Thursday, March 15, 2012

Librotraficante Caravan Stops in New Mexico Bringing Free Speech to Arizona

From our Southern Correspondent Stephen Jones.

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The Librotraficante Caravan made a stop at the Mesilla Cultural Center just off the Mesilla Plaza in Thursday morning. The Caravan was in southern New Mexico to bring awareness to the attempt by Arizona politicians to wipe out Hispanic cultural studies in its schools and ban books relating to Mexican American culture and history in Arizona’s second largest school district. The Caravan is transporting “banned” book titles, dubbed by the group “wet books,” back into Arizona to be distributed through makeshift cultural libraries.

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“They tried to erase our history, so we’re making new history” proclaimed Tony Diaz, a writer from Houston, who is the chief organizer the effort. Denise Chávez, director of the Border Book Festival, and over a hundred other New Mexicans, including Doña Ana County Commissioner Billy Garrett, were on hand to greet the caravan as it passed through Mesilla on its way to Arizona.

The Librotraficante Caravan was organized to protest the decision of the Arizona State Legistature and the Tucson Unified School District to abolish Mexican American cultural studies programs and remove Hispanic literary, history, and civil rights titles, along with other works deemed “objectionalble” by Arizona politicians, from Tucson, Arizona area schools. Among the titles removed from Arizona schools were The House on Mango Street by Sanda Cisnero, a MacArthur Grant Literature award winner, Bless Me, Ultima by famed New Mexico author Rudolpho Anaya, the The Dictionary of Latino Civil Rights History, and even such classic works as Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

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The Librotraficante Caravan launched its travel from Houston, Texas, to Tucson, Arizona, carrying a payload of contraband books with the intention creating networks of “Underground Libraries” and leaving community resources in its wake. One of many responses to Arizona’s unconstitutional laws prohibiting Mexican American Studies, the Librotraficante Caravan has captured the imagination and hearts of activists, writers, educators, and students from all walks of life who want to preserve freedom of speech.

“Every great movement is sparked by outrage at a deep cultural offense,” said Tony Diaz, founder of Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say, which has led the charge, “When we heard that Tucson Unified School District administrators not only prohibited Mexican American Studies, but then walked into classrooms, and in front of young Latino students, during class time, removed and boxed up books by our most beloved authors – that was too much. This offended us down to our soul. We had to respond.”

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“With their record of anti-immigrant legislation, politicians in Arizona have become experts in making humans illegal. We did not do enough to stop that, thus that anti-immigrant legislation spread to other states such as Alabama and Georgia. Now, these same legislators want to make thoughts illegal. If we allow this to happen, these laws, too, will spread. Other branches of ethnic studies will be prohibited, and other states will follow suit” Diaz added.

A large group of writers have embraced the caravan, many participating along the route, including Sandra Cisneros, and Rudolpho Anaya. Others include Guggenheim Fellow Dagoberto Gilb, whose work recently appeared in the New Yorker and Harpers simultaneously, best selling author Luis Alberto Urrea, with multiple titles found on the banned book list, Other literary giants participating in the Librotraficante Caravan. Mesilla’s Denise Chávez, author of Face of an Angel. Chávez, who hosted the caravan in Mesilla, organizes the Annual Border Book Festival; Lalo Alcaraz, creator of the syndicated comic La Cucaracha, and who coined the phrase “Self Deport”; and Rene Alegria, founder of Boxing Badger Media, who attended one of the impacted high schools in Tucson. In addition to southern New Mexico’s Border Book Festival, institutions hosting the caravan along the way include the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio, Texas, and the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

March 15, 2012 at 05:31 PM in Books, By Stephen Jones, Contributing Writer, Hispanic Issues, Immigration | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

12/1 & 12/2: Greg Palast Appearances in NM--Note Revised Venue!

GREG PALAST TO SPEAK IN NEW MEXICO DECEMBER 1 & 2 ON TOUR FOR NEW BOOK RELEASED TODAY: VULTURES’ PICNIC: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates, and High-Finance Carnivores

Greg Palast has a history with New Mexico going back to his investigative work on PNM for the State Attorney General in the mid-1980s and, later, with reporting on voter suppression tactics used here as well as in Florida, Ohio and elsewhere.

