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Friday, April 21, 2006

Don't Miss 2nd Annual Chili Cookoff Saturday!

Redgreen_1Bernalillo County
Democratic Party
2nd Annual Chili Cook-off
Saturday April 22, 2006
11:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Expo NM, Albuquerque

  • Taste the Best Red and Green from Bernalillo County’s Democratic Cooks
  • Which Candidate Makes the Best Chili?  Choose Your Favorite!!
  • Straw Poll
  • Vote for Your Favorite Candidates - Show  Your Early Support!!

Location: Expo New Mexico - Alice Hoppes African American Pavillion

Time: 11:30 AM – 2:00 PM

Admission: CHILI TASTING $10.00. Taste all the Chili you want and receive one Straw Poll Ballot

ENTRANCE ONLY FEE $5.00. Entrance Only Fee Entitles You to One Straw Poll Ballot and Lots of Fun (no Chili Tastes)

ALSO AVAILABLE: Hotdogs, Hamburgers, Chips, Cookies, Beverages


Terri Holland
Executive Director
Democratic Party of Bernalillo County
130 Alvarado NE, Suite 400
Albuquerque, NM 87108
Fax - 505-265-0327
C - 505-417-3972

April 21, 2006 at 03:29 PM in Democratic Party | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Money + Politics = Corruption

Bribe2The headlines these days are harsh and depressing if you're a New Mexico Democrat. (See the coverage at Duke City Fix, Joe Monahan and New Mexico Matters.) Even so, I have to snicker at the antics of assorted Republicans and the right-leaning media in gleefully pouncing on the fall-out from the trial of ex-NM Treasurer, Michael Vigil. They seem shocked that the prevailing system of politics and governance -- a true devil's brew of money, favors and special treatment -- is producing corruption.

Could such a system produce anything but corruption? Does anyone really believe that the majority of big donors do so out of the goodness of their hearts or because they are incredibly inspired by the candidate? It's a matter of degree of course, but I think you can expect to find some level of corruption whenever large bundles of money change hands, regardless of the Party or office involved. Tit for tat.

It seems to me that the right-wing apologists for big money in politics should be rushing to the rescue of any and all politicos who are caught taking large "donations" from those with whom they do government business. After all, it's mostly been the Repubs who have long been dedicated to destroying or watering down any campaign finance reform proposal with teeth. The right-wingers never fail to pound home the mantra that giving unlimited bucks to candidates is FREE SPEECH in America, and nothing more. So why have they got anything at all to say about the swirling undertow of the Vigil scandal? You've got me. But then, hypocrisy is the GOP's middle name in this era of Abramoff and DeLay.

The way the system is currently set up, candidates are practically required to seek out huge sums of money from a coterie of bigshots to allow them to run what are considered to be successful campaigns. The paid political operatives who dominate the "culture of consultants" in election politics are deeply addicted to campaigning in this way. In denial, they ignore the fact that Howard Dean's presidential run showed you could rely on millions of small donations instead of the usual large chunks from assorted weasles. Essentially, these are often nothing more than bribes. Instead of seeing the beauty and power of grassroots power, the long-time players push to keep things as they are.

Yes, the conventional wisdom campaign infrastructure is full of "experts" who prefer business as usual, regardless of the corruption factor. It's easier to negotiate tradeoffs for big blobs of money than it is to rally the grassroots for more widespread and genuine support, adopt positions that appeal to large numbers of ordinary people or inspire the base so much they literally throw small donations and volunteer hours at you. So much easier to stick to the system that produces the kind of backroom deals that are being excavated in trials near and far these days, with players from both parties.

I can't tell you how much it irks me to read the press releases of candidates that report exclusively on how much money has been raised, apparently as THE measure of how the said campaign is doing. It's all about process, not content. The goal is to attract more money than your opponent rather than to address wrongs with rights to gain supporters. Given how this system operates, it's easy to see why politicos are so afraid of taking "controversial" positions -- they might irritate the big spenders who like things neutral so their boats don't rock. Change? Reform? Fairness? Honesty? Transparency? These are dangerous concepts to those who beg the money and those who give it.

