Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Free Event With John Edwards Thursday in Belen
In addition to John Edwards' luncheon benefit in Albuquerque on Thursday for CD1 Congressional candidate Patricia Madrid, he'll be appearing at this free event that day in Belen:
From John Edwards of One America for All of Us:
You are cordially invited to an appreciation celebration. Please join New Mexico State Senator Michael S. Sanchez of Valencia County, and special guest Senator John Edwards as they say, "Thank You, Valencia County".
When is it? Thursday, March 2, 2006 , 4:00 to 6:00 PM
Where is it? Holiday Inn Express, 2110 Camino Del Llano, Belen, NM 87002
Who can attend? Anyone--bring your family and friends!
How much does it cost? Nothing--admission is free.
Mardi Gras 2006: Fat Tuesday despite the tragedies. Beads and doubloons despite the horrors. King cakes despite the miseries. Jazz despite the deafness of Bush. Laissez les bons temps rouler regardless. NOLA lives. And lets loose a little. And keeps these traditions alive.
More good news: NPR reports that the Central Grocery Store on Decatur Street, originator of the famous muffuletta sandwich, is reopening its doors in time for Mardi Gras and its 100th anniversary after being closed due to Katrina. Although we can't get a real muffaletta out here, we can go listen to some new tunes by Allen Toussaint and think about what the luscious gumbo that is New Orleans has given the nation and the world. And we can make a promise to ourselves that we'll keep the pressure on to ensure the Crescent City continues down its unique cultural path for at least the rest of the 21st century.
NPR has lots of excellent Mardi Gras stories. Check 'em out and then write to Bush, Homeland Security and your members of Congress. Next, donate a few bucks to a Katrina relief organization or grassroots effort. The animal rescue and shelter organization, , is one of my favorites. If we don't act now, the heart and soul of one of our most distinctive cities will fade away, replaced by Disney-development, bland sameness and high-end housing that too many working class residents can't afford. Katrina's victims will be left to suffer without hope or healing. We can't let that happen, can we? Not here, not now.
New Orleans by the numbers:
- Number of square miles of New Orleans "abandoned and rotting" after Hurricane Katrina: 100+
- Size of barge, in tons, of a barge stranded in a New Orleans neighborhood: 150
- Size, in cubic yards, of debris removed from the city so far: 33,000,000
- Size, in cubic yards, of dirt dug by French to construct Suez Canal: 105,000,000
- Percent of levee reconstruction completed: 40
- Number of New Orleans business in operation post-Katrina: 2250 (of 15,000)
- Number of restaraunts in operation: 1,000 (of 3,000)
- Number of New Orleans refugees now living in Baton Rouge: 100,000
- Number of New Orleans residents remaining in city: 161,333 (of 484,000)
- Number of residents confirmed dead from Katrina: 1420, and rising
- Number of residents still missing: 1926
- Number of missing who are children: 120
- Days until Hurricane Season: 92
Monday, February 27, 2006
Madrid Campaign: Breakfast With Joe Wilson, Lunch With John Edwards
The Madrid for Congress campaign is holding two exciting fundraising events this week:
Click for more information or to RSVP.
What is the Iraq War Costing Us?
From the National Priorities Project Bulletin:
The Iraq War continues unabated after nearly three years and costs continue to mount. Recently, the administration submitted to Congress a $72.4 billion request for additional war-related funding. The National Priorities Project's (NPP) analysis of the request concluded that total spending on the Iraq War will rise to more than $315 billion, if approved.
NPP's new publication, "Cost of Iraq War Rises," offers you local and state taxpayer costs of the Iraq War, as well as additional information about what is included in the administration's request. To find information for your city, county, or state, or obtain additional analysis of the administration request, go here.
NPP estimates that the request will add another $61 billion in funding to the Iraq War, and $10 billion for the war in Afghanistan. Other funding included is $900 million for international assistance and peacekeeping activities in parts of Africa and Pakistan.
