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Monday, August 25, 2008

Sunday in Denver: Confusion, Cops, But No Cigar

Whose streets? Our streets.

Go to top of DFNM's main page to see our Zannel vids & photos.

Lesson of the day: it takes much longer to do things than it appears it should. It starts with the slow wireless connections that seem to be the norm, at least where we've been. Our "economy studio" hotel's connection is often slower than dial-up. Last night, for instance, it was taking forever even to load a web page, let alone watch or upload a video or photo. It makes me think of how countries like Japan and many European nations have nationwide broadband that's many times faster than the fastest connections we have -- and many times cheaper.

Good job telecoms and Bushies. Let's have more of this infrastructure neglect for four more years. No way to have advanced, public-wide broadband when the incredibly underregulated telecoms are so busy doing illegal surveillence on our citizens. Ironically, when we finally did get our first day's "media credentials" we discovered that Quest had apparently donated the strings used to hang the plastic-coated pass around your neck because the Quest logo was all over them.

Rats in a Maze
Then there's getting around town if you can get accurate information on where you might want to go. We ended up bouncing around town like ping pong balls, following bad directions, only to be denied entry to events we were encouraged to attend. We did this to the point of exhaustion so we didn't go to events we really could get into -- at least if we played the childish game that seems to dominate interactions at this kind of event. It mostly consists of waiting around for long periods of time, cutting through crowds, battling credential checkers and sidling up to certain people to get the secret password that permits you to go here or there and drink free liquor while in the vicinity of people you've seen on TV.


Chasing Our Tails
It helps to be connected to a media organization of any sort, that's helping to pay the bills by the way, and tossing tips your way as to what's going on. These sorts are used to running after "stories" and waiting for hours to get a quote that pretty much says what everyone would expect the person to say. They have the process down.

On-their-own partisan bloggers like us aren't really there to get a "scoop" or a nonstory story, we don't have a stipend from a news entity to pay for anything and we're women to boot, so we don't really fit in with the pushin' and shovin' to get in and grab free food and drink crowd. We don't have rooms close in, we have certain health issues that make it difficult to get around -- and so much going on in Denver seems joltingly disorganized and spread out.

One guy with sign, many cops

For instance, we're encouraged to attend our delegation's 7:30 AM breakfast meetings that usually feature prominent speakers and such. But we're staying in a room assigned to us by the DNC housing office that's in a "hotel zone" so far out that the shuttles that take you downtown don't start until 10 AM. Convenient.

16th Street Mall

At any rate, we spent much of yesterday on the phone trying to get information, going through a disorganized process of getting our credentials at the downtown Sheraton, and then walking the length of Denver's long 16th street pedestrian mall because we got bum information from a Sheraton employee. Imagine an employee at a major downtown hotel not knowing the way to the Convention Center. It boggles the mind.

Cops Playing Soldier
It was a fascinating trip down 16th street and downtown Denver though. The "police" presence was way over the top -- they are everywhere in large numbers, on bikes, horses, on foot, hanging off the sides of trucks and in patrol cars -- often congregated in tense bunches, watching for "terrorists" domestic and foreign, or any lone person with a sign. Many of them are dressed like faux soldiers in battle gear, roving clumps of SWAT-like intensity. It was a common sight to see one or two people holding signs or wearing message tee-shirts surrounded by 10 or so cops in battle regalia. Provides that all-American, 21st century vibe to the town.

Truck O'Cops

The Party, However, Goes On
Of course, in the midst of the intermittent cop-mobbing of citizens, there's also a festive, devil-may-care feeling in Denver. Despite the seriousness of the nation's problems, people in town for the Convention seem generally jazzed and excited to be there. There really IS a sense of hope in the air, no matter how idealistic or illusory it may be in the final analysis. People like parties and there are definitely tons of parties going on in the streets, suites, bars, restaurants and ballrooms. IF you have the right pieces of paper and/or the right connection with the right people and/or you are persistent.