The price we are paying for this travesty of morality and ethics is high indeed, as you can determine by glancing at any news source these days. Big winners? War profiteers, large financial concerns, oil companies, healthcare and insurance conglomerates, multinational corporations. Big losers? Ordinary Americans, middle class workers, women, children, sick people, seniors, the environment, the national debt, civil rights, education. After all, these folks just don't have the kind of big bucks needed to get the politicos' attention.

I read the other day that Hillary Clinton has raised $39 million for her campaign fund since she won election in 2000, and has about $20 million cash in hand. How has she managed to attract so much cold cash and why are so many giving her so much support? Your guess is as good as mine. Personally I find it obscene. But the campaign advisers and managers whose levels of compensation increase as ad purchases rise must be pleased as punch and counting their chickens. And the big donors must be licking their chops at what they can get in return for their "generosity."

Of course not all politicians who raise large amounts of money are terribly corrupt. But I think the percentage of those not on the take falls with each election cycle. It's just too tempting to skew policy one way or another in return for more bucks to run. It's telling to consider how many prominent elected officials have quit altogether because they could no longer stomach begging money on an almost daily basis from sources they didn't respect. Obviously, it wears on the more honest politicians most. Thus, they're driven out and their replacements too often exhibit much less conscience in the fundraising department. It becomes an escalating race to the bottom.

What We Can Do
So what can we do to clean up this mess? My suggestion is to join Common Cause, which has been working hard to get clean election measures passed locally and nationally. Their New Mexico group, led by Max Brix, was instrumental in the passage of Albuquerque's new open and ethical elections code , which provides for public funding of candidates for municipal office. They are involved with other significant ethics projects as well. Go check 'em out.

Unless we get the currently huge amounts of private cash out of elections and reform other aspects of politics, corruption will no doubt continue on its merry way -- compromising the good, the bad and the ugly as it goes.

April 20, 2006 at 04:17 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (6)

(Sorta) Live Blogging: ABQ Minimum Wage Debate

Note: This post starts at the bottom and works up to here as I kept adding updates at the top. You know what to do to read it in order. Make sure you have some snacks before you start!
FINAL UPDATE: We won! Minimum wage passes 6-3! Repubs Harris, Mayer, Winter vote no. See David Sirota's column on Working for Change that praises the ABQ City Council and, especially, Martin Heinrich. Congrats to all who worked on this issue with special thanks to Matthew Henderson of NM ACORN and Carter Bundy of ASFCME.

BREAK: I'm taking a break because, as Lennon once said, "I've got blisters on my fingers!" Back later. The vast majority of those speaking are for the bill. If the councilors voted according to those testifying, we'd be outta here and the Albuquerque wage raise would be a reality.

In fact, it strikes me that THE DEAL has already been made amongst the councilors and that this citizen testimony is probably meant merely to bolster the pretense that democracy is in action. Well, I guess it is in some ways, but we all know that the real action takes place behind the scenes when compromises among politicos are made on issues like this. What I've heard is that Heinrich's bill will pass with only one amendment by Cadigan that allows employers to deduct what they pay for employee health insurance from the minimum. If that's true, we've taken a big step forward. Of course $7.50 isn't really enough to live with dignity, but at least it's a good start.

UPDATE 7:50: Minister from First Unitarian Church: Federal minimum would be $10.70 if it had kept up with inflation. All have had raises since 1997 when minimum rate was last raised, but not the poor who work for minimum wage. Is a moral issue. If you are secure and ignore the plight of those less so, it is immoral. Say it brother! Next up a Quaker representing Interfaith who speaks of family time with children. If parents have to work two jobs or long hours for little money, not enough time with children. Take that you family values Repubs on the Council.

