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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy National Coming Out Day! Are You With Us?

Today is National Coming Out Day. Of course Mary Ellen and I are out, out, out, but we want to say publicly again on this day that we are, indeed, lesbians -- lesbians who have been together in a committed relationship for 20 years as of last month. Lesbians who have faced down many obstacles to get to the place where we feel accepting and proud of who we really are. 

Many others, however, are still having problems being who they are in the face of the kind of prejudice, hatred, discomfort and discrimination that is still way too common here and abroad. If you are an LGBT person and still struggling to come out, we can only say that coming out is one of the most empowering and freeing things you can do. We know that by experience. Dare to be you!

As for our hetero readers, we'd like you to say the word "lesbian" with us. Good! Now say the word "gay" out loud. Fantastic! Some day you won't flinch even slightly when you say the words that were long been considered epithets in some quarters -- but now are words of pride. We expect many of you reading this are long past the flinch stage, but many politicians who say they represent us have a harder time of it. Some of them can even say "marriage equality," while still stumbling on the phrase "gay marriage." But we ARE making progress.

There's a huge National Equality March today in Washington DC. Last night, President Obama gave a rousing and moving https://healthcarpool.blogspot.com//a> touting our rights at the annual Human Rights Commission dinner -- and it was broadcast live. Now we need more of his promises to translate into action sooner rather than later -- by getting rid of Don't Ask Don't Tell, repealing the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and passing ENDA and hate crimes legislation. Actions speak louder than words. Do your part by contacting our Congressional delegation and President Obama and urging them to do what's right THIS YEAR.

Mary Ellen took the video above of renowned out comedian Kate Clinton talking about the power of coming out after her October 3rd appearance at the KTAOS solar center in a benefit performance for the LGBT Equity Fund of the Taos Community Foundation. She's got it just right.

October 11, 2009 at 12:26 PM in Civil Liberties, Events, GLBT Rights, Justice, Obama Administration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

10/18: Re-Election Kickoff Party for Santa Fe Mayor Coss

(click image for larger version)

Visit Mayor Coss' campaign website to learn more or contribute online.

October 10, 2009 at 09:58 AM in 2009 Santa Fe Municipal Election, Events, Santa Fe Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Commentary on Obama's Nobel Peace Prize: DPNM Chairman Javier Gonzales, IAEA's ElBaradei

Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairman Javier Gonzales released the following statement today in response to President Barack Obama being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I think he gets it right:

"I would like to commend the Nobel Committee for their selection today of President Obama as the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize recipient. I agree with the President that this award gives momentum to a set of causes that he is championing around the globe. In recognizing the President, the Nobel Committee has not awarded his accomplishments, but rather his vision to bring nations together and reestablish America as a leader in the quest for peace. Anyone who tries to attack the President for receiving this award, as RNC Chairman Michael Steele did today, will only continue the cavalier attitude towards other nations that we hoped had left Washington with the Bush Administration."

I didn't know what to think when I first heard about Obama receiving the Prize. I joined in the talk about whether he deserved it after he had only been in office about nine months. Then I watched this video of an interview with IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, who lays out -- especially in answer to the third question -- the thinking behind Peace Prize awards:

The IAEA and Dr. ElBaradei received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

Here are President Obama's remarks today on learning of the award. Excerpt:

I am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel Committee. Let me be clear: I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

But I also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women, and all Americans, want to build -- a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents. And I know that throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action -- a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.

... this award must be shared with everyone who strives for justice and dignity -- for the young woman who marches silently in the streets on behalf of her right to be heard even in the face of beatings and bullets; for the leader imprisoned in her own home because she refuses to abandon her commitment to democracy; for the soldier who sacrificed through tour after tour of duty on behalf of someone half a world away; and for all those men and women across the world who sacrifice their safety and their freedom and sometime their lives for the cause of peace.

October 9, 2009 at 05:48 PM in Democratic Party, Environment, International Relations, Peace | Permalink | Comments (5)

The Laramie Project 10 Years Later, An Epilogue: 10/12 Gala and Three More Performances in ABQ


The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later ~ An Epilogue
Presented by Mayor Martin Chávez & the City of Albuquerque,
Equality New Mexico, and Working Classroom.

