TIDDs work and that all the facts are at And she concludes that some people are "pulling against prosperity."


I don't know when not being in favor of massive--literally MASSIVE--tax subsidies to wealthy developers became synonymous with being "against development." It certainly is not.

And fyi, doesn't actually contain much in the way of facts--as in, the kind that demonstrate that $800 billion given to SunCal will give us something we couldn't have gotten without it. It's pure P.R. Go see for yourself.

Not to mention, do we really want to pave over that 55,000 acres? Check out that multi-media spot on their website--it's scary.