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Friday, October 31, 2008

Studs Terkel Checks Out at 96: Curiosity Didn't Kill This Cat

Studscigar StudsCTA

Here's the Chicago Tribune article report on Studs' life, and death. My first thought when I heard? Too bad he couldn't have lived to see another Chicago icon, Barack Obama, be elected, be inaugurated.

I was born and raised in Chicago, and Studs WAS Chicago through and through. He was fascinated with human beings. He fought all his life for social justice. He was funny as hell. He could be tough and gruff, and tender and sentimental. He was full of enlightened street smarts. He was into everything.

He was of the people, by the people, for the people -- especially the ordinary, working people. But he also said, "I admire artists. I admire gifted people." And it showed. It was such an American sentiment then. Not so much now, unfortunately. If there's one thing this culture surely lacks right now, it's admiration for gifted people, for talent and intelligence and free-spirited characters.

For many of my younger years, Studs was often there in the background, on the radio, interviewing everyone -- high and low -- and inserting jazz and folk and gospel in between. A soundtrack to the lives of so many Chicagoland souls.


And then there were the books -- the transcriptions of the real words of real people he drew so deftly into honest conversation. Words he absorbed by truly listening. He gave the words respect -- and an immortality of sorts -- just as he did the people and what they had to do to get through the world.

He never learned to drive. He smoked cigars. He wore red socks and red-checkered shirts. He was an unapologetic lefty, progressive and fearless. He lived for knowledge and stories, which he shared with the world. He was what used to be called a "raconteur." He lived big and wide and passionately and thoroughly, and he saw the humor and the pain in it all. He loved life, as it is and as it should be.

He once said his epitaph should read, "Curiosity didn't kill this cat." And it didn't. It kept him buzzing, till the end. That Studs.

October 31, 2008 at 05:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

NM-01: Darren White Has a Ronald Reagan Ankle Tattoo!

Yes, as we head into the final countdown to election day, there is much to amuse and amaze us. Take this, for instance:


According to Shenanigans at The Politico, that's the ankle of the GOP's Congressional candidate in NM-01, Darren White -- with a tattoo of Ronald Reagan's signature. Who knew?

One wonders, was it love at first sight for Darren? Did he get tattooed while Reagan was refusing to admit HIV-AIDS was killing thousands of Americans, or after he had to cave to overwhelming pressure and say the word AIDS? Was it before or after Reagan busted the air traffic controllers' union? Before or after Ronnie plunged the nation into the continuing horrors of "trickle-down economics"?

Whatever the case, it's clear that Darren was so into Ronnie that he got a permanent tattoo on his bod to proclaim it to the world. Of course, now we're supposed to believe White is "independent" and without partisan hangups. Hard to believe when one considers that Darren White chaired Bernalillo County for George W. and accompanied him to the stage at the 2004 Republican convention. It's hard not to wonder -- does Darren have a Dubya tattoo somewhere on his person? Inquiring minds want to know.

October 31, 2008 at 02:44 PM in NM-01 Congressional Race 2008, Republican Party, Visuals | Permalink | Comments (1)

Today: LA Mayor Villaraigosa at UNM; Countdown to Change Halloween Party at Kelly's

ObamahalloweenHALLOWEEN COUNTDOWN TO CHANGE PARTY AT KELLY'S TONIGHT WITH LA MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA: Tonight (Friday), 6-9 PM: Kelly's, 3222 Central, Nob Hill. Come party with us and the Mayor of Los Angeles before you head out for Halloween night! We know you have other parties to go to, but you can come stop by ours first! Food, music, drinks!! (Stickers and temporary tattoos!!) ALL AGES! More info at Facebook.

LOS ANGELES MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA AT UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO: Campaign for Change table in front of the UNM Student Union. TODAY (Friday) at 3 PM! PLEASE JOIN US!! Come meet one of the nation's most respected and charismatic Mayors at UNM!

Matt Haney, Youth Vote Director, mhaney@nmforchange.com, 505-553-6860. Sign up to VOLUNTEER for the last four days!

October 31, 2008 at 12:41 PM in 2008 General Election Voting, 2008 General Presidential Election, Events, Obama NM Campaign | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday: Mayor Villaraigosa, Sen. Bingaman, Rep. Udall GOTV for Obama


LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, joined by Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Rep. Tom Udall, will kick-off canvassing efforts in Santa Fe, get out the vote in Albuquerque, and encourage local residents to cast their ballots on the last day of Early Vote.

Voters can find Early Vote locations and polling places by coming into any Campaign for Change office, visiting their county clerk’s office, going to www.voteforchange.com or calling 1-877-NM-CHANGE.

