Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Tweet Today to Join Sen. Tom Udall on 10/5 Chat for Hispanic Heritage Month
From U.S. Senator Tom Udall:
In New Mexico, we celebrate a unique cultural heritage that can’t be found anywhere else. Hispanic Heritage Month reminds us how truly special New Mexico is. It’s a time to look back at the culture and traditions that shaped our state and people, and it’s also a chance for us to look forward at building opportunities for the Hispanic community to thrive in the future.
I’ve seen a number of ideas discussed in Congress on how to create jobs and opportunities in Hispanic communities, and I’ve proposed some of my own too. But I want you to be part of this discussion.
This Wednesday, October 5, at 12:30 PM MDT, take part in a conversation on Twitter about creating jobs and opportunities for Hispanic communities. I'll be joined by contributors from the Center for American Progress and the Hispanic online network, LATISM.
Tweet your questions TODAY and include the hashtag #HHMChat.
The Hispanic community has been hit hard by this bad economy. Hispanic household wealth dropped by 66 percent between 2005 and 2009, and today, 6.1 million Hispanic children are living in poverty across America –- more than any other group. This news is unacceptable and we need to do everything we can to reverse it.
P.S. Also remember to be a part of the ongoing discussion about this and other issues on my Facebook page.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
YouTube Town Hall on Afghanistan: Sen. Tom Udall v. Sen. John McCain
YouTube just launched a new page called YouTube Town Hall, which is an online platform for members of Congress to debate and discuss the most important issues of the day. Visitors can select an issue, watch two short videos expressing competing ideas, and then support the one they agree with most. To help people focus on the merits of the idea and not the party of the speaker, the speaker's party isn't revealed until after a user decides which video to support. The most supported videos will be highlighted on the YouTube Town Hall Leaderboard.
Today, Senator Tom Udall has a video on the Town Hall site calling for an accelerated transition in Afghanistan. You can check it out and vote on whether you agree with his position, or that of his opponent, Sen. John McCain. No contest there for most readers of this blog!
Hope you'll go check out the Afghanistan Town Hall videos and vote to support Sen. Udall's position. It's also easy to share the Town Hall videos on Afghanistan on Facebook and Twitter. Very cool that Sen. Udall is participating, don't you think? Please help spread the word.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Powerful Testimony Abounds at Future of the Internet Hearing Supporting Net Neutrality and Broadband Access
Click for photo album
This is a report by Mary Ellen Broderick.
On Tuesday night, Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps, as well as other distinguished speakers, provided in-depth explanations of the importance of net neutrality and expanded access to broadband at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. The hall was almost three-quarters full, the setting was dramatic and the graphic behind the speakers made the events message loud and clear: “SAVE THE INTERNET.com.” A wide variety of citizens also participated by providing testimony about their views.
I found the hearing to be very informative and compelling. It's impressive that the organizations chose New Mexico as the location for their first hearing on net neutrality since the return of Congress to Washington after the November election. Unfortunately, I didn't hear the topic of net neutrality mentioned by any New Mexico candidate this fall, even though New Mexico ranks 47th out of the 50 states in terms of access to the internet because of high costs and inadequate services. Only 10% of Native Americans in the state are connected to the internet. No wonder our education statistics rank so low. Of course rural people, the forgotten Native Americans and other native New Mexicans are the ones that suffer -- especially low-income folks, whether inner city or rural.
If Governor-elect Susana Martinez really cares about the our people and our future, she should be pounding down the doors to demand net neutrality and access for all New Mexicans. This is the way to business growth, better health and stronger families -- it is a perfect win-win situation.
The hearing was co-hosted by Free Press, the Center for Media Justice and the Media Literacy Project. If you attended, I think you would agree they did a fine job. The event was well attended, the speakers were excellent and the public hearing portion featured a diverse mix of New Mexicans of various ages and backgrounds explaining what the internet means to them. There was very compelling testimony from middle school children to adults, from artists of the spoken word to health care providers. All stressed that they NEED the internet to function well in their daily lives. What would prevent them from having affordable and easy access to the internet? Corporate greed.