You'd never know a war or two was going on if you look at the faces of folks strolling around downtown or emerging from black Lincoln Towncars. And, I admit, that upbeat mood can be infectious, at least until you see another clump of cops or think of what's going on elsewhere in the world at that very moment.


We eventually cabbed it to the Convention Center for a delegate welcome event were told we could attend, struggled along the building's entire length to the one elevator that most "welcome" people didn't know about -- only to be told that we weren't allowed in. No one knew why. The DNC people blamed the non-DNC people and the non-DNC people blamed the DNC people.


By then we were so starved we cabbed it to Union Station to get some dinner before the next event we were told we could get into. The closest place recommended by the cabbie was the pricey but world-famous Morton's, known for its steaks, seafood and elegance. We split everything we ordered so the cost wasn't too bad, considering, and the food was really top notch. Respite in the storm. We spotted a number of other Dems there too, including former NM Party Chair John Wertheim, Caroline Buerkle, who managed the Patricia Madrid and Don Wiviott campaigns, and former Ambassador Ed Romero. Our waiter told us Tom Brokaw had reservations there that evening, but he later cancelled. It was that kind of hobnobbing place.

By the time we finished eating, the NM Chairman's welcome event was winding down at an old rail car at Union Station. We heard media credentials were again being questioned, but we don't know if that was true because we said to hell with it and grabbed a cab to get to our car to make the 40 minute drive back to our room in Aurora.

No Cigar
It had been mentioned that we might want to attend a stogie puffing confab of Dem bigwigs at the historic and luxurious Brown Palace hotel, but we passed on that too. Somehow, the thought of pushing our way into a smoke-filled room populated mostly with well connected males sipping expensive booze didn't sound that appealing. But then, that's just us. You know how females are. The scent of male power and privilege -- and the spectacle of others trying to sniff it to gain an edge -- can be a bit tiring after awhile. Put me in a room full of grassroots activists any day. Now that's exciting.

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August 25, 2008 at 11:37 AM in 2008 Democratic Convention, 2008 New Mexico Convention Delegation | Permalink | Comments (5)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Denver Convention: Getting Closer

Northern NM

Go to top of DFNM's main page to see our Zannel vids & photos.

We're ALMOST to Denver for the Democratic Convention. We're at our "economy studio" in Aurora out on the flat plains near the airport and amidst the warehouses -- "media housing" arranged by the DNC housing office. Trains pass by whistling every now and then. Flocks of starlings gather and converse. We can see a colony of prairie dogs across the street. Not exactly in the thick of the action of downtown Denver, but we may come to treasure that as the pace picks up.

Trinidad CO, Where Coal Was King

We'll be retrieving the first set of DFNM's media credentials today at the Sheraton downtown. Everyone has to pick up new credentials daily, to avoid counterfeiting I guess. The rest of the week we'll be picking them up at the Hampton Inn downtown. No reason for the change.


Tentative plans are to check out the lay of the land this morning and then meet up this afternoon with some of the other state bloggers who are a part of the Zannel PoliticsBlue project. We have our own channel called DemocracyForNM within PoliticsBlue and you can see our videos, photos and messages at our channel page or on the top of the DFNM blog's main page. We'll be gathering at The Big Tent to put faces to the names and see what's happening at the two-story blogger headquarters put together by ProgressNow, the Alliance for a Sustainable Colorado and Daily Kos to be a home away from home for credentialed and noncredentialed bloggers.

Raton Pass

We'll also be hooking up with the New Mexico delegation tonight at a 5:00 PM welcome gathering at their downtown hotel headquarters. I'm sure the energy will be outstanding as everyone realizes we're finally here after months of anticipation, nominating the next President and Vice President of the United States. Yowsa.