Gala, October 12, 2009, $100 Per Person
Includes Pre-Show Reception at Standard Diner, 5:00-7:00 PM
Performance at South Broadway Cultural Center at 8:00 PM
Coffee & Dessert with Cast at 9:30 PM

Additional Performances October 16 and 17 at 8 PM
October 18 Performance at 2 PM
South Broadway Cultural Center
1025 Broadway SE, Albuquerque
$15/general and $10 student & seniors

All Performances Benefit
Equality New Mexico Foundation and Working Classroom
Written by Moisés Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski,
Greg Pierotti, Andy Pari and Stephen Belber
A Working Classroom Production Directed by Jesse Ontiveros

Purchase tickets online at https://healthcarpool.blogspot.com/ and at the South Broadway Cultural Center. For more information call Daniel Garcia at 505-242-9267.

Prior to the Gala performance, a live webcast will be presented from Lincoln Center, with Moisés Kaufman and the original cast introducing the play. Following the performance, another webcast will be available for a live question and answer session via social media technology.

Tectonic Theatre Project traveled to Laramie in 1998 a month after the beating of Matthew Shepard to conduct interviews with the people of the town. In June 2008, members of Tectonic Theater Project returned to Laramie, Wyoming to explore how the town had changed in the ten years since Matthew Shepard's murder. What they found defied their expectations. The result is a new play about how we construct our own history.

This is the continuing story of an American Town.

Please also check out the online community at laramieproject.org and read the New York Times article on the project.

October 9, 2009 at 01:46 PM in City of Albuquerque, Civil Liberties, Events, GLBT Rights, Theater | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tonight: Free Outdoor Films and Family Events at Sanchez Farm in ABQ

From the Bernalillo County Open Space Program:The Leopold Legacy Film Series will present the film "Heart & Soil" on Friday, October 9, at Sanchez Farm located at 1108 Arenal Road SW in Albuquerque, along with additional free family fun events at the open space.

Events begin at 4:00 PM with family farm activities. At 7:00 PM, there will be an outdoor film showing opening with local shorts and including "Stories of Wolves - The Lobo Returns" by Elke Duerr. The outdoor screening of "Heart & Soil" starts at 7:30 PM. Guests are encouraged to bring picnic blankets and dinner. The show will be outdoors, so bring appropriate clothing.

"Heart & Soil," a 45-minute family documentary, offers hope for our planet. Does what you eat affect global warming? Are small scaled farmers the new super-heroes? Can growing local organic food save the Earth? This uplifting movie clips along with the pace of barefoot children and frolicking livestock, taking us on a journey into the rich landscape and lives of small scale farming, the bustling energy of farmers' markets and farm to school programs. 

Filmed in the rugged Four Corners Area of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, "Heart & Soil" has been called "a love song for farmers," those stalwart keepers of the earth who speak with passion on diverse topics including animal husbandry, soil science and climate change. "Heart & Soil" also touches on the darker side of agriculture: the corporate extractive system that produces-not only most of the food we eat-but global warming.

For more information: 505-314-0398, calangan@bernco.gov.

Directions: From I-25, take Cesar Chavez Exit 223 going West. Cesar Chavez becomes Bridge Blvd. after crossing the Rio Grande. Go left (South) on Isleta Blvd for approximately1 mile. Go left on Lopez Rd. (there is a stoplight at Lopez Rd.). Lopez Rd. will end at Arenal. Park along the street. Please carpool when possible as parking is limited. You may also park at the West Side Community Center and walk to Sanchez Farm.

*****Please pass this on to anyone interested*****

This event is part of the Aldo Leopold Centennial Celebration 2009.

October 9, 2009 at 11:29 AM in Agriculture, Children and Families, Environment, Events, Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Udall & 29 Other Senators Urge Reid to Include Public Option in Reform Bill

Udall discusses public option

Positive news on the health reform front. Clearly, members of Congress are stepping up their demands for a strong public option. U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and 29 fellow senators sent a letter to Senate leadership today urging the inclusion of a public health option in any health reform legislation that will be considered on the Senate floor. Click for the complete text (pdf) of the letter and the names of the Senators who signed it.