Let’s face it, our country has severely fallen behind other nations in making this modern communication tool available for all. Without it, we are entering the 21st century with at least one hand tied behind our back -- and maybe even a patch on one eye and cotton stuffed in one ear. Severely handicapped.
What is net neutrality about? Simply, a fast lane for all versus a slow lane; monopolies setting the rules with only profit in mind versus common-sense regulations that assure fair access for everyone. The issue of net neutrality is really about the future of all communication in America -- and who will have access. Who will learn and grow and who will be left behind? In the past, we have instituted rules developed for the common good in many areas important to the public -- highways, railroads, telephones, our public air waves. Now we need to do the same for internet access.
The battle is really about preserving our democracy.
The last speaker at the podium was FCC Commissioner Michael Copps. When I saw this rather curmudgeonly figure walking to the podium, I thought oh crap ... I know what this guy is going to say and it won't be good. But I was very wrong. I discovered that Copps is a true liberal -- in the traditional and best sense of the word. He talked about the needs of the people and strengthening democracy, about the greedy corporations, about the lack of comprehensive and even-handed news on our public air waves. It was refreshing to hear him discuss the importance of ensuring that our communication networks serve the public interest and provide access to wide-ranging and diverse news sources so Americans can be educated on informed on the issues.
“Right now we are not getting the news that democracy needs to sustain it,” Commissioner Copps said. "Opinions are not facts."
Michael Copps on media failures
Commissioner Copps listened intently to each and every person testifying -- taking notes, nodding his head and even clapping at times! He was authentically engaged in the testimony. He said he hadn't heard from so many young folks in other hearings, and he found their sweet voices insightful in the debate. He said he also enjoyed the creativity of the spoken word artists who testified. What he saw and heard was pure New Mexico -- a whole crop of creative, smart, hardworking, caring people ready to engage in the battle at hand.
Spoken word testimony
In conclusion, Commissioner Copps urged people to stay involved and keep up the pressure for real net neutrality and ready access for all. He said although grassroots work is never easy, it's necessary to make sure the will of the people is heard. “Truth has got to go out like water across the land,” he said. “People must understand what is at stake. You --action -- now” is what's needed.
Commissioner Copps calls for citizen action now
Click for a playlist of all the video clips from this hearing.
All photos and videos by M.E. Broderick.
You can see a video of the entire hearing at the New Mexico in Focus website, as well as a video and live blog archive at Freepress. Check out reports on various aspects of the hearing at local blogs NM FBIHOP and El Grito, at the Colorlines site, The Hill and Save the Internet.
Monday, November 08, 2010
11/16: Public Hearing in Albuquerque with FCC Comissioner Copps on Future of the Internet
The Internet’s future will be debated on November 16 in Albuquerque at a public hearing featuring Federal Communications Commissioner (FCC) Michael Copps and community leaders. The hearing coincides with the National Congress of American Indians' Annual Convention and is a valuable opportunity for Native Americans, Latinos and people from all of New Mexico’s diverse communities to share their ideas, experiences and concerns about Internet access and freedom. It's a rare chance for members of the public to participate in this important debate and to make their voices heard.
- WHAT: Public Hearing on the Future of the Internet
- DATE: Tuesday, November 16, 2010
- TIME: 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
- LOCATION: National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th Street SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102
The free event is co-hosted by Free Press, the Center for Media Justice and the Media Literacy Project. For more information visit www.savetheinternet.com/ABQhearing. Click to RSVP. Everyone interested in expanding Internet access as well as ensuring that the Internet continues to serve the public and not just big media conglomerates is encourage to attend and participate.
This is a critical time in the debate over the future of the Internet in America. Nearly 24 million Americans -- and 50.3 percent of New Mexico households -- lack access to broadband.
