Monday, December 31, 2007
Here's to a Progressive Twenty Oh Eight!
Auld Lang Syne ala Jimi
Check out 2008 New Year's Webcams from around the globe.
By Midnight: Last Chance to Support Candidates in 2007
The final campaign fundraising quarter of 2007 ends tonight at Midnight. Good numbers at this point in the election cycle can create buzz, mojo and and edge for candidates, especially those who might not be getting the full-throttle praise routine from the conventional, politics as usual crowd. If you support a candidate who's an underdog of sorts, or who's a particular favorite of yours, now's the time to kick in a few more bucks to top off the year. Donate the cost of a couple of bottles of champagne and you won't have a headache in the morning.
Here are the candidates I'm personally supporting with donations as 2007 edges towards the New Year:
NM-01: Martin Heinrich
Heinrich's environmental credentials are impeccable. He's smart, reasonable, honest and a very hard worker. He fought for working people, ethics reform, and green innovations on the Albuquerque City Council and I know he'll do the same in Washington. He's been working his you know what off since he entered the race, and his common sense, progressive views are top of the line. Added bonus: if you donate between now and Midnight, you get a chance at a free dinner with Martin at Scalo (or a NM goodie package if you live outside the area or can't make it in person). Donate to the Heinrich campaign.
NM-02: Bill McCamley
If you heard Dona Ana County Commissioner McCamley speak at this Fall's Dem Party SCC meeting or at another gathering this year, you know what I mean about his energy, commitment to Democratic principles and enthusiasm. He's been driving the district for months, racking up thousands of miles on his car and gaining coverts wherever he goes. He's running a creative, truly grassroots campaign and has attracted more than $200,000 in donations so far, most of them small. His campaign office in Las Cruces opens next month. According to some of the powers that be, Democrats in the 2nd District are all supposed to fall in line and support old-line oilman Harry Teague now that Rep. Joe Cervantes is out of the race. Does that sound like a wise choice at a time when development issues and a critical transformation to a renewable energy economy are the hot topics? Donate to the McCamley campaign.
NM-03: Don Wiviott
I strongly supported Wiviott's courageous jump into the U.S. Senate race when everyone else was afraid to confront incumbent Sen. Pete Domenici. When Rep. Tom Udall decided to run for Senate, Don bowed out and endorsed him because they share so many of the same values. They are a lot alike. Wiviott is now running for Congress in the Third District and I'm still supporting him as a candidate. His progressive positions are on the mark, he's a fighter through and through and he's passionately committed to the big changes we need to meet the unique challenges of this turbulent era. Donate to the Wiviott campaign.
State Senate District 15: John Blair
I got to know Blair via Dem Party activities and he's definitely one of the good guys. He's going up against an incumbent Republican who pretends to be "moderate" but votes like she's owned by all the wrong campaign donors. We need a real Democrat in this seat and Blair is that in spades. This race is expected to be a long, fierce battle and Blair needs resources now to start things off with an edge. Donate to the Blair campaign.
Of course there are many other excellent Dem candidates who'll need our support in the coming year, but I believe these four will benefit most from a strong fundraising showing this quarter. If you agree with my choices, I hope you'll give a few bucks to each. If not, I hope you'll decide to contribute to your own slate of candidates who need it most right now. And I mean now.
To read our previous coverage on these races, visit our archives:
Top Whatever Lists for 2007
Top 10 Signs Your Country May Be Going Fascist
On the last day of the year it's traditional to review what's gone on in the previous 12 months. I've compiled a bunch of "best of" and "top ten" lists from a variety of sources. What have I missed? Do you have any additions?
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Wexler's Impeach Cheney Effort Gaining Momentum
Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) has joined with two other members of the House Judiciary Committee -- Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wi) -- to urge the start of hearings on the Cheney impeachment resolution that was referred to the committee by the U.S. House on November 7th. Learn more at WexlerWantsHearings.com, where you can read an op-ed by the three representatives and sign a petition in support of impeachment hearings that will be submitted to Congress when they return in January. So far, more than 166,000 people have signed it.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Ball of Confusion
(That's what the world is today, hey, hey.)