With his investigative reporting on astonishing greed, fraud and crimes committed by financiers, energy companies and government officials, Palast’s work gives deep background to the outrage felt by the general public ("the 99%") in this time of OWS actions.

This book is different from his earlier work in the way Palast’s own life (and personal flaws) become part of the story, heightening the Sam Spade/gonzo journalism style of the stories.

Vultures’ Picnic is also being released as an e-book and in a video-enhanced version that includes footage from the BBC investigations in far-flung locales such as Central Asia, the Gulf Coast, and South America.

New Mexico appearances are as follows:

December 1—Keynote speaker, KUNM’s 3rd Annual Social Justice Fair, UNM Continuing Ed Auditorium, 1634 University Blvd., Albuquerque. Doors open 6 PM; program starts at 7 PM. KUNM members get 2 free tickets, non-member admission is $5 per person. Books may be purchased at Bookworks' table for signing by Greg Palast before and after the program.

December 2—Author’s talk & book signing at Garcia St. Books, 324 Garcia St., Santa Fe, 5-6 PM.

For more information, visit www.vulturespicnic.org.

November 15, 2011 at 07:07 PM in Books, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

10/25: Book Talk at UNM (and Santa Fe) for 'News for All the People' by Democracy Now! Cohost Juan Gonzalez

276471_165000090256979_1980428740_nFrom Democracy Now!
You're invited to "News For All the People," a book talk with Juan González and Joseph Torres on Tuesday, October 25, from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM at the University of New Mexico Student Union Building Fiesta Rooms A & B, in Albuquerque. 

(The book talk is also scheduled for Santa Fe on the evening of October 25. See below.)

Democracy Now! co-host and award-winning journalist Juan González’s new book, "News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media," co-authored with Joseph Torres of the media reform group Free Press, is being launched with a national book tour. "News For All the People" is a landmark narrative history of American media that puts race at the center of the story.

The event is free and open to the public, with a book-signing to follow. Copies of the new book will be available for purchase. Sponsored by the Media Literacy Project, the University of New Mexico Office for Equity and Inclusion, KUNM FM, Democracy Now! and Free Press.

Please help us spread the word about their book and event by posting this announcement on Facebook, Twitter and emailing people in your networks. If you would like to volunteer with Democracy Now! at the event, please email Diana Sands: diana(at)democracynow.org. Thank you!

INTERVIEW: Hear Juan González and Joseph Torres discuss the book on Democracy Now!

ABOUT THE BOOK: "News For All the People" is a sweeping account of the class and racial conflicts in American news media, from the first colonial newspaper to the internet age. It chronicles key government decisions that created our nation’s system of news, major political battles over the role of the press, and the rise of media conglomerates and epoch-defining technologies. The book reveals how racial segregation in the media distorted the news and unearths numerous examples of how publishers and broadcasters actually fomented racial violence through their coverage. And it illuminates how Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American journalists fought to create a vibrant yet little-known alternative and democratic press and then, beginning in the 1970s, forced open the doors of the major media companies.

The writing is fast-paced, story-driven and replete with portraits of individual journalists and media executives, both famous and obscure, the heroes and the villains. It weaves back and forth between the corporate battles and government policies that built our segregated media system — as when Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover gave a radio license to a notorious KKK organization in the nation’s capital — and those who rebelled against that system, such as Pittsburgh Courier publisher Robert L. Vann, who led a national campaign to get the black-face comedy Amos ’n’ Andy off the air.

"News For All the People" will become the new standard history of American media. Published by Verso Books.

SANTA FE: The book talk is also scheduled for 7:30 to 9:30 PM on Tuesday, October 25, at the Armory for the Arts in Santa Fe, as a benefit for KSFR, Santa Fe Public Radio. Tickets are $15. For advance purchase, call KSFR at (505) 428-1527.