“The Internet is an essential tool for participating in society and politics,” said Andrea Quijada, executive director of the Media Literacy Project. “No community should be left behind. American Indians and Latinos, especially those who live in rural areas, need the Internet to advocate for themselves, access government services and get important educational and health information. The Internet means opportunity, and we can’t deny opportunity to people because they can’t afford the Internet or don’t have access to it.”
Not only do communities need affordable broadband service, but they need to be able to choose where they go and what they see on the Web without interference from online gatekeepers.
“The location and timing could not be more perfect for this public hearing,” said Amalia Deloney, grassroots policy director for the Center for Media Justice. “We've heard from many Native and Latino communities about the challenges they face with access, and the vital role an open Internet plays in their lives. Holding this meeting during NCAI's annual conference ensures that these voices can be part of the conversation and that the FCC hears from community members, not just corporate lobbyists.”
The FCC is currently crafting the rules and regulations that will shape the future of the Internet. Phone and cable companies are flooding Washington with money and lobbyists, but the general public has been largely excluded from the debate.
“Decisions are being made inside the Beltway that affect people outside it, in the real world, and it is crucial that the FCC hears from people about the importance of protecting the open Internet,” said Misty Perez Truedson of Free Press. “As more and more people are getting online, we need the FCC to make sure that everyone has access to the same open Internet.”
Senator Tom Udall Weighs In
Last month, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) wrote an article for Politico urging the FCC to preserve an open Internet and reassert its authority over broadband access by "partially reclassifying Internet communications as a 'telecommunications service' under Title II of the Communications Act." He said, in part:
This openness to a constant stream of innovations and new services is a defining feature of the Internet. At its core, the principle of “network neutrality” is freedom to access any legal, online content without restrictions from Internet service providers. In our country, we have had the luxury to take this virtually limitless power for granted — despite the fact that it is not guaranteed by law.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Webcasting Approved for Interim Committee Meetings of NM Legislature
This week, members of the New Mexico Legislative Council voted unanimously to approve webcasting of interim committee meetings. The decision was applauded by Rep. Jeff Steinborn (D-Las Cruces), who helped pass legislation to start webcasting committee meetings during the regular session. Steinborn was also the first to introduce a joint memorial during the regular session to webcast interim committee meetings.
“This is another step in the right direction. We are always looking for ways to make government more transparent and accessible to the public. Webcasting is a useful service for our constituents,” Steinborn said in a written statement.
Webcasts of interim committee meetings will be broadcast in the same manner as regular session committee meetings, as live streams on the Legislature website. They will not be archived. In the past, interim committee meetings have been held around the state. This year, due to budget constraints, the meetings are being held in Santa Fe.
The schedule for interim committee meetings can be found on the legislative website.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
4/8: Denish to Announce Small Business and Rural Jobs Plan Via Statewide Virtual Town Hall, RSVP Now
Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Diane Denish on Thursday will announce a small-business and rural jobs initiative via an innovative virtual WebEx town-hall that will be open and viewable by people across New Mexico. The announcement will be on Thursday, April 8, at 1:00 PM.
“I’m announcing my small business job creation plan through a virtual town hall for two reasons," Denish said in a written statement. "First, this innovative format allows us to reach small business owners in our rural communities and second, because I believe effective use of technology is key our state's future prosperity.”
Denish’s virtual town hall will originate from Albuquerque and will be viewable by invitees who have a computer with an Internet connection. See below the fold for information on how to register to participate in the Virtual Town Hall:
What: Diane Denish Small-Business and Rural Jobs Initiative Virtual Town Hall
When: Thursday at 1:00 PM
Where: The WebEx town hall will originate from the Contract Associates Conference Room -- 800 20th Street Northwest, Albuquerque, NM
- To join in to the Webcast remotely, You must first register.
- Simply click on this link to register
- You will then receive an approval email with the information to join the session on Thursday at 1:00 PM.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
TypePad Comment Feature Not Working
If you've tried to leave a comment on any thread here, you know that this feature isn't working at the moment. The problem started early yesterday when TypePad made changes to its application software. When I filed a help ticket, they responded that the problem had been fixed, saying, "We had made some changes to the application which resulted in this issue, but it has now been resolved and you shouldn't see this problem any longer."