When I was having my coffee this morning and reading the newspaper (really), this is the song that popped into my head. It came to me that our predominant cultural mental state these days can only be characterized as confusion -- as in a lack of clarity, an inability to make sense out of what's going on and ascertain what the next step should be. Everyone I talk to seems to be in this mode. You can see expressions of the confusion everywhere.
What really happened to Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan? Who did it and why? What does it mean? What can we do? What impact will her death have on us all?
You can see it in the presidential primary. No clear favorite. Voters moving restlessly from candidate to candidate with little faith that any one of them can handle what's been set in motion and what's coming up.
What is the Bush machine really up to here and abroad? Why don't the Democrats seem to have a grasp of the true emergency nature of the crises? Why won't they carry out the will of the people? Who can we trust? Who can we believe?
Bush and company have put us into such a black hole on every front that it becomes almost impossible to imagine solutions to the enormous, evolving problems he's created. Too many seem to be in total denial of what's happening, clinging to consumerism, celebrity gossip and day to day trivialities to shield them from the scary realities piling up. The rest cast about searching for strategies that might prompt real change, or seek leaders who might come from nowhere to give us some answers, show us a way, inspire us to courageous acts. None of these seem to be in sight, even on the far horizon.
Meanwhile, the ball of confusion becomes more frenzied and roiling with each passing day. Sometimes all anyone of good faith can do is bear witness and attempt to gather strength to weather the worsening storms. I can't even being to fathom the violent and fierce confusions that 2008 may bring us, can you? We're already dazed and confused from so many problems coming to a head -- in synchronicity. Who's to say what the aftershocks and consequences will be to all the tumoil boiling up today? Conspiracies within mysteries within distortions ... Is there any light at the end of this tunnel?
Final Observances Announced for Sen. Ben Altamirano
From the office of the New Mexico Senate Democrats:
Santa Fe, NM—Details of the official observances in the State Capitol Rotunda in Santa Fe and public services in Silver City for Senate President Pro Tempore Ben D. Altamirano (D-Catron, Grant & Socorro-28) were released today. Senator Altamirano died suddenly and unexpectedly on Thursday evening, December 27th, at his family home in Silver City.
Senator Altamirano’s body will lie in state for public viewing beginning at 8:30 AM and ending at 5:00 PM on Monday, December 31, 2007 at the State Capitol Rotunda in Santa Fe. A memorial service honoring Senator Altamirano will commence at 11:00 AM on Monday. Speakers that day will include Senate majority and minority leaders, Barbara Richardson, New Mexico’s First Lady, Diane Denish, New Mexico’s Lieutenant Governor who is acting Governor in the absence of Governor Bill Richardson, majority and minority leaders of the New Mexico House of Representatives and other leading public officials.
Members of Senator Altamirano’s immediate family will be present for the memorial service. “We invite the people of New Mexico to come pay their last respects to this great leader and legislator,” said Senator Michael S. Sanchez (D-Valencia-29), the Senate Majority Leader.
On Wednesday, January 2, 2008, the public may pay their respects from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM at Bright Funeral Home, 210 W. College Ave., Silver City, New Mexico. A Rosary will then be recited at 7:00 PM that evening at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 420 W. Market Street, Silver City, New Mexico – which was Senator Altamirano’s parish church. The funeral mass will take place at 10:00 AM on Thursday, January 3, 2008, also at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church. Internment will follow at Memory Lane Cemetary, Memory Lane Road, Silver City.
Flowers and messages may be sent to the family home at 1123 Santa Rita Street, Silver City, New Mexico 88061. The family has requested that memorial gifts in Senator Altamirano’s honor be sent to the New Mexico Heart Association, 2201 San Pedro, NE, Building 2, Suite 102, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110. The Association may also be contacted at 505-353-5800.
See our previous post on the passing of Sen. Ben Altamirano.
Friday, December 28, 2007
(Updated) R.I.P. State Senator Ben Altamirano: 1930-2007
Senator Ben. D. Altamirano:
October 17, 1930 - December 27, 2007
UPDATE 12.29.07: See our subsequent post for details about final observances to honor Sen. Altamirano.
Ben Altamirano, the New Mexico Legislature's Senate President Pro-Tem, passed away Thursday at his home in Silver City at the age of 77 after a heart attack. In recent years he had suffered with coronary problems and underwent surgery. He was also hospitalized in 1981 after suffering a heart attack. According to an AP article, Gov. Bill Richardson made the announcement late Thursday, saying Altamirano was a true statesman whose love for New Mexico helped him earn the respect of everyone who crossed his path.