In the letter, addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the senators expressed concern that without a competitive and robust public insurance option, health reform legislation will not produce nationwide access and ongoing cost containment.

“Health reform is about improving access to health care, containing costs, and giving Americans a real choice in the insurance plan best suited to their needs,” the Senators wrote. “We urge you to fight for a sustainable health care system that ensures Americans the option of a public plan in the merged Senate bill.”

Next week the Senate Finance Committee is expected to approve its version of health care reform legislation, which does not include a public insurance option. Legislation previously approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee does include a public insurance option. Once the Finance Committee completes its work, both versions of Senate health reform legislation will be merged into one bill to be debated by the full Senate.

“A public option allows us to inject competition in the market, and it allows individuals to shop around for the plan that best suits them – all while driving down costs for everyone,” Udall said. “The goal of health reform is to look out for the best interests of the American people. We’re asking senate negotiators to join us in doing just that.”

An additional 14 Senators, including Sen. Jeff Bingaman, have also expressed support for the public option through a resolution, letter, or by voting for a strong public option during committee markups.

October 8, 2009 at 04:09 PM in Healthcare, NM Congressional Delegation, Obama Health Care Reform, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Sen. Tom Udall | Permalink | Comments (1)

ACTION ALERT: Show Up in Santa Fe Friday to Rally Against Education & Service Cuts

Join New Mexico Voices for Children, the American Federation of Teachers and many other labor groups and Better Choices NM allies at a huge rally tomorrow at the Capitol in Santa Fe to oppose more budget cuts to education and other services. Click to see a list of organizations (pdf) that are supporting this event.

The rally begins at 12:30 PM on October 9th with a march from the Santa Fe Train Depot, at 410 S. Guadalupe St. (right where the Rail Runner drops you if you ride it in from Albuquerque). The march will end at the Roundhouse, with a press conference at 1:00 PM. Several great speakers are lined up and thousands of supporters are expected, so don't miss the chance to be in on something big and have your voice heard! Click for a complete schedule of events (pdf) and a map.

As you probably know by now, some legislative leaders believe they might need to cut 10 percent from the current year's education budget -- that's on top of the cuts already made last January. New Mexico ranks 33rd in the nation for per-pupil spending (that's 33rd worst), so we can't afford to fail our children. An investment in education is an investment in our future, and education is the best economic-development, crime-fighting tool there is. Click for info on the negative effects of education cuts (pdf) and on history of education funding in New Mexico.

For more information about how revenue generators can be used to plug the holes in New Mexico's budget in lieu of cutting services to those who need them most, check out this fact sheet prepared by New Mexico Voices for Children.

October 8, 2009 at 01:30 PM in Children and Families, Economy, Populism, Education, Events, Gov. Bill Richardson, Healthcare, Jobs, Labor, Local Politics, NM Legislature Special Session 2009, Poverty, Women's Issues, Youth | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rep. Luján to Hold Office Hours and Tele-Town Hall on Health Insurance Reform


Rep. Ben Ray Luján (NM-03) will hold a telephone town hall on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 7:30 PM (MT). Residents of the 3rd Congressional District must call Luján’s Washington, DC office at 202-225-6190 by Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 10:00 AM (MT) to RSVP for the call. After registering for the call, participants should expect a phone call at the time of the telephone town hall. By answering the phone call, they will be entered into the telephone town hall and have an opportunity to ask Rep. Luján their questions about health insurance reform during the live town hall.

Also,on Monday, October 12, Rep. Luján will hold a Congress on Your Corner from 9-11:30 AM at his office in Santa Fe to meet with constituents, discuss important issues before Congress and listen to concerns. The office is located at 811 St. Michael's Drive, Suite 104. During Congress on Your Corner events, Rep. Luján meets with constituents for five minutes each. Each Congress on Your Corner has a limited number of time slots. Please contact the Santa Fe office at 505-984-8950 to schedule a time on Monday.