Turns out the problem wasn't resolved at all, so I pointed that out to them. They then responded, "Thanks for following up and we apologize for the continued issue. Our engineers are looking into this further. We apologize for the inconvenience." Let's hope they get things up to snuff quickly. This is not a free software application and users shouldn't have to put up with this kind of snafu for long. We'll see.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Watch the Video: Comedy Cutups Udall & Luján Plug Think BIG Farmington
Wow, top-notch performances by New Mexico's Senator Tom Udall and Rep. Ben Ray Luján. Yes, it's a spoof, but its message is a serious one -- Think BIG Farmington is a great candidate to become a Google test site for ultra-high speed broadband Internet. Turns out Minnesota Sen. Al Franken submitted a video to advocate for Duluth's chances to be a test site. Yeah, it's funny. He used to be a famous comedian. But I think you'll agree that the Udall-Lujan comedy team is no slouch in the Google giggles department (ouch).
Both Udall and Luján have appealed to Google CEO Eric Schmidt in support of Think BIG Farmington’s collaborative effort to win participation in the company’s experiment. You can read about it here and here. The Google Fiber for Communities is an experiment to test new ways to make broadband Internet connections faster and more accessible in municipalities around America. Farmington seems perfectly suited to be a test site -- it's the economic hub for a huge part of the Four Corners area, including a big swath of the Navajo Nation, where communication tools today are often weak or nonexistent. Let's hope Google agrees.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Sen. Tom Udall Asks Google to Think BIG in Farmington
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) has written Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt in support of Think BIG Farmington’s proposal to become a test site for the company’s experimental project for ultra-high speed broadband internet networks in select locations across the country. The project, called Google Fiber for Communities, will test new ways to make broadband internet connections faster and more accessible.
In his letter, Udall highlights Farmington’s collaborative effort to win participation in the company’s experiment and the benefits to San Juan County and parts of the Navajo Nation. He also notes the project’s potential to spur new economic growth, distance learning and telemedicine initiatives which would greatly benefit the region.
“Although Google will receive applications from across the country,” wrote Udall, “I believe Farmington is a perfect place for a trial fiber optic network. Think BIG Farmington’s application is a community-wide effort that that would include towns and rural areas of San Juan county and part of the Navajo Nation in northwestern New Mexico.”
The senator also recalls a visit by former President Clinton to the Navajo Nation in 2000, which he attended. During the visit, President Clinton was introduced to a 13-year-old Navajo named Myra Jodie who had won an iMac computer but lacked a home phone connection and the capability to connect it to the internet.
Today, much of the area still lacks basic and essential services like electricity, water and telephones.
“The Navajo Nation still has some of the lowest telephone and Internet access in the country,” Udall wrote. “The ultra high speed communications network proposed by Think BIG Farmington would help ensure that northwest New Mexico is finally connected.”
Udall is a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and a strong proponent of increasing broadband infrastructure and access. He has urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to expand internet capabilities -- especially in rural and tribal areas -- through its upcoming National Broadband Plan to grow economic and educational opportunities.
It’s estimated that New Mexico’s broadband connectivity is approximately 15 percent slower than the national average. According to the Kauffman Foundation, the state also ranks 46th in percentage of Internet users.
Click to read the full text (pdf) of Udall’s letter.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
(Updated) As the Clock Ticks Down on NM Legislative Session ...
Update: The 30-day session is now done. As the noon deadline approached, the House discussed a measure about student athlete concussions while Sen. Rod Adair and a few other Republican blathered on inanely, killing time so a vote couldn't happen on Rep. Moe Maestas' bill on treatment rather than incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders. Moe's bill passed the House on Tuesday, by a vote 34-31. The word is the votes were there for passage in the Senate, which means there's definitely a chance for passage in the future. Clearly, Republican Senators here are just as stubbornly and transparently obstructionist as their counterparts in the U.S. Senate.