October 22, 2011 at 11:13 AM in Books, Events, Media, Minority Issues | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

9/28: Poet Margaret Randall to Read From 'To Change the World: My Years in Cuba' at UNM

276503_212848435436585_7475022_n From Event Posting on Facebook:
The Latin American and Iberian Institute (LAII), Zimmerman Library, Women's Resource Center, Peace Studies and the Queer Straight Alliance of the University of New Mexico proudly present an evening with Margaret Randall, an internationally revered poet, author, activist and a local Albuquerque resident. The event will take place on Wednesday, September 28, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the Willard Reading Room at UNM's Zimmerman Library.

Randall will read from TO CHANGE THE WORLD: MY YEARS IN CUBA (Rutgers University Press, 2009), which is part memoir, and part political analysis of eleven years in Cuba (1969-1980).

Commenting on the book, the author had this to say: "The revolution was ten years old when my family and I arrived. It was going into its third decade when we left. In the interim, my four children went through daycare, grade school, high school, and two of them graduated from university. I worked as a writer, editor and cultural journalist. I produced several books, most of them on women in the revolution. I learned photography, participated in the unions and mass organizations, and joined the Cuban people in writing new law." TO CHANGE THE WORLD is an in-depth look at one of the most important and controversial social experiments in the second half of the 20th century, from one who experienced it from the inside.

Margaret Randall will be reading fragments from the book, entertaining questions and signing copies of TO CHANGE THE WORLD. This event is FREE and open to the public. Please spread the word.

September 28, 2011 at 09:26 AM in Books, Events, Poetry/Spoken Word | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Guest Blog: Albuquerque City Council vs. Libraries

6a00d834519ed469e20147e3ac6f28970b-800wi This is a guest blog by Stuart Heady, a freelance writer and political activist who lives in Albuquerque.

The Albuquerque City Council has a proposal on the table to cut more jobs from the already stressed Albuquerque/Benalillo County library system. Eight jobs are on the hook, bringing the total staff down to 112, and this on top of reductions of about forty staff members in the last few years.

When does cutting fat from the budget become cutting the future?

The 21st century library is not the book warehouse that the 20th century library was, back in slower moving times. Now, the library is in demand by a public that needs a full gamut of Information Age services and resources, staffed by people with a career dedication to providing them and who have been very well educated themselves.

A Masters Degree in library science really represents a mastery of an entire worldwide inventory of knowledge and a bewildering and exponentially expanding universe of resources through which to access it. Librarians work after hours at home, keeping up with what the publishing industry is producing that patrons may want to know about.

Librarians are capable of dealing with people at all ages and at all literacy levels, whose interests range in all directions and who represent all possible learning styles. Really, the library is a comprehensive resource that is available to school children just learning how to do research, as well as to sophisticated adults with advanced degrees and everybody in between.

This is a front-line institution that directly or indirectly supports the work of schools in promoting literacy, THE crucial 21st century asset for a viable society. It isn't just about information, but about the crucial survival skill of Information Literacy, the ability to think and do problem solving in seeking out understanding. This is a lifelong learning issue.

The question on the table isn't just about some staff positions. It is this: will the bright kids with a future, who are advantaged by a culture that values learning and the best job and business opportunities in the Infomation Age economy be in -- Indonesia? Or Albuquerque? What of the future? Communities and countries that fail to invest in an Information Age future will be relegated to irrelevant backwater status.

Staffing levels are already producing stress, because the public is placing more demand on libraries. More families are bringing their children in, and more people are coming in who exhibit stress and need somewhere to go to vent. Librarians are actually getting yelled at by people who lose it, and being treated to less courtesy in general than one would like to see.

A staff that is already stretched too thin because people have to work extra to make up for people not there to fill positions, gets stretched even more when it all reaches the breaking point and people become ill as a result, taking time off even if it is without pay. Decreasing existing staff will certainly not help this.

Many are unaware that fully qualified professionals with great experience are being faced with the choice of working as temps at an unskilled rate of pay with no benefits -- or having no pay and no job at all. That is already a way of filling in the staffing without hiring staff.

Librarians are the First Responders, the heroes of the effort to promote literacy and to build an Information Age economy and society of the future right along with teachers. They are not likely to complain about their lot and because they are also highly disciplined people, they suck it up and just work harder.