Saturday, November 1st:

Santa Fe Campaign For Change Office
720 St. Michaels Drive, Suite 2L

Congress Heights Park (corner of Congress and Irving)

October 31, 2008 at 12:12 PM in 2008 General Election Voting, 2008 General Presidential Election, 2008 NM Senate Race, Events, Obama NM Campaign | Permalink | Comments (0)

NM-03: Ben Ray Luján Featured on Obama Campaign's Latino Outreach Call

Luján being interviewed by Univision at UNM Obama rally

Bravo, Ben Ray. Not yet elected, but already on the national scene. Yesterday, Ben Ray Luján, the Demo nominee for Congress in NM-03, delivered remarks on the weekly Latino outreach conference call held by the Obama campaign. In the last conference call before the election, Luján joined Secretary Frederico Peña, Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, Geoconda Arguello Kline of the Nevada Culinary Union and Senator Obama to deliver remarks to call participants. Over two thousand Latinos are invited to participate in the weekly conference call.

Luján discussed Obama's half hour commercial that aired this week and mentioned the Albuquerque teacher who was highlighted.

"I want to tell you about one of the people featured in that ad," said Luján "Her name is Juliana Sanchez and she is from Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a full time teacher, who needs to take on an additional job to help support her family in these tough economic times. She is working harder and harder, for what seems like less and less."

Luján also talked about the change that an Obama Administration will bring to the country and the state:

"A Barack Obama administration will bring change to Washington and will turn this around, and I look forward to serving in Congress to help Senator Obama bring that change to Washington and our nation," said Luján.

Luján encouraged conference call participants to keep working hard between now and Election Day.

"We only have a few days left," said Luján. "We need you to get on the phone, knock on some doors, drive people to the polls. What waits for us after November 4 is very exciting, but we will only get there with your help."

(Photo by M.E. Broderick. See more.)

October 31, 2008 at 11:47 AM in 2008 General Presidential Election, Minority Issues, NM-03 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)

I WILL VOTE (The Video); Saturday 11/1/08 Last Day to Early Vote

You might recognize three New Mexicans near the end of this video. Hi Michael - Hi Hector - Hi Debra! (Photos from the Dem Convention)

You have until 6:00 PM tomorrow, Saturday, November 1, to early vote in person. See my previous post for more info. Or you can text the word POLL and your zip code to MyTOM (69866) and they'll send you the address of your nearest early vote location. Or you can visit www.voteforchange.com, enter your info and learn where you can early vote.

October 31, 2008 at 10:01 AM in 2008 General Election Voting, 2008 General Presidential Election, Music, Visuals | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

(Updated) 11/2: Gen. Wesley Clark to Stump for Obama in Roswell, Las Cruces

WclarkVery interesting. I've heard General Wesley Clark speak twice in person and he was excellent both times. Hope he's on his game in Southern New Mexico this Sunday. Obama’s Campaign for Change just announced that Gen. Clark will visit New Mexico on Sunday, November 2nd. He'll travel to Roswell and Las Cruces to host two “Change We Need” Town halls to discuss military and economic issues with New Mexican families.

Former Supreme Allied Commander, General Wesley Clark
Sunday, November 2nd

  • 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM, CHANGE WE NEED TOWNHALL
    MIA – POW Park, 912 N. Pennsylvania St., Roswell NM
    Veterans’ Memorial Park
    VFW Post 6917, 5845 Bataan Memorial West
    2551 Roadrunner Parkway, Las Cruces, NM 

October 30, 2008 at 09:16 PM in 2008 General Presidential Election, Events, Veterans | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday: Countdown to Change Events with LA Mayor Villaraigosa, Martin Heinrich


ImagesLos Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and NM-01 Congressional candidate Martin Heinrich will join Albuquerque volunteers tomorrow, October 31, to pound the pavement for Barack Obama and call on students and young professionals to take their country back. Later in the evening, they'll host an event with students and young professionals to stress the importance of this year’s election, discuss the economic challenges facing the next generation of American leaders, and push young voters to take a stand for change in New Mexico. Friday schedule:

  • 4:15– 5:00 PM: Countdown to Change Canvass Kick off, Carlisle Headquarters, 3523 Central Ave NE
  • 5:30–6:30 PM: Countdown to Change Canvassing on Forrester Street NW (between Lomas and Mountain)
  • 7:00–8:00 PM: Countdown to Change Early Vote Event with Students and Young Professionals, Kelly’s Brewpub, 3222 Central Ave SE

October 30, 2008 at 08:19 PM in 2008 General Presidential Election, Events, NM-01 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday: Meet Tom Udall Early Vote Events in Belen, ABQ

On Friday, you can meet U.S. Senate candidate Tom Udall at early voting events in Belen and Albuquerque. The first event will be at Rita's Restaurant at 221 S. Main St. in Belen from 8:30 to 9:30AM. The second will be held from 12:30 to 1:30 PM at Abuelita’s Restaurant, 6083 Isleta Blvd. SW in Albuquerque.