"I am deeply saddened by the passing of a great New Mexican and my dear friend, Benny Altamirano. ... Benny will be dearly missed," Richardson said.
Click to read a statement (pdf) released this afternoon by Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez on behalf of the New Mexico Democratic Senators. An update on funeral arrangements is expected to be available soon at the New Mexico Senate Democrats website.
According to a report by KRQE News:
Senate Majority Whip Mary Jane Garcia of Doña Ana saw him last week when Democrats caucused in advance of the opening of the Legislature on Jan. 15.
"He looked so healthy and so happy looking forward to the holidays," she told KRQE News 13. "We were visiting and chit-chatting.
"Then he was in caucus, and there we were discussing the healthcare initiatives that are going to come before the session. He's always been a kind of peacemaker working with both sides of the aisle."
Senator Altamirano, a prominent Democrat, represented District 28 encompassing most of Catron, Grants and Soccoro Counties since 1971, and was the longest serving member of the New Mexico Legislature. For 17 of those years he held the powerful post of Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Over the years he served on Senate Committees dealing with public school appropriations, capital outlay funding and conservation. For the last three years he was President Pro-Tem, following Democrat Richard Romero in that post.
Governor Richardson will appoint a replacement Senator from among a list of nominees recommended by the county commissions in the three counties represented in District 28.
Altamirano worked in insurance and retail outside the Legislature and unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor in 1994. He was one of four Democratic candidates that year in a primary election race won by Patricia Madrid.
Born in Silver City on Oct. 17, 1930, Sen. Altamirano enlisted in the United States Army in 1946 and served with the European occupation forces during World War II. Upon returning to Grant County, he attended Western New Mexico University. He served as a Grant County commisssioner from 1966 to 1970 and a city councilor in Silver City from 1960 to 1970 before he got elected to the Legislature. For 40 years Altamirano also owned several grocery stores.
He is survived by his wife, Nina Melendez; his two sons, Ben Jr. and Paul; and daughter, Yolanda Manzano.
Democratic Women of Sandoval County to Host CD1 Candidate Forum
Meet the Congressional District 1 Candidates
Democratic Women of Sandoval County
You are invited to a candidate forum featuring the Democratic candidates for House of Representatives District 1
Town Council Chambers, Town of Bernalillo City Hall
829 Camino del Pueblo, Bernalillo
The public is invited to attend. Come get acquainted with your candidates. Questions and answers will follow the candidate presentations. Refreshments will be served.
DWSC Regular Meeting
Wednesday January 2, 2008, 6:30 PM
Social time at 6 PM
The agenda for this meeting includes the election of officers for this coming year and reports by all our committees. Please attend if you possibly can. Please note the earlier meeting time. Our meetings are always open to the public. Come join our club. Bring your neighbors and friends. We welcome visitors and new members. For more information: Janice Saxton 867-1139 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Kucinich Joins New Mexico Caucus Candidates
From the Democratic Party of New Mexico:
Registered Democrats in the State of New Mexico have one more choice for the February 5th Presidential Preference Caucus. Congressman Dennis Kucinich filed this morning to join Governor Bill Richardson, Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Chris Dodd, Senator John Edwards, and Senator Barack Obama on the New Mexico ballot.
Kucinich chose to file a signed statement of candidacy and pay a filing fee of $2,500 to the DPNM rather than filing a petition of five thousand (5,000) signatures of registered Democrats from the State of New Mexico.
“The Democratic Party of New Mexico is happy to welcome Congressman Kucinich to the Caucus ballot,” said Chairman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, Brian S. Colón. “The Presidential Preference Caucus will be fully funded and administered by the DPNM at no cost to New Mexico’s taxpayers. Our party is proud to offer as many choices to voters as possible.”
The DPNM has so far received hundreds of requests for absentee ballots, many of which are from members of the military and other New Mexicans living or working abroad. Request forms are currently available for download at www.nmdemocrats.org or by calling the DPNM to have one e-mailed, faxed or mailed. Requests for absentee ballots will be accepted through January 21st, 2008. The DPNM will send out absentee ballots beginning January 12th, 2008. To vote in the Caucus, either by absentee or in person, voters must be registered as Democrat by next Friday, January 4th, 2008.