The rest of us should pay attention to what is going on and should chime in to support librarians.

Take Action: Contact your Albuquerque City Councilor (see district map) and Mayor Richard Berry and urge them not to cut any more jobs from the Albuquerque/Benalillo County library system. The budget is proposed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council.

This is a guest blog by Stuart Heady. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.

April 14, 2011 at 03:06 PM in Books, Children and Families, City of Albuquerque, Education, Guest Blogger | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, November 15, 2010

11/15: Community and Resistance Tour at ABQ Center for Peace and Justice

The Community and Resistance Tour featuring Victoria Law and Jordan Flaherty will stop in Albuquerque on Monday, November 15, at 6:30 PM at the Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center located at 202 Harvard SE. The Tour seeks to communicate about current  struggles for justice and liberation, from nooses hung in the northern Louisiana town of Jena to women organizing inside prisons, from resistance to school privatization to the BP Drilling Disaster. The Tour also seeks to connect communities of liberation, and to build relationships  between grassroots activists and independent media.

This Tour is for anyone interested in the issues of health care, education, criminal  justice, housing, or the ways in which systems of racism, patriarchy and other forms of oppression intersect with these struggles. For more information about the tour visit the webpage or the Facebook page.

About the Presenters:

VICTORIA LAW is a writer, photographer and mother. After a brief stint as a teenage armed robber, she became involved in prisoner support. In 1996, she helped start Books Through Bars-New York City, a group that sends free books to prisoners nationwide. In 2000, she began concentrating on the needs and actions of women in prison, drawing attention to their issues by writing articles and giving public presentations.

Since 2002, she has worked with women incarcerated nationwide to produce Tenacious: Art and Writings from Women in Prison and has facilitated having incarcerated women's writings published in larger publications, such as Clamor magazine, the website Women and Prison: A Site for Resistance and make/shift magazine. Her book Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women (PM Press 2009) is the culmination of over 7 years of listening to, writing about and supporting incarcerated women nationwide and resulted in this former delinquent winning the 2009 PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award.

JORDAN FLAHERTY is a journalist and community organizer based in New Orleans.  He was the first journalist with a national audience to write about the Jena Six case, and played an important role in bringing the story to worldwide attention. His post-Katrina writing in ColorLines magazine shared a journalism award from New America Media for best Katrina-related coverage in the ethnic press, and audiences around the world have seen the news segments he’s produced for Al-Jazeera, TeleSur, GritTV and Democracy Now. His new book, FLOODLINES: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six will be released this summer from Haymarket Press.

November 15, 2010 at 11:43 AM in Books, Events, Justice, Minority Issues, Prisons, Corrections, Women's Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Vote for the Library Bond: Support a Culture of Lifelong Learning in New Mexico

This is a post by contributing writer, Stephen Jones, of Las Cruces.

As the state and local contests for public office heat up and move into high gear, voters in New Mexico would be wise not to overlook the key issues and decisions lower down the ballot. High on the list among these is the vote for Library General Obligation Bond B (GO Bonds), a $7 million funding measure that will go to support library services at our public, school, tribal, community college and public university libraries.

If passed, the GO Bonds will enable publicly supported libraries at all levels to continue to provide needed core services to the general public, and to children’s and student services, by updating book and journal collections and maintaining critical subscriptions to electronic databases. GO Bonds provide up to 25% of New Mexico library materials.

In New Mexico’s overall learning environment, the debate often centers on our schools, but it would be a mistake for voters to overlook the critical services of our libraries. National academic studies have repeatedly shown that children who participate in summer reading programs uniformly perform better during the regular school year, and are more likely to stay in school until graduation and beyond.

Furthermore, public and tribal libraries provide a safe third place between school and home; a place of free inquiry and learning, but also a place that supports critical community service and cultural learning needs. For adult patrons, libraries provide a community center that affords access to lifelong learning materials, job search and research tools. Libraries allow diverse communities to come together and for all of us to step out of our accustomed comfort zones and bridge historic ethnic and economic divides between our communities. Libraries also are repositories of public and government information that allow residents to tunnel through the red tape and labyrinth of information that divides the average New Mexican from the critical government and educational services that they already pay for with their tax dollars.