October 30, 2008 at 06:45 PM in 2008 General Election Voting, 2008 NM Senate Race, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Obama Still Up 10 Points Over McCain in Latest Rasmussen; More Tidbits

Obamachesterpa Obamachesterpa2
Determined: Obama in rain in Chester PA (click for larger)

I have to say I'm getting sick of polls at this stage of the game. With all the exotic variables at play in this year's election, who knows how accurate they are? Weighting mistakes are easy when nobody really knows who will vote, and indicators from the past reek of ancient history. Every time I see poll results I think about all those uninformed, unstable, "undecided" voters who are still out there mulling over whether they should vote on the basis of "fun to have a beer with" or "my dog barks when X candidate's ads come on TV." You know what I mean. Grrr.

Still, it's always good to see results that are positive for Dems.The latest Rasmussen poll has Obama with a 10 point lead over McCain, 54-44%, in New Mexico. Obama's lead is down slightly from mid-October when he led McCain 55-42%, but 10 points is still a whale of a difference to make up in just a few days.

A total of 52% of respondents said they trust Obama on economic issues, while only 41% trust McCain. McCain had only a slight edge with trust on national security issues. Men were evenly divided between the two. Women supported Obama by a 19% margin.

Other Tidbits
Rasmussen's electoral vote projections have Obama with the lead in states with 260 Electoral College votes, and McCain ahead in states with 160. With “leaners” included, it’s Obama 313, McCain 160.

In a satisfying bit of news, Obama is trailing McCain in the latest polling by anywhere from 2 to 7 points in Arizona. Arizona! Huffington Post reports that MoveOn and the Obama campaign are making a last-minute push there for voters.

About 33.6 million people watched Obama's 30-minute info ad last night on TV. I thought it was powerful, if a little sappy for my taste. I think it will sit very well with undecided or apprehensive voters. It was great to have a teacher and her family from Albuquerque featured, and to have commentary by Gov. Bill Richardson. What did you think about it?

Newspaper Endorsements: By the way, Obama also leads in daily newspaper endorsements nationwide, with 234 to 105. At least 47 papers have switched to Obama from Bush in 2004, with just four flipping to McCain And several top papers that went for Bush in 2004 have now chosen not to endorse this year. So far in New Mexico, the Las Cruces Sun-News, The Daily Times (Farmington) and the Santa Fe New Mexican have endorsed Obama. To date, the only New Mexico daily to endorse McCain is the Roswell Daily Record.

October 30, 2008 at 05:13 PM in 2008 General Presidential Election, Polling | Permalink | Comments (0)

NM Rep. Dan Silva Got Help with Legal Fees from GOP-Linked PAC

A story yesterday in the New Mexico Independent reported on expenditures by the New Mexico Turn Around PAC to the Dona Ana County Republican Party, as well as six Republican legislative candidates. The article also explained that the majority of donations to the PAC have come from "companies tied to the Yates family of southeastern New Mexico, which is the largest holder of oil and gas leases on federal land in the nation."

The PAC is supporting a number of Republican challengers to Democratic legislative candidates, including Kent Evans (vs. incumbent Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces), Mike Tellez (vs. incumbent Andy Nunez, D-Hatch), Paula Papponi (open seat vs. Jack Thomas, D-Rio Rancho), Cathryn Brown (vs. incumbent John Heaton, D-Carlsbad), Tim Lardner (vs. incumbent Andrew Barreras, D-Tome) and Matt Rush (vs. Jose Campos, D-Santa Rosa). In fact, the majority of the funds raised by these Republican candidates has come from the New Mexico Turn Around PAC. The PAC has also given funds to the Bernalillo County Republican Party and Lisa Torraco, who's challenging incumbent Dem Kari Brandenburg for Bernalillo County District Attorney.

HSILVDan Silva Gets PAC Money
Okay, it's not surprising that the Yates family and related oil and gas interests want to get rid of Democrats and replace them with Republicans who will be more likely to do their bidding with enthusiasm. But what is surprising is that none other than Rep. Dan Silva (right), a long-time Democratic incumbent defeated in the primary last June by challenger Eleanor Chavez, is apparently getting help with his legal fees from the New Mexico Turn Around PAC.