Roadside recuerdo memorializing an accidental death at steep and often snowy Raton Pass

Matt of was trailing us by about 35 miles yesterday as we drove up to the Convention. Text messaging kept us connected as we progressed along I-25 through Northern New Mexico, which looked very green from the monsoon rains, up and over Raton Pass and into Colorado. We passed through the old city of Pueblo, with its coal-fired power plants, rusting industrial infrastructure and new development at its fringes. North along the Front Range of the Rockies, the mountains always to our left (!), and into the sprawl of the urban corridor that starts around Colorado Springs. The Focus on the Family welcome sign was plainly in view from the highway. It didn't make us feel very welcome.

Looking through our hotel window

The NEW Front Range
We hadn't been up this way for years, always preferring to travel into Colorado on the other side of the Front Range to avoid the congestion, up 285 even when we go to Denver. It was truly shocking to see the massive seas of sprawl development. There seemed to be homogeneous housing projects -- almost every one of them brown-toned with houses crammed together -- shoehorned into every possible nook and atop every possible mesa and foothill all the way to Denver. We passed one new office complex after another filled with rectangular boxes of mostly horrible and sometimes pompous design. Way too much reflective glass, way too little creativity, a corporate sameness with corporate ideas of what architecture means.

There seemed to be only a few undeveloped gaps between the Springs and Denver -- demonstrating the exploding development of the Front Range during the past decade. Albuquerqueans, be happy we don't have enough water to sustain this kind of essentially unregulated "growth." Of course neither does the Front Range, but that hasn't seemed to place any restriction on the burgeoning construction.

The Rockies themselves still provide an imposing and awe-inspiring backdrop to the West along the highway, even with intermittent clouds and rain. But I still remember the Front Range when I first encountered it in the early 80s and it pains me to see all the clutter on what was once a truly Western tableau with jaw-dropping, wide-open vistas galore in all directions. Colorado is getting quite a "green" reputation, but seeing the vast sprawl tells a different story. We can't really keep living and "growing" in this manner, consuming in this way, and expect to make genuine progress on cutting greehouse gases and severing the umbilical cord that ties us to fossil fuels. The change we need isn't just around the edges -- it's gonna take a major paradigm change. Are you ready?

Click on photos for larger versions. All photos by M.E. Broderick.

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August 24, 2008 at 11:18 AM in 2008 Democratic Convention, 2008 New Mexico Convention Delegation | Permalink | Comments (0)

NM-03: Lujan Featured in Denver Post

Click here and then click on "Mora" to see the Denver Post's photo, video and 360 degree view of NM-03 Dem candidate Ben Ray Lujan at the Mora Fiesta Parade and explaining why he's a Democrat. Great stuff.

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August 24, 2008 at 11:15 AM in NM-03 Congressional Seat 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Do YOU Know How Many Houses You Own?

August 23, 2008 at 08:23 AM in 2008 General Presidential Election, Economy, Populism, John McCain | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Alex Flores Guest Blog: Obama/Biden 08!

(To see our Zannel channel with videos, photos and messages from Denver and the Dem Convention you must be on our main page at www.DemocracyForNewMexico.com. The widget is at the top of the page under our banner.)

N19400471_30795792_8768_2 This is a guest post by Alex Flores, who blogs at Alex on Politics. Alex is from Corrales, NM and will be working on a Master's at Princeton. He'll be serving as a Page at the Democratic Convention, assigned to Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairman Brian Colón.

Campaign back channels are confirming Senator Joe Biden will become Senator Barack Obama’s Vice-Presidential Nominee tomorrow.

It’s going to be an impressive duo to watch this election season! 10 weeks to go.

Tonight, confirmation that the United States Secret Service has dispatched a protective detail to assume the immediate protection of Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., a source tells ABC News, indicating in all likelihood that Biden has been officially notified that Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, has selected him to be his running mate.

2007_01_31_biden_obamaInterviewing on “The Early Show” on CBS this past sunday, Obama made clear what his expectations are for his Vice-President:

“Obviously, the most important question is: Is this person ready to be president?” Second, he said, was: “Can this person help me govern? Are they going to be an effective partner in creating the kind of economic opportunity here at home and guiding us through some dangerous waters internationally?”