UPDATE 7:35: Legislator Kent Cravens representing PAVE - Protecting Albuquerque's Vibrant Economy.Got it. Another one that wants the wages changed at the federal level. Again, he's a Republican and I haven't noticed any big surge in the Repub controlled Congress pushing for this. He's afraid people will think we are against .... well everything American, isn't it?

He's evidently representing all the businesses that pay shit wages and no doubt provide no benefits, but you can guarantee that the owners have homes in High Desert or some McMansion on the West Side. Sez it's not about the money, it's ABOUT THE PERCEPTION IN THE GLOBAL MARKET! I guess he doesn't give a shit if people can't eat on what his friends pay. He's in LOVE WITH ALBUQUERQUE -- just not the people who work for unlivable pay. He thinks if the Albuquerque boat rises --- all the poor people will too. Can't have that!

Loony Harris says he was SO scared that the referendum nearly passed and there would be a huge exodus from Albuquerque! Cravens claims Eclipse said they wouldn't build here if the minimum wage bill passed. Right. Eclipse is paying people less than $7.50 an hour.  NOT! Blah, blah, blah Cravens whines on about nasty unions and threats to Albuquerque. O'Malley counters that, hey, we have subsidized Eclipse significantly. They're here cuz they got a great deal, not because our minimum wage was $5.15 an hour. You go girl!

UPDATE 7:25: The Hispano Chamber wants to phase in the wage over three years to $6.50 max. I guess these misers believe in forced servitude. I wonder which part of the Hispanic population they represent. No I don't. I know which one. The ones who drive Hummers and those massive tricked out, lumbering pickups. Now comes a loooooony who thinks if we raise the wage to $6.75 and then $7.50 in 2009, flocks of more intelligent and skilled workers will flood into Albuquerque and take the jobs of the poor. Yowsa. This one wins the nut prize, so far! Can't you see it -- the word passing around America that you can get $7.50 an hour in Turkey Town and masses of experienced workers rushing here to take advantage....

UPDATE 7:20: Our own Anne Kasse gives a wise and well reasoned presentation and invites the Council members to try to live on either $5.15 or $7.50 an hour. They'd be taking home $780 or $1,070 at those two rates. As she said, it's a MORAL ISSUE, not just an economic one.

Next comes our own Robb Chavez, the guy who got the impeach Bush resolution passed at the State Democratic Convention last month, says the Council should take advantage of the fact that labor, the Chamber and Wal-Mart are all in agreement on this bill and that the millenium may really be coming. Ain't it da trute.

UPDATE 7:15:  Our own Don Schiff does a terrific job talking about how this bill is a "bitter pill" because it doesn't raise the wage to AT LEAST $7.50 or provide raises for inflation. But he sez a good compromise means no-one is very happy, so this is a good one. Vote for it!

Followed by a guy in a beret holding a child who says it would be "against the American way" to vote against this! Then a guy in a cap suggests that businesses don't need to raise prices with this small increase in the wage, as they make enough money as it is. So there. A senior citizen said the price of gasoline and milk are what is causing inflation, not a small raise for our poorest workers. Cost of living going up due to the expensive war and money being wasted by Bush!

UPDATE 7:05 PM: Our own Terry Riley does well bagging the increase in millionaires while those lower on the economic scale have to dig deep to eat and buy gas -- the price of which is rising astronomically. Wingo Harris claims that the increase in millionaires is helping the poor. Groans and moans from the audience. Heinrich has to shush people.

Followed by a whiner who chants the right wing mantra that the raise should be done at the federal level. Funny though, these types never seem to support such measures at the state or local level when push comes to shove. Excuses, excuses. This guy is worried about the uneven playing field for him. I think he should move to Mississippi or Lousiana and see what comes of it.

UPDATE 6:50: NM Sen. Dede Feldman, one our best progressive stars, steps up. They're hitting her on Social Security recipients. Suddenly these right-wingos care about seniors. Hmmm. Mayer of course has no proof that prices will skyrocket because poor workers are making a meager $7.50 by 2009. Point made that with only 40,000 workers getting a raise, very unlikely that prices will put seniors in jeopardy. No kidding. I love it how the only time Repubs bring up the needs of the needy is when it's to stop poor people getting more money in any way.