According to a campaign finance report (pdf) filed by the New Mexico Turn Around PAC on October 28, 2008, the PAC paid Rep. Dan Silva $5,000 for what it termed "assist w. legal fees." (See top of page 7 of the report.)

Why would Yates et al. be helping Rep. Dan Silva -- a Dem who's been ousted from his NM House seat in District 13 -- with his legal fees? Other than Silva, the PAC has donated funds only to Republicans. And why would Silva accept such support from a PAC that's working against fellow Democrats?

Also, does any of this tie in with Silva sharing confidential voter registration information with the New Mexico Republican Party that's being used to mount bogus "vote fraud" claims against ACORN?

It's a good guess that the "legal fees" referred to may be costs associated with Silva's suit seeking to overturn his defeat in the June Democratic primary election. Silva sued in conjunction with Shannon Robinson and James G. Taylor, who lost their NM Senate seats in the primary to reformers. The lawsuit alleges campaign finance fraud on the part of a number of local nonprofits. Shannon Robinson initially filed the case on behalf of himself and the two other lawmakers. (See two of my previous posts on the suit here and here.)

What's Going On?
So let's see. Silva seems to be helping the GOP by giving them copies of the voter registration forms of people who voted in the June Dem primary. Silva lost his seat in that primary and is mounting a lawsuit to overturn the results. Silva may well have gotten the registration forms from his legal counsel in the case, who has no doubt been searching about for evidence related to House District 13 to use in the suit. A Republican-dominated PAC then gives Silva $5,000 to help with legal fees of some sort.

What kind of Democrat would accept such help, and why? Sure seems like Silva is buddy-buddy with the New Mexico GOP and its big donors -- and is more than amenable to helping them go after a community organization that registers low-income and minority voters with fake claims of "vote fraud." I guess a $5,000 "donation" from a PAC tied to Republicans helps, even if it's a PAC that's trying to bring down Dem legislators in November. Rep. Silva, have you no shame, sir?

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October 30, 2008 at 03:56 PM in 2008 General Election Voting, 2008 NM State Legislature Races, Election Reform & Voting, Ethics & Campaign Reform, Republican Party | Permalink | Comments (0)

Must-See Film "Trouble the Water" Opens in Santa Fe on Friday

Learn about McCain's awful response to Katrina and its aftermath

By all accounts, Trouble the Water is one of the most important, critically acclaimed, riveting and well-made non-fiction films of the year. You can help make sure it has a real chance to get its message out in New Mexico by attending a screening this weekend in Santa Fe.

From Tia Lessin & Carl Deal, Directors/Producers, Trouble the Water: Just days from now, we will be voting in what might be the most important election of our lives. Trouble the Water, opening this Friday in Santa Fe, is a film that shows exactly what's at stake, what we are fighting for and why. (See movie trailer below the break.)

Poster_large The film is a true story about a remarkable couple in New Orleans surviving not only deadly hurricanes, breached levees and armed soldiers, but also a government that has repeatedly failed them.

Like Fahrenheit 9/11, the film we produced four years ago, Trouble the Water is a powerful reminder of why we fight for change. In the words of journalist Naomi Klein, "This is a transformative film -- one of the most powerful and illuminating documentaries of our time. It boils with rage, sadness, love, hope, reality. It's not about a hurricane, it's about America."

The film, winner of the Sundance Grand jury prize this year, features voices and a soundtrack that can lead us through these difficult times, into the polls, and help us imagine a better future.

Trouble the Water will be opening this Friday, October 31st at The Screen at CSF, 1600 St. Michael's Drive in Santa Fe. Tickets can be purchased online right here.

Keep the Film Running
But it's only booked for one week at The Screen at CSF. The number of people that turn out this weekend will determine whether the film is held over for another week. So please make a plan to see the film the New York Times called "one of the best American documentaries in recent memory" and Time Magazine called "[A]n endlessly moving, artlessly magnificent tribute to people the government didn't think worth saving."

Trouble the Water trailer

If you aren't sure if voting this time around matters, see this movie! And if you know anyone who thinks it doesn't matter if they vote this year, take THEM to see it. And if you just want an entertaining break from the drone of the pundits and the polls, this is a great way to spend 90 minutes of your day.

Log on to www.troublethewaterfilm.com to learn more about the film and what people are saying about it, and you'll see what we mean.

P.S. If you would like to bring a group, or set up an event at your theater to help get out the vote in your community like so many others have done all over the country, please contact your theater directly for their group sale policy: 505.473.6494.

October 30, 2008 at 12:16 PM in 2008 General Presidential Election, Film | Permalink | Comments (0)