The AP is reporting that the Governor has called a special session that will start at Noon next Wednesday, February 24, and Governor Richardson said in his press conference that he wants the agenda to be a "broad" one.
After the Noon deadline today, the Senate continued with a presentation of the Milagro award to Sen. John Pinto (D-Tohatchi) -- the longest-serving member of the NM Senate -- for his service to the nation as a Navajo code talker and his many years of advocacy for the Dine nation. Sen. Tom Udall was on hand for the presentation, and the ceremony ended with Sen. Pinto singing a rousing version of this famous Potato Song, in the Navajo language this time.
With about a half hour left in the session it looks like the Senate Majority Floor Leader Michael Sanchez is hearing several inconsequential memorials rather than the ethics commission bill SB 43 or SR 1, his bill to expand webcasting in the NM Senate. It's sad to see a Democrat apparently holding back action on important ethics and transparency bills in a session that hasn't produced a state budget, passed a domestic partnership bill or managed to reach agreement on raising revenues to plug the budget hole. Earlier in the session, Sen. Sanchez pulled his bill when an amendment arose to allow webcasting of Senate committees.
I recall there were a number of complaints from the foes of domestic partnerships that a 30-day session focused on the budget was no place to deal with trying to provide basic civil rights to LGBT folks, but I guess the slew of often meaningless memorials and bills dealing with minor issues are perfectly acceptable. Even in the waning minutes of the session.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez Kills Webcasting Bill
All the wrong people are on a roll at the New Mexico Senate! Taxing tortillas! Killing domestic partnerships! Refusing to make the wealthy pay their fair share! Threatening to cut education, Medicaid and state agencies to shreds in the name of wisdom! Okaying carrying concealed guns into places where beer and wine are sold! Getting into a snit and tabling your own bill for Senate webcasting!
An amendment sponsored by Senator Griego would have added Senate committees to the webcasting bill. Senator Griego introduced a bill SR4 modeled after the House bill HR2, that would have provided for webcasting of Senate committees. The bill languished in the Senate Rules Committee since its introduction two weeks ago. The House passed a rules change providing webcasting of House committees earlier this session.
"Sadly, the biggest obstacle to transparency in the New Mexico Senate has been the Democratic leadership," Senator Eric Griego said in a written statement. "Last session the Democratic leadership orchestrated the gutting of webcasting on the Senate floor by restricting webcasting to one camera, which only shows part of the floor activity."
Despite ongoing efforts in the House to open up committees and floor sessions to webcasting, the Senate Democratic leadership has resisted similar reforms.
"Most legislation never makes it past the committee process," Senator Griego said. "The public needs to have reasonable web access to committees as well as the Senate floor to understand how decisions are being made and how Senators are voting."
Thursday, February 04, 2010
Rep. Jeff Steinborn's Resolution to Require Webcasting of Interim Committees Heads to House Floor
Great to see progress on this government transparency legislation. Under legislation sponsored by Rep. Jeff Steinborn (D-Las Cruces), the audio and video broadcasting of legislative interim committees would be required beginning this year. House Joint Memorial 15 unanimously passed the House Appropriations and Finance Committee. It now heads to the House floor for consideration.
“Interim committees play an important role in our process," Rep. Steinborn said in a statement released by the House Democrats. "Legislative policy and budgetary recommendations are all developed in the interim committee process. Broadcasting these meetings would provide an incredible opportunity to expand the participation of both legislators and interested citizens -- all from the convenience of their home or office computer. Additionally, this technology offers the opportunity to save the state money because legislators will be able to listen to meetings without having to travel and all the expenses that go along with that.”
House Joint Memorial 15 directs the Legislative Council Service to begin deploying webcast technology to interim committees this year. Interim committees meet between legislative sessions and are comprised of both Senate and House members. These committees meet all over the state, including at the State Capitol.
There currently is no rule or requirement providing direction of establishing webcasting for interim committees.