The Presidential Preference Caucus is a statewide election conducted on February 5th, 2008 for the purpose of voting for the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. The results of this election will be used to determine New Mexico’s allocation of delegates among the Democratic Presidential Candidates to the Democratic National Convention in August 2008. There will be a total of 184 Caucus sites statewide on February 5th, 2008 run by DPNM staff and volunteers.
To volunteer or donate to the Presidential Preference Caucus e-mail email@example.com or call 505-830-3650.
1/13/08: Join Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Parade March
Click for more information. (Click on image for larger version.)
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Acoustic Musical Tour For Kucinich Debuts in Silver City This Friday
SPECIAL NOTE: There is a carload from Las Cruces organizing to attend ROCK THE HOPE in Silver City. If you live in Las Cruces and want to attend the concert, please send an e-mail ASAP to Rick Romero at firstname.lastname@example.org. ROCK THE HOPE WILL BE COMING TO ALBUQUERQUE IN JANUARY 2008. STAY TUNED FOR DETAILS!
Rick Romero, SW Kucinich Campaign, email@example.com, 602-515-9844
Tecton Says 'Frack You': Denies Request to Withdraw Drilling Applications in Santa Fe County
Santa Fe, NM – Tecton Energy, a Houston, Texas based oil and gas company, has denied a request from various conservation groups and individuals to withdraw three applications for permits to drill in Santa Fe County that it recently submitted to the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. On December 22nd three organizations—Forest Guardians, Drilling Santa Fe and Santa Fe Not Oil—and four individuals sent a letter to Tecton asking them to withdraw their applications.
The letter was signed by the majority of participants in the Santa Fe County oil and gas ordinance working group that Commissioner Paul Campos convened for its first meeting on December 13th—the same day that Tecton submitted its three applications. The letter requested that Tecton Energy withdraw the applications because doing so would “demonstrate [Tecton’s] good faith participation in the County’s oil and gas working group.” Further the letter said filing the applications on the same day that the working group convened “show(s) disrespect for the County Commissioners who are trying to responsibly gather relevant community and expert input to inform their decisions.”
In denying the request just two days after it was sent to them, Tecton asserted that it “has an obligation to [mineral] lessors to make a best-efforts attempt to develop the minerals. Filing applications with the State was a necessary step 1 in a multi-stage process required to pursue that goal.”
“Their denial of our request shows that Tecton couldn’t care less about what the people of Santa Fe County think about the real threat of oil and gas development,” said John Horning, Executive Director at Forest Guardians. “They’re putting their corporate profits above the will of the people of Santa Fe County who don’t want to see our landscape transformed into an industrial sacrifice zone,” Horning added.
The groups and individuals that attended the meeting convened by Commissioner Campos on December 13th believe that Tecton’s denial of the request to withdraw the drilling permits is another example of the company’s belief that Santa Fe County has no authority to regulate oil and gas development.
“Tecton’s submission of those permit applications on the same day that they met with us and the County is a symbolic denial of the county’s authority to regulate oil and gas,” said Johnny Micou, a leader of Drilling Santa Fe. “Tecton just keeps thumbing their nose at the majority of the citizens by steamrolling along with their development plans.”
Steve Sugarman, a Galisteo Basin resident and local environmental attorney, who has been a vocal opponent of Tecton’s development plans argues that it is the Commissioners and not just the citizens who should feel snubbed. “Tecton threw sand in the commissioners’ faces when it filed its applications for permits to drill on the morning that the working group first convened,” said Sugarman. “Tecton added insult to injury when it stated at the work group’s first meeting that it is not legally bound to abide by the terms of the County’s moratorium. Clearly, Tecton has no respect for our Commissioners’ authority to regulate land use in the County.”
In light of Tecton’s denial, the groups and individuals that participated in the working group are re-evaluating their next steps. Regardless of the next steps the groups that sent the request to Tecton say they will be participating in Santa Fe county hearings in early January on the proposed ordinance as well as state Oil Conservation Division hearings in early February on the three applications for permit to drill that were the subject of the letter.