If passed, Library General Obligation Bond B will cost New Mexicans forty-five cents on every $100,000 of assessed property value. This is a low price to pay for the sort of critical services our libraries provide to all of us in New Mexico. In November’s election we need to remember to cast our votes for GO Bond B.

Note: You can now download a sample ballot for your precinct at the Secretary of State's website, and check out the bond issues, constitutional amendments and candidates that are up for a vote in your area on November 2nd. If you are not registered to vote, you must register by October 5th to vote in this year's election. Contact your county clerk for more info.

To read more posts by Stephen Jones, visit our archive.

September 28, 2010 at 12:20 PM in 2010 General Election, Books, By Stephen Jones, Contributing Writer, Children and Families, Government | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

"Bless Me, Ultima" To Be Filmed in New Mexico Reports Gov. Bill Richardson

Another coup for New Mexico's film industry. Governor Bill Richardson announced this week that the film Bless Me, Ultima will shoot in the Santa Fe area beginning next month. The production is expected to hire 150 New Mexicans for the cast and crew and more than 400 for background talent, according to information released by his office. Carl Franklin is directing and Sarah DiLeo and Jesse B’Franklin join Academy Award-winner Mark Johnson as producers. Christy Walton will serve as executive producer.

Based on Rudolfo Anaya’s novel of the same name, Bless Me, Ultima chronicles the turbulent coming-of-age story about Antonio, a young boy growing up in New Mexico during World War II, and his relationship with Ultima, an elderly medicine woman who helps Antonio navigate the dangerous battle between good and evil raging in his village, and ultimately helps him discover his own spiritual identity.

“This is a wonderful example of New Mexico’s rich artistic culture combining with our beautiful locations, skilled crew base, and financial incentives,” Richardson said in a written statement. “I am proud that the work of a New Mexican writer as talented and respected as Rudolfo Anaya -- one of the most prominent Latino writers of our generation -- will come to life right here.”

The novel has received critical praise from the New York Times, which states that it is “probably the best-known and most respected contemporary Latino Fiction.” According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Anaya’s novel is “poignant ... an important book that deserves to be hailed as a classic.” Upon its release, it won the prestigious Premio Quinto Sol literary award.

“Bless Me, Ultima” was selected for The Big Read, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to revitalize the role of literary reading in American popular culture. One of only 30 books selected annually, Anaya is in the company of such authors as Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Poe and Tolstoy. The novel was also chosen as one of the literary works included in the 2009 United States Academic Decathlon.

Mark Johnson is currently in post-production on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader directed by Michael Apted, which will be released on December 10th, 2010. He also produced with Guillermo del Toro the upcoming Miramax horror film Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark starring Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce. He is the executive producer of the Emmy-winning AMC drama Breaking Bad, which will begin production of its fourth season in Albuquerque early next year.

Carl Franklin most recently directed an episode of HBO’s Emmy-winning miniseries The Pacific. He has directed many films working with frequent producing partner Jesse B’Franklin, including 1990’s award-winning One False Move, Devil In A Blue Dress and High Crimes.

Sarah DiLeo most recently served as the supervising producer on a slate of documentary films for The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in support of education reform.

Since Governor Richardson took office in 2003, more than 142 major film and television productions have been made in New Mexico, with an estimated economic impact of more than $3.3 billion. There are 10,000 direct and indirect film-related jobs in the state, and more than 250 businesses and services directly related to the industry.

Visit the New Mexico Film Office website for more information on New Mexico's film industry.

September 25, 2010 at 12:08 PM in Books, Economy, Populism, Film, Gov. Bill Richardson | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Book Events: One Nation, One Year, A Navajo Photographer's 365-Day Journey Into the Real World of the Navajo People

Navajo4 One Nation, One Year is described as a book that covers a Navajo photographer's 365-day journey into a world of discovery, life and hope. According to Don James, the photographer, the book presents a real world view of the Navajo people.