GO KEEGAN KING! GO KEEGAN KING. Now HE's cute. Even I think so, and I'm gay. I know Keegan and he is a sweetie. He's now working for the League of Young Voters, which we certainly need more of!

UPDATE 6:44 PM: Carter Bundy of AFSCME (yay) up. Lookin good. He kisses some ass about the bill and then pushes to NOT have many amendments. Should teenagers be exempted asks Heinrich. Carter says there are unintended consequences for this -- businesses migh fire adults to hire teenagers for job to save money.

Right wingo Harris questioning again. Claims Wal-Mart supports minimum wage nationally. Carter says it's true that they support raise in federal minimum wage. No details.

Nasty Sally Mayer pipes in with talk about the THREAT of another referendum. How do we know you won't do that anyway, she sez. "Hates that threat hanging out there." I bet. Carter says going through a referendum is hell and his dog is inside 24 hours a day when he's doing that. Let's not have animal cruelty! Thinks a new referendum would raise to $7.50 right away and add indexing. Not really a higher amount. It's not a threat -- we believe in this issue strongly. We want to avoid that battle of another referendum. Bundy goes on record: I will say publicly that if Heinrich's bill passes and the only amendment is Cadigan's healthcare offset, we won't do a referendum this year or thru the time period of this bill. Perhaps in 2009 or 10 if necessary to have an adjustment.

UPDATE 6:30 PM: Oh here comes Teri Cole -- queen supreme of the Greater (not Lesser) ABQ Chamber of Commerce. She's the one who worked so hard to defeat the last min wage ballot initiative. HOWEVER, she will NOT OPPOSE Heinrich's bill despite their preference for a national or state minimum wage instead. As if the right wingos who run both Houses of Congress would EVER vote for a minimum wage raise. Whats is she smoking? But hey, why aren't we going for a stronger bill on the ballot! She admits the Chamber would lose if that happens, and the measure would be much less "desireable."

Councilor Harris (right wingo Repub) says he wants no minimum wage in city because it "perverts" the economy. I'll bet he doesn't think the high wages paid only to Lab workers by the federal government "perverts" the economy. He's one of those who believes all our restaurants will move to Rio Rancho (for the beauty) if a meager $7.50 per hour wage is paid. Right.

UPDATE 6:20 PM: I hear a baby crying in the hall and someone is explaining the difference between this bill and the one that was on the ballot last Fall. One, it'll apply to all employers, not just those with more than 11 employeers. He's also explaining how the requirements will be enforced, claiming there is much less paperwork and intrusion for employers to worry about.

Heinrich moves for a DO PASS on the bill and opens discussion.

NM Labor Secretary Conrad Chino opens and voices his support for Heinrich's bill and says Governor Richardson also supports it, as is -- i.e. it does NOT need any amendments!

Facts he presents: Our unemployment rate is very low and we have one of the highest job creation rates in the nation. This bill will have no impact on jobs or inflation. Bill would affect 38,000 workers here, the vast majority of them adults working full time. More Hispanics and African-Americans than other ethnic groups.


The best laid plans.... I'm supposed to be at the live-blogging event organized by Duke City Fix at the City Council tonight but things haven't worked out as planned. The laptop I was supposed to borrow fell through and I didn't think it would do much good to show up without a way to, well, blog!

So instead I'll be blogging here at my PC while watching the live feed from the Council Chambers. I guess it has its rewards. I can blog in my baggy old clothes, I can get to the bathroom quickly, I can munch and sip while I keyboard and I can play with our parakeets, lovebird and parrot in between segments. Of course the downside is that I'm not part of the growing community of bloggers who are gathered at the event tonight. Maybe next time!