And, he added: “I want somebody who is going to be able to challenge my thinking and not simply be a ‘yes person’ when it comes to policymaking.”

ObamadebateBiden is a long time Senator who will absolutely challenge Senator Obama’s policies and hopefully pull the administration in a more progressive direction. From what we known, Jill Biden is impressive herself and will add to the already strong supporting cast in Michelle Obama and all of the campaign’s surrogates.

Biden is a senior statesman who will bring foreign policy experience to the table, a working class background, and even has a son who will be deployed to Iraq on October 3 (Joe “Beau” Biden is also Deleware’s Attorney General and a Captain in the State National Guard).

Steve Clemens wrote on the Huffington Post earlier today:

Compare this to Joe Biden who in 2005 was ranked 99th out of 100 senators in terms of personal wealth.

And amazingly in 2006, Open Secrets lists Biden as 108th out of all US Senators (i.e., negative 8! How did he do that?) with a near negative value on total income and assets.

Biden has not enriched himself through marriage, book deals, land swaps, or even betting on Intrade.

That’s an interesting contrast to Senator McCain….

I’m excited to see them together tomorrow in Springfield, Illinois and later this week in Denver at the Democratic National Convention. Afterwards - look forward to Biden dismantling his opponent in the Vice-Presidential Debates!

This is a guest blog by Alex Flores of Corrales.

Guest blogs provide our readers with an opportunity to express their opinions on pertinent political issues. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link on the upper left-hand corner of the page.

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August 22, 2008 at 10:52 PM in 2008 Dem VP Candidates, 2008 Democratic Convention, 2008 General Presidential Election, Guest Blogger | Permalink | Comments (7)


Udall_2From Rep. Tom Udall, Dem candidate for U.S. Senate in New Mexico:

First of all, just wanted to say a big thank you to Barb and Mary Ellen. Not just for welcoming me to live blog here as a part of my "Doing Right by New Mexico Tour", but also because of all their hard work to make New Mexico a better place. They're out there every day connecting progressives and spreading the message about our great candidates here.

I have a pretty simple rule that guides me when I am making important policy decisions or looking at specific legislation. All I really think about is whether it's right for New Mexico and our nation. That's one of the most important things I learned from my family -- the real value of public service. And I believe that's a common trait we all share in the Democracy for America community.

With the way things have been going during the last eight years it is vital to have independent, thoughtful and dedicated folks like you keeping a close eye on what your public servants do. Harry Truman always said that the most important position in America wasn't President, or Senator. It was that of the citizen. And with this great blog, your coverage of the issues and your tireless organizing, you really are all great citizens.

With that, I'll be here for about a half hour or so and I'd love to take your questions or comments about our Tour!

--Tom Udall

(Click on "Comments" link at end of post to communicate with Tom.)

Tom Udall is supported by blogs in the New Mexico netroots at True Blue New Mexico. We hope you'll donate a few bucks to his campaign. We can turn New Mexico Blue but we need your help!

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August 22, 2008 at 04:25 PM in 2008 NM Senate Race | Permalink | Comments (25)

Convention Coverage: Here Comes DFNM on Politics Blue on Zannel and Beyond

The Pepsi Center podium unveiled

Democracy for New Mexico is one of twelve blogs (see below fold) from around the country chosen to help launch the group Politics Blue on Zannel, a new and exciting vlogging service you can access via your cell phone or computer. All the blogs on the Politics Blue channel at Zannel are members of the DNC State Blogger Corps and, like DFNM, have credentials to be seated with their state delegations on the floor of the Pepsi Center in Denver next Monday thru Wednesday, and on the field at Mile High Stadium on Saturday for Obama's acceptance speech.