October 8, 2009 at 12:08 PM in Events, Healthcare, NM Congressional Delegation, Obama Health Care Reform, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kit Carson Electric Coop to Receive Federal Funds to Conduct Energy Audits for Small Businesses in Taos, Rio Arriba, and Colfax Counties

TerryBrunner USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner (right) today announced that Kit Carson Electric Cooperative located in Taos, New Mexico will receive $100,000 to conduct energy audits for some of the businesses it serves.

To celebrate the obligation of the grant funds, State Director Terry Brunner will travel to Taos on Friday, October 9th, to present a ceremonial check to Kit Carson CEO Luis Reyes. The ceremony will take place at 10:00 AM at “The Enchanted Florist” located at 233-C Paseo del Pueblo Sur in Taos, according to a statement released by the agency.

Immediately following the ceremony, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative staff will make a short presentation on energy efficiency and conduct a typical walk through of an energy audit.

In making the announcement Brunner said, “With winter coming, people in Northern New Mexico are starting to think more about their energy costs and how to save money. USDA Rural Development funds will help Kit Carson’s customers assess where they can save on their energy usage.”

The $100,000 grant will allow Kit Carson Electric Cooperative to provide a minimum of 148 energy audits for rural businesses and offer renewable energy development assistance for agricultural producers. Plans for the funds also include education and training on the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy through public workshops and displays.

Administered by USDA’s rural business cooperative program, the Rural Energy for America Program Grants/Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance (REAP/EA/REDA) programs are designed to promote energy efficiency throughout rural America.

USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA’s web site at https://www.rurdev.usda.gov.

October 8, 2009 at 11:32 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Grassroots Power: Lt. Gov. Denish Gets Triple the Petition Signatures She Needs in First Week

Denish speaks about her values at petition signature kickoff

In less than one week of the signature collection process, more than 6,300 New Mexicans -- from each of the state’s 33 counties -- have already signed petitions to allow Lt. Gov. Diane Denish to file in February 2010 to run for Governor. According to her campaign, the number of signatures collected by the campaign is nearly three-times the number required (2,163) to file, reflecting the strong grassroots support for Lt. Gov. Denish in all regions of the state.

As we saw in the Albuquerque mayoral election this week, Democrats can sometimes be split on who to support in a contest. In the 2010 governor's race, however, it's clear that Democrats are of one mind -- they're incredibly united behind Diane Denish no matter where they live in the state. Denish has friends and supporters everywhere, a product of growing up in Hobbs, running a small business for years, serving as Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico and traveling the state to meet constituents during her almost eight years of service as Lt. Governor, working on a myriad of issues that revolve around education, children and families, jobs, women's issues and bolstering small businesses.

“I am inspired by the optimism, enthusiasm and energy I feel across New Mexico,” said Lt. Gov. Diane Denish in response to the grassroots success. “We’re facing some serious challenges, but the people of New Mexico want to seize the opportunities ahead, not look backwards. New Mexico is well-positioned to be a leader in the 21st Century economy, and as a former small business owner and two-term Lt. Governor, I believe I’m uniquely qualified to get us there. The signatures we’re collecting reflect the faith that New Mexicans from all regions of the state have in me, and likewise, my candidacy will reflect the faith that I have in them. Together, we’ll win in November 2010 and then seize the opportunities ahead for our state.”

In addition to collecting signatures at polling locations during Tuesday’s Albuquerque City elections, the campaign has obtained signatures from all 33 counties, including canvasses at the Shiprock parade, the Eastern New Mexico State Fair and the Elephant Butte parade.

As of today, nearly 400 New Mexicans have already volunteered their time to help the campaign collect signatures.

Despite collecting 6,300 signatures in the first week, Lt. Gov. Denish said she plans to fully participate in the preprimary convention, and the campaign will continue to mobilize its grassroots organization and collect more signatures until February. Signature collection canvasses in the coming weeks will take place in Lea, Dona Ana, Santa Fe and Bernalillo counties, and in smaller communities across the state.

To become a part of the grassroots action supporting the Denish for Governor campaign, , join Friends of Diane and sign up to volunteer.

October 8, 2009 at 11:23 AM in 2010 NM Governor's Race, Democratic Party | Permalink | Comments (0)

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