I'll be weighing in here as the Council meeting progresses. You can also check out the other bloggers who are participating.

April 20, 2006 at 04:16 PM in Events | Permalink | Comments (3)



I am the egg head, I'm the Commander, I'm the Decider, Koo-Koo-Kachoo

Go listen. Now. Semolina Pilcher must be up at arms.

I'm definitely sitting on a cornflake waiting for 08 to come.

If you're curious, here's the original.


I am he as you are he as you are me
and we are all together....

April 20, 2006 at 08:48 AM in Music | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Celebrate at New Judge Fiesta

You're Invited:
MAY 4, 2006, 5:00 - 8:30 PM

6633 Guadalupe Trail NW
Los Ranchos de Albuquerque
All Are Welcome!

Please help the newest judges of the Bernalillo County District Court celebrate their June primary victories a whole month early (they went unopposed)!  Judge Carl Butkus, Judge Clay Campbell, Judge Kenneth Martinez and Judge Monica Zamora invite you to an informal evening of fun and music at the home of Jerry Roehl.  Dance to the music of Al Hurricane & Al Hurricane, Jr.!  Campaign contributions will be gratefully accepted, and divided equally between the Committee to Keep District Judge Carl J. Butkus and the Committee to Keep Judge Campbell, each of whom will have opposition in the November General Election.

Directions: From Central take Rio Grande north about 4 miles to Chavez Rd. Turn right (east) on Chavez and go about a half mile to Guadalupe Trail. Turn left (north) on Guadalupe. Third house on the left is 6633 Guadalupe. Parking at Taft Middle School, across the street from the Fiesta!

April 19, 2006 at 04:12 PM in Candidates & Races, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

NM Sen. Dede Feldman on 'We The People' Thursday

GUEST: Dede Feldman
(D-NM Sen. Dist. 13)
(Right, at a Patricia Madrid event, photo by Suzanne Prescott)
Thursday, April 20, 2006, 7-8PM
ABQ Public Access TV Cable Channel 27 or via internet (see below)

Dede Feldman has introduced legislation to reform campaign financing every year she has been in the legislature, finally winning approval for a public financing pilot program for the Public Regulation Commission, which takes effect in 2006.

As a State Senator she has had a big impact on the lives of women, children. and people struggling to make ends meet. Dede sponsored several successful initiatives including the “Graduated Drivers License” system for teens, a mastectomy bill that mandates insurance companies cover a minimum 48 hr. hospital stay, as well as the creation of a Brain Injury Services Fund that provides much needed services to people with head injuries. She also sponsored the “Do Not Call” bill in 2003 prohibiting unwanted telephone solicitations, an ATV safety bill in 2005 and the state's Senior Prescription Drug Discount program (2002).

You can now view Channel 27 Live! Worldwide! on the internet using Windows Media Player or here if you don't have Windows Media Player.

Watch us every Thursday 7-8 PM
Community Cable Channel 27
Albuquerque, NM

CALL-IN: 505- 346-1633 (the number will also be flashed on the TV Screen). HOST: Mickey Bock

WE THE PEOPLE is an innovative call-in television show looking for TRUTH and TRANSPARENCY in local, state and federal governments. We hope to remind viewers of their legacy and heritage coming from the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. It is our country's government--based on law and not tyranny--that grants us FREEDOM.

Mickey Bock/Judith Binder

April 19, 2006 at 01:54 PM in Local Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rainbow Easter on the White House Lawn

A couple of compelling posts on Daily Kos describe the experiences of gay families who attended the White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday. They did so as a group for the first time this year, to gain visibility and to demonstrate how much they are a part of the ordinary American family scene. They weren't allowed in the morning group that provided the backdrop for Laura's photo-op, but they had lots of fun, made lots of friends and got interviewed by many reporters just the same. They all wore rainbow leis:


Read the post of wclathe about Emma's day.


Read the post of TerranceDC about Parker's day.