On Tuesday, June 15th, Don James will present a slideshow of One Nation, One Year (LPD Press, $24.99) at 7:00 PM at Bookworks, located at 4022 Rio Grande Blvd. (Flying Star Plaza) in Albuquerque.

Navajo2 The book is a photographic journey documenting Don James' year-long trip across the Navajo Nation -- traveling more than 10,000 miles on dirt roads, horseback, on foot and as a hitch hiker -- to record Navajo arts, traditions, sports and people. The Navajo Nation and its people have been extensively photographed over the last century, but never from the eye of one of its own. Because he's native and knows the land and people, James embarks on a journey to show the world a different view of his culture, through his eyes and his Nikon lens. His understanding of the Navajo gives us a glimpse at a people previously off-limits to outsiders.

Navajo5 Official book release parties will take place at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM on June 30th, and at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Arizona from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM on July 13th. Meet the photographer, Don James, and celebrate his real world view of the Navajo people.

James took about 150,000 photos in his year-long trip across the Navajo Nation, so he had to pick and choose to winnow down the huge collection to produce the book -- a process James says was "really tough." Cindy Yurth of the Navajo Times reports that, of the hundreds of photos that did make the book, James' personal favorite is on page 52. A young teenager, Urina Bitcinnie, is planting corn with an old-fashioned planting stick. She's wearing stylish plaid shorts and Converse tennies, and around her neck hang the unmistakable white wires of iPod earphones. She's intent on her work, but her full cheeks crinkle in a beautiful smile.

"She looks so happy," James said. "To me, that picture says it all. We're traditional people, but we love the modern conveniences when we can get them. We've survived by adapting, but yet the old traditions, the really basic things, live on. "That's the story I wanted to tell. It's the story I think a lot of the other books have missed."

Check out this link for more book signings as they're scheduled, as well as reviews of the book. You can also purchase the book on the site or on Amazon.

June 11, 2010 at 12:00 PM in Books, Events, Native Americans | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Guest Blog by Rep. Nate Cote - National Trails Day: A Reflection After Walking the Appalachian Trail

HCOTE This is a guest blog by Nathan “Nate” Cote, who serves as State Representative for District 53 in Dona Ana and Otero Counties. Nate resides in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  

I just had an amazing time hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail located on the east coast. In the past I have hiked sections of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT) and others across the U.S. As I reflect upon my recent experience, memories of my youth return from the times I adventured into vast forests and feeling overwhelmed when sighting wildlife, hearing bubbling brooks, admiring the exotic beauty of wildflowers, and picking delicious wild berries.

Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, writes of saving our children from “nature-deficit disorder” by participating with them in nature adventures that will leave them with lifelong memories as well as good habits. Trails allow children to do what they do best, learn and play and expend youthful energy. Trails can also help adults to increase that special bond with our senior parents, grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts. We older folks may have gradually become sedentary and grown distant from the nature we enjoyed as children. We can and should revisit those delights and make new memories of walking through forests, mountains, or deserts, hearing the soothing sounds of a stream, serendipitously coming upon wild animals or marveling at a mountaintop vista. Continuing a link with nature by walking a trail is a lifelong enjoyment that leads us to wonderful destinations: the possibility of increased health and longevity and enhanced relationships.

While modern medicine may offer longevity to those with sedentary lifestyles, it comes with a high cost. People tend to rationalize their sedentary lifestyle, not realizing it leads to a decreased quality of life. Hiking trails is low-cost recreation that not only provides a link with nature, but is a form of meditation, a way to reconnect with loved ones, and the outdoors is a source of Vitamin D (necessary for strong bones). Trails force us to use our bodies for what they were designed: physical activity and the burning of calories. Hiking trails is exercise and exercise may be one of the most important predictors of how long and how well we live our life. We owe it to our children, our family, our friends and ourselves to spend more time outdoors enjoying the healthy recreation offered by trails.

The couch potato lifestyle -- TV watching, internet surfing, video games -- all are disincentives of physical activity. Walking, on the other hand, helps to increase the heart rate, build muscle tissue, and of course, to burn calories. A sedentary lifestyle promotes heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and bone disease, to name a few. In today’s world of too much to do in not enough time some choose to exercise indoors by mall walking or at commercial or home gyms. Such activity is good for our health, but it does not link us to nature or foster relationships with family and friends as we walk a trail with them.