In addition to the financial cost in Iraq, casualties grow with insurgent attacks in 2005 higher than in 2004 and a doubling of car and roadside bombs. More than 2,275 U.S. soldiers have been killed as well as tens of thousands of Iraqis. The number of U.S. military casualties by state is also available at: www.nationalpriorities.org/iraqwarcost.
Please let us know if and how you use this publication in your work or your own activism, and please help spread the word that it is available.
Pamela Schwartz, Outreach Director
Taos Hosts Pulitzer Prize-Winning War Correspondent
From the Action Coalition of Taos and the Democracy Network of Taos:
The Christian Right & the War on America
Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize Winning War Correspondent
Thursday, March 2 • Taos Center for the Arts • 7:00 PM
Students Free • General Public $12
Chris Hedges will be speaking about the control the fundamentalist right has on the Bush Administration and their policies. Hedges is a Harvard divinity school graduate and a reporter for The New York Times. He was a war correspondent for nearly two decades in Central America, Africa, the Middle East, and the Balkans.
Hedges shared in a 2001 Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of global terrorism. He is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and his new book is, Losing Moses on the Freeway: America's Broken Covenant with the Ten Commandments.
Action Coalition of Taos
Democracy Network of Taos
For more info: 776-1932
We'll be at Cid's on Monday for advance ticket sales 4-6 PM. We have pre-sold 150 tickets already.
Editor's Note: Click for some background on Chris Hedges. He will also be speaking with Amy Goodman at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe on March 1st, but that appearance is sold out. This Taos event is your best chance to catch what he has to say.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Sunday Birds and Bees Blogging
From the looks of this erotic, pollen-packed bloom on our Christmas cactus, we are in immediate need of bees. I find it rather strange that a Christmas cactus is still blooming as Albuquerque heads into a very early Spring, but with the polar icepacks melting and no moisture falling here for countless moons, I guess I shouldn't be surprised at anything these days.
We may be in need of bees, but we have the birds, including Sunny Bunny the sun conure, above. This morning he took a bath in his water dish with Spring-like abandon. Afterwards he spent more than an hour preening and trying to break the quills that will release his new Spring feathers. He likes to rub against the rag-tag toy behind him to help in this project. Out damn quills! Baby Sunny is starting to look very dapper these days, don't you think? He's the bees' knees!
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Dean Wows Albuquerque
Here he was in Albuquerque, still representing the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party. Well, as much as he can do that, given the reins he has to contend with -- reins held tightly by the DLC Republican-lites, the Clintonista apologists and the Beltway Bores who work to contain him in the Party.
Once again I could say, "I See Dean People!" Many of the worker bees from the Dean run for president were present, in reunion. It became easy to recall the halcyon days of the Dean campaign -- an atmosphere that was so creative and fun and edgy and spine-tingling and surprising and bold and fresh and energized and, ultimately, tragic.
It took me back. In both a positive and negative way. So much hope crushed by so much cynical manipulation about "electability." And who can forget that speech he gave while earsplitting noise enveloped him in the hall in Iowa, and the media tuned it all out so all you heard was him and that infamous scream. The Party, America and the world lost something really valuable in the process. But we struggle on. And on. And so does Howard Dean.
Dean Sez: Here's what Democrats believe in:
- Honesty and integrity to be restored to our government
- American jobs that will stay in America using energy independence to create those jobs
- A strong national defense based on telling the truth to our citizens, our soldiers and our allies
- A healthcare system that works for everybody, just like they have in other countries (Costa Rica!)
- A strong public education system so we can have optimism and opportunity back in America
Dean Sez: You can sum up what Democrats stand for in one word -- JUSTICE
I can sum up what Dean brings to the table in one word too -- HOPE. Hope for Democrats of all stripes who are pushing and pushing and pushing for the Party, its officeholders and its candidates to grow some cojones and stand up for what's right, because it's right. For more Dems to join the ranks of courageous and feisty Democrats like Feingold and Boxer and Conyers.
For those who may not have paid close attention to Dean during the last presidential primary season, go listen to his "What I Wanna Know" speech in Sacramento in April 2003. Or read a similar speech he gave at the DNC Winter Meeting in Washington DC in February 2003.