This kind of friendly visibility can be very effective in countering the hate mongering of extremists that sadly is often the only commentary on gay issues ordinary folks hear. Instead of cowering in fear of right-wing name calling, these GLBT citizens are stepping out front and taking risks to change hearts and minds. If only our Democratic officials, candidates and "strategists" were half as brave and direct in challenging the meanspirited myths and ugly biases being pushed by the radical right noise machine.

Imagine where we'd be now if ordinary Americans had been hearing persuasive counter-arguments to the bigotry being pushed by Republican operatives for the last decade. Imagine the progress that could be made if Dems in the public eye would exhibit leadership on these kinds of issues. Imagine their disarming of the pseudo-conservative noise machine by refusing to react to right-wing baiting with deadly silence or smarmy avoidance. Imagine if our leaders fought hard to better frame what's really at stake for a large number of American citizens who obviously deserve full civil rights as much as the next person.

By the way, you may recall that the State Central Committee of the Democratic Party of New Mexico passed a resolution that calls for equal civil marriage rights for all. Our State Party's platform, however, does not contain this position. The word is our "leaders" didn't want to have to deal with the "controversy," so parliamentary maneuvers were used to keep it out of the platform. Sorry "leaders," GLBT citizens have to deal with it every day, even if you refuse to do so out of fear and a misguided sense of "playing it safe." The irony is that Dems don't gain votes by refusing to take strong stands on the issues. Instead they play right into the right-wing stereotype that Dems are weak and dishonest about their values.

Securing full civil rights for African-Americans, Hispanics and others was also very controversial. The difference is that many Dems in earlier times were willing to muster the courage needed to fight for what's right, rather than shrinking from tough issues based on the cold calculations of "consultants" and "strategists." I wonder when and if our candidates and elected officials will ever break free of this culture of cowardice. All we can do is keep pushing until they do.

April 19, 2006 at 10:35 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Tuesday Open Thread

So what are you thinking about today?

My mind's on the environment, having attended a really powerful event yesterday at UNM where Stewart Udall and Jack Loeffler spoke so movingly about the growing environmental crisis that's threatening the future of humankind and almost everything else. Their message: If we don't act SOON, it will be too late. No doubt about it anymore. In a similar vein, here's an article in today's Washington Post about Al Gore and his recently released film about the global environment crisis. See the movie's trailer (Quicktime). Also read The Moment of Truth by Al Gore.

As Udall said, we need to fall passionately in love with our planet once again if we're to make any headway on this problem. It touches every aspect of our being, doesn't it? We need a new way of thinking about how we live with nature, building upon the centuries-old views of indigenous humans all over the world who saw every single element of our planet as alive, even sacred, and connected to the whole, interdependent.

That's what I'm pondering today, but let's hear what's on your mind .... go ahead, click and comment.

April 18, 2006 at 11:12 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (13)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Minimum Wage Raise: Are You Ready For the Blog-In, Because It's Time to Go

Wifi_1Um, sorry for the title of this post, but I guess I'm still in Neil Young mode. Anyway, read all about it -- Chantal Foster over at Duke City Fix is organizing a local blog-in at this Thursday's special meeting of the Albuquerque City Council on Martin Heinrich's minimum wage proposal. Starting at 6:00 PM on April 20th, the Council will hear testimony on a proposed raise in the city's minimum wage and engage in a debate on the bill's merits. Members may well vote on the measure that evening as well.

Local bloggers of all political stripes, including DFNM, are being encouraged to live blog from the hearing. Chantal recently was instrumental in convincing the City to install free wi-fi web access in the Council Chambers, which bloggers can utilize Thursday evening to post hearing updates.

Now is the time to show up and testify on behalf of raising Albuquerque's minimum wage. Or at least to show up and cheer others on. Or at the very least, to visit local blogs that evening to keep up with what's going on at the hearing.