Mary Ellen and I will be using Zannel to post video clips, photos and short text messages from the 2008 Democratic Convention. The DFNM blog has its own channel within Politics Blue, as do all the other blogs. We've installed a widget at the top of the main DFNM page where you can quickly access our latest uploads. (To see it you must be at www.DemocracyForNewMexico.com, not one of our subpages.) There are arrows you can use to move from upload to upload. Our material will also be shared on the aggregated Politics Blue group channel on Zannel. Right now, we've just got test-type material uploaded to Zannel, but soon we'll be putting up the real deal. Check back often.

Of course we'll also be posting longer pieces right here, and you can also check out our stuff on Rootswire (widget on left sidebar). We also understand that C-SPAN's Convention Hub, the DNC's Convention website and other sites will be aggregating State Blogger Corps posts. Visit the links on the left sidebar for those sites, plus our Convention videos on YouTube and photos at Flickr and more.

Thanks to all of you who donated so generously to help cover the costs of our Convention trip. And gracias to our intrepid house sitters as well, who'll be holding down the fort at our place. Onward to Denver ....

Other Zannel Politics Blue participants:

  • Florida: Florida Progressive Coalition - https://flaprogressives.org
  • Georgia: Georgia Women Vote – https://georgiawomenvote.blogspot.com
  • Kentucky: Blue Grass Roots - www.bluegrassroots.com
  • Mississippi: The Natchez Blog - www.natchezblog.com
  • New Hampshire: Blue Hampshire -
  • South Carolina: Crack the Bell - www.crackthebell.com
  • Utah: The Utah Amicus - https://utahamicus.blogspot.com
  • Vermont: Green Mountain Daily - www.greenmountaindaily.com
  • Wisconsin: Uppity Wisconsin - www.uppitywis.org
  • Democrats Living Abroad: Yanqui Mike - www.yanquimike.com.ar
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    August 22, 2008 at 11:56 AM in 2008 Democratic Convention, 2008 General Presidential Election, 2008 New Mexico Convention Delegation, Democratic Party, Visuals, Web/Tech, Zannel | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Today at 4:30 PM: LIVE BLOG with TOM UDALL on DFNM

    Be sure to visit the DFNM blog at around 4:30 PM Mountain time today to participate in a live blog with Rep. Tom Udall, our excellent candidate for U.S. Senate. We're excited that Tom will be taking our questions and comments and interacting live with folks on DFNM as we count down to the start of the DNC Convention in Denver. Tom's in the midst of his Doing Right by New Mexico Tour and will be checking in live from the road.

    Come on back at 4:30 PM today, and encourage your friends to do the same. We'd like to have as many people as possible participating in the live blog. If you have questions or comments for Tom, today's the day to get them heard -- LIVE on the DFNM blog.

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    August 22, 2008 at 10:33 AM in 2008 NM Senate Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Patricia Madrid Named to Obama's National Latino Advisory Council

    Patricia Madrid with husband Mike Messina
    at Obama event earlier this year

    The Obama Campaign yesterday announced the formation of its National Latino Advisory Council, highlighting the continued growth of support Senator Obama is receiving in the Latino community nationwide. According to the campaign, the advisory council is made up of key labor, faith, community leaders, and elected officials from across the country and will serve as an advisory council for the campaign on issues important to the Latino community as well as play an active role reaching out and organizing Latinos in their communities and across the country. (See list below fold.)

    Among those named to the Advisory Council is New Mexico's former Attorney General Patricia Madrid. Madrid is also one of three Democrats serving as co-chairs of the Democratic Platform Committee this year.

    "I am honored to have the support of these key Latino leaders from across the country that have dedicated their lives to improving and advocating for better education for our children, access to health care, civil and voting rights and advancing economic opportunities not only for Latinos, but for all Americans," said Senator Obama. "With their support and advice, we will continue building our movement for change in every community."