I want to conclude with a statement of appreciation for prior American leaders who envisioned the need for trails to conserve land areas and provide us recreational opportunities. In 1978 the National Trails System Act was amended to include a trail that would traverse the backbone of America. To this day, the CDT captures the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains and has garnered world recognition for its incredible scenery, challenging landscape, rich history, and unique recreation opportunities. When finished the CDT will stretch 790 miles in New Mexico, the longest section compared to the other states it traverses to the north. Hiking even a short section of it leaves me feeling at peace, inspired and physically and spiritually renewed; after all, it accesses some of the most wild and scenic places left in the world while conserving the environment and promoting a healthy lifestyle. New Mexicans should be proud of this new national scenic trail and all it has to offer so please join me with celebrating National Trails Day on Saturday June 5th.

Let’s go for a hike on Saturday, June 5th, National Trails Day.  

June 2, 2010 at 01:52 PM in Books, Children and Families, Environment, Guest Blogger, Las Cruces, Recreation/Open Space | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

5/22: Holy Hullabaloos: An Unconventional Look at Church/State Separation

From ACLU-NM: On Saturday, May 22nd, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico (ACLU-NM) will host constitutional law professor, humorist and author Jay Wexler at the ACLU-NM Annual Meeting. Wexler, the author of Holy Hullabaloos: A Road Trip to the Battlegrounds of the Church/State Wars, will recount his often hilarious adventures tracking down the people and places responsible for some of the most controversial Supreme Court cases involving religion.

From Pennsylvania Amish country, Texas high school football games, ultra-Orthodox Jewish enclaves in New York and Santeria get-togethers in Florida; Wexler takes us on a uniquely American journey to the unusual places where the nation’s highest court has drawn the line between church and state. Wexler’s knack for decoding the maze of Supreme Court esotericism into compelling, down-to-earth stories makes this event a don’t-miss—especially for those who had trouble staying awake in 12th grade civics. Jay Wexler is a law professor at Boston University.

The annual meeting takes place on Saturday, May 22, from 10:00 AM to Noon, at the Harwood Art Center located at 1114 7th St. NW in Albuquerque. Click to RSVP.

May 20, 2010 at 08:39 AM in Books, Civil Liberties, Events, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

This Week: Book Signing Events with Craig Barnes in Santa Fe & Albuquerque

Hmbook-democ Santa Fe resident, author, playwright and mediator, Craig Barnes, who also hosts the radio program Our Times, will be presenting "Democracy at the Crossroads: A Talk and Book Signing" in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

Santa Fe
Collected Works
202 Galisteo
Friday, January 8, 6:00 PM
Please call 877-988-4226 to reserve your copy

Albuquerque
Bookworks
4022 Rio Grande Boulevard NW
Sunday, January 10, 3:00 PM
505-344-8139

Come hear a storyteller’s history of the rule of law, the modern temptation to give it all up under Bush and Obama, and an exploration of the way forward. This fascinating treatise examines how Western ideals of democracy have evolved and emerged through the ages and across continents. Craig S. Barnes shares the inspiring stories of a diverse group of men and women (whether they be leaders, poets, or peasants) who pioneered due process, habeas corpus, and the balance of powers.

Exploring the premise that "democracy is not a given in social evolution," Barnes contrasts the heroic figures of history to those in recent administrations who he argues have ignored the precious nature of our inheritance and have placed democracy at risk. Democracy at the Crossroads: Princes, Peasants, Poets, and Presidents in the Struggle for (and against) the Rule of Law is a stirring reminder of the fragility of our rule of law and the need for vigilant protection of our hard-won liberties.

Craig S. Barnes begain his career as a public interest lawyer dealing with women's rights and the environment. He was also active in politics and civil rights, running for Congress in Denver as a peace candidate in 1970. You can learn more about Barnes and his latest book, Democracy at the Crossroads, here.

January 5, 2010 at 03:41 PM in Books, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)