The Heinrich Minimum Wage Bill
A recent Albuquerque Tribune article describes Heinrich's proposal, which was crafted as a compromise measure based on many hours of work by the Councilor in negotiating with both minimum wage advocates like ACORN and business interests, including the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce. Click to read Heinrich's bill. The proposal calls for a raise in the city's minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.75 an hour on January 1, 2007, to $7.15 on January 1, 2008, and to $7.50 beginning January 1, 2009.

Marty1Mayor Chavez Threatens a Veto
Unfortunately but not surprisingly, Albuquerque's conservative-leaning (or something) Democratic mayor has threatened to veto Heinrich's compromise bill if it isn't further watered down. He's working in cahoots with Councilor Ken Sanchez, another alleged Democrat, who represents the primarily working class District 1. A whole bunch of Sanchez's constituents would directly benefit from Heinrich's proposal and can certainly use every penny they can get in a raise.

Now the Albuquerque Tribune is reporting that Sanchez will introduce an amended bill, to cut the wage increase by 25 cents an hour at each phase. ACORN and other fair wage advocates are opposed to further compromise. No kidding. I'd love to see Mayor Marty or Ken Sanchez live on $6.50 an hour, or even on $7.50 an hour, which ACORN wants immediately. The excuse Sanchez is making is that a raise to $6.75 an hour would drive out jobs. What employers could Sanchez and the Mayor have in mind who would rather move out of Albuquerque than pay the miserly rate of $6.75 an hour? Maybe I'll ask that question at the hearing.

How We Got Here
The original push for a boost in the minimum wage to $7.50, without a phase-in and with an annual indexing to inflation, was very narrowly defeated in last November's municipal election. Most analysts blamed the defeat on a clause that permitted access to public areas of businesses for the education of workers. A similar bill at the NM Legislature earlier this year just missed passage.

Afterwards, ACORN began a petition-gathering effort to get the $7.50 raise on this November's ballot, but suspended the project when Councilor Heinrich came up with a compromise bill that has the support of most players. Except for Mayor Chavez, Councilor Sanchez and perhaps Councilor Cadigan, all of whom claim they are Democrats. Cadigan has announced he will be submitting an amended bill as well. If the Heinrich bill is further watered down, ACORN plans to restart their petition drive to get a much stronger bill on the November ballot in Albuquerque. I'll be right there with them.

You can let your City Council know your views on a raise in the minimum wage .

April 17, 2006 at 04:17 PM in Local Politics | Permalink | Comments (8)

Neil Young Records Anti-Iraq War Album

Neil1Leave it to Neil. Thirty-six years after he penned come ten new protest songs under the album title "Living With War." According to an article in The Independent:

It started as a rumour - gossip shared by fans on internet chat sites. Could it true, they asked? Could Neil Young, a cultural lodestone for a generation of country rock fans, really be turning his attention to President George Bush and the war in Iraq? Now Young himself has confirmed it. Not only has he recorded an entire album about the conflict, but in one of the songs he spells out who he thinks is to blame for the ongoing chaos and violence and what the consequences for that person should be. That track is called "Impeach the President".

"I just finished a new record - a power trio with trumpet and 100 voices," the 60-year-old says in a ticker-tape message posted at the bottom of his official website. "Metal folk protest? It's called Living with the War."

Further details about the album came from Jonathan Demme, the film maker who produced the recently released documentary Heart of Gold about the singer-songwriter. "Neil just finished writing and recording - with no warning - a new album called Living With War," he told the music magazine Harp by e-mail. "It all happened in three days ... It is a brilliant electric assault, accompanied by a 100-voice choir, on Bush and the war in Iraq ... Truly mind blowing. Will be in stores soon."

...His song urging that Mr Bush be impeached reportedly accuses him of "lying" and features a rap with the President's voice set against the choir singing "flip-flop" - an accusation Mr Bush and other Republicans aimed at John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, during the 2004 election campaign.

More info available at Thrasher's Wheat and Young's official website. To get in the mood click play:

April 17, 2006 at 10:03 AM in Iraq War, Music | Permalink | Comments (5)