    A recent Pew Hispanic Center Poll had Senator Obama leading amongst Hispanic registered voters by 66 percent to McCain's 23 percent. The Obama campaign is focusing on winning the support of Latinos throughout the country and in particular in the key battleground states of New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and Florida where Latinos comprise a large percentage of the voting population. 

    Recently, the Democratic National Committee and the Obama campaign committed an unprecedented $20 million to engage and mobilize Hispanic voters for the November election. This money will include voter registration, paid advertising, staffing and mail, in an effort to promote engagement and mobilization among Hispanic voters and build on already overwhelming support from this key group of voters for the Democratic Party and Senator Obama.

    "Latino voters will play a pivotal role in the November election," said Council Chair, Federico Peña. "The members of the advisory council bring a breadth of knowledge, experience and leadership and will provide important guidance to Senator Obama and our campaign about how to most effectively reach Latino voters. Senator Obama has earned a strong lead among Latino voters, but he isn't taking a single vote for granted. Latino voters are already seeing the contrast between Senator McCain's campaign of the past and exchanging principle for political expedience, and Senator Obama's campaign of change, hope, and opportunity." 

    "I am proud to be a part of this advisory council," said Geoconda Arguello-Kline. "Senator Obama represents the kind of leadership that will fight for America's working families and will help create opportunities to empower our communities across America."

    "As the Latino community continues to get to know Senator Obama, it is clear that he is the right candidate for our issues and is the best candidate to deliver the change that America desperately needs," said Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis. "Senator Obama not only understands the struggles and diversity of our community but because of his personal history and background he will stand with us and be a fighter for our issues. I look forward to continuing to work to elect Senator Obama as the next President of the United States."

    National Latino Advisory Council Members

    · Federico Peña, Chair, National Hispanic Advisory Council, Former Mayor of Denver and Former Secretary of Transportation, National Obama Campaign Co-Chair 

    · Geoconda Arguello-Kline, President, Nevada Culinary Workers Union

    · Congressman Xavier Becerra

· Adolfo Carrión, Bronx Borough President 

    · Henry Cisneros, Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development 

    · Bishop Wilfredo De Jesús, Vice President of Social Justice, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference 

    · Congressman Charlie González 

    · Congressman Raúl Grijalva

    · Congressman Luis Gutiérrez 

    · Ambassador Luis Lauredo, Former Ambassador to the Organization of American States 

    · Patricia Madrid, Former Attorney General of New Mexico

    · Eliseo Medina, Executive Vice President, Service Employees International Union 

    · Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez 

    · Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis 

    · Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez

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    August 22, 2008 at 12:01 AM in 2008 General Presidential Election, Minority Issues | Permalink | Comments (2)

    Thursday, August 21, 2008

    Udall, Teague to Speak at Dona Ana County Labor Day Breakfast; J. Paul Taylor to be Honored

    Tom_udall_2The Doña Ana County Democratic Party is set to host their biggest event of the year -- the Sixth Annual Labor Day Breakfast. The popular annual event will take place on Monday, September 1st, at 9:00 AM at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces.

    Harry_teague_2U.S. Senate candidate Tom Udall (right) will deliver the keynote address. Harry Teague (left), candidate for U.S. Congress in the Second District, will also speak.

    "Labor Day is the perfect time to celebrate the American labor movement and its ties to the Democratic Party," said Melinda Whitley, chair of the Doña Ana County Democratic Party.

    J_paul_taylor"We are also delighted to honor J. Paul Taylor's years of service to the people of New Mexico during this event." The National Education Association (NEA) has chosen J. Paul Taylor (right) as this year's honoree. Taylor was a representative in the New Mexico State Legislature for nearly 20 years. Additionally, he served as a teacher, a school principal, and a tireless advocate for those in need.

    Tickets for the event are $40 each, or $360 for a table of ten.  Please contact 575/532-1780 for more information.

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    August 21, 2008 at 10:46 AM in 2008 NM Senate Race, Democratic Party, NM-02 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)