I'm certain that Dean still believes what he said in these speeches and it's what he works for every day. He repeated to me several times that GRASSROOTS REFORMERS ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE ALL OVER THE NATION and that WE MUST KEEP IT UP even when things seem bleak. I told him that I cursed him almost daily for reawakening my political activism and pulling me away from a more leisurely life. He laughed and said, "I know the feeling." And he does.
Okay, I can't help myself. I took a little trip back to the Dean campaign days and you can too. Here's Thank You Howard Dean. Here's a video sampler put together by Dean people in Wisconsin and an audio of We Call Ourselves Americans. Remember who started us down this path. Remember what gave us hope and excitement. Realize that the most important thing we can do is to keep it up, to persevere, to fight the good fight and never give up. Our democracy, our nation, even our planet is in the balance. We DO have the power...if we use it.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Friday Night FunToons
Pow #1: Cheney's Got a Gun.
Pow #2: Okay, now that you've had your fun, get serious and read Bill Moyer's lastest speech, "Saving Democracy."
Pow #3: Okay, if you're not into reading a long speech right now, just download it for later. Then read this from the Booman Tribune and weep:
The hardline Sunni Clerical Association of Muslim Scholars said 168 Sunni mosques had been attacked, 10 imams killed and 15 abducted since the shrine attack. The Interior Ministry said it could only confirm figures for Baghdad, where 90 mosques were attacked in Baghdad, one cleric was killed, and one abducted.
Officials said at least
110 130200 people had been killed across the country in violence believed triggered by the mosque attack.
Three journalists working for Al-Arabiya television were found dead in Samarra, the site of Wednesday's Askariya mosque attack. Al-Arabiya is viewed in Iraq as favoring the United States.
... The Seattle Times is reporting that
fourseven US soldiers from the 101st Airborne have been killed by an explosive device north of Baghdad.
It's not easy to have fun when our veep is more than quail, our democracy is under constant attack and Iraq is exploding into a savage civil war. We all know this would not be happening if Gore or Dean or even Kerry were president. Think what paper ballots would have meant in Florida in 2000 or Ohio in 2004. Think what paper ballots in every state would mean in 2006 and 2008. You know what to do. Support Vote Trust USA or any other credible election reform organization to support efforts to get a paper ballot measure like New Mexico's adopted in other states. Now.
Dean Touts NM Paper Ballot Victory
DNC Chair Howard Dean, speaking at Plumbers and Pipefitters hall in Albuquerque yesterday, heavily praised our recent victory in passing a bill mandating the use of paper ballots in every county in New Mexico. He expressed gratitude for all the grassroots activists, election reform groups and legislators who worked so long and hard to get it done. And he had this to say about Governor Richardson's groundbreaking support for replacing the highly inaccurate and unreliable touch screen machines with paper ballots and optical scanners:
This state, thanks to Governor Richardson and a lot of people in this room, is now a leader in one of the most important areas in this country, which is not talked about enough -- and that is the end of corruption in electronic voting machines. To my knowledge, there is no other state that has done it. There is no other state that has said that what the Republicans are doing with these voting machines is wrong. And that it is a deep principle of democracy that every single vote counts.
I want to thank Governor Bill Richardson for taking national leadership on this issue. We need him as a spokesman of this issue. I understand that there may be some discussion of his interest in higher office, but I know that right now he is focused on being the next governor of the state of New Mexico and I hope that every one of you will get out and do everything you can for him, because this is something we need to get nationally. A state stood up to the right-wing Diebold fold!
People believe in democracy and New Mexico is a beacon for that. Thanks to what you all have done and to what Governor Richardson is going to do on March 2nd."
Governor Bill Richardson has indicated he will sign the paper ballot bill on March 2nd -- an important step on the way to assuring that every vote is counted, and counted accurately.
Governor Dean also said we must push on and work on getting similar efforts going in every state in the union. New Mexico can be the model. When Dean says "YOU'VE Got the Power," he isn't kidding around .... I'll have more on Howard's visit later today.