Tag: New Mexico

2018 Primary Elections: Eight States Voting Today

Voters in eight states go to the polls today with the main event focused on California where voters choose the top two candidates, regardless of party, who will face off in November. Californians call it the “jungle primary” which was instituted back when Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, was governor. Arnold thought that it would bring …

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Tales from The Edge of a Revolution #3: The Goddess of Travel

The hotel shuttle pulls up to San Francisco’s airport half an hour late. I push a dollar into the driver’s hand and grab my bag. Less than an hour remains to negotiate San Francisco’s ever present chaos to make my flight. I join the line snaking back and forth through an infinite channel of nylon belts and down the backs of airline ticket booths, tapping my finger impatiently on the handle of my bag. There are no other flights to Albuquerque until late tonight and that would mean missing work.

I make it past the first ID screening and still the line crisscrosses for a mile in front of me. Then, the Goddess of Travel intercedes. Right in front of me, a TSA officer unclips the nylon belt holding us at bay and announces they are opening a new screening area. I thank the Goddess, and follow the woman beckoning with her hand.

Like a pied piper she leads us past the rows of ticketing desks and into a lonely corridor. We walk forever and I wonder if I actually saved any time.

“Can we get to United’s gates from back here?” a man asks, mirroring my own growing unease as we travel well past the last ticketing booth.

“Yes, all gates from here,” our guide replies with confidence.

Finally, we round a bend in the deserted hall and stop. I suck my breath in and curse the Goddess of Travel.  That witch, she’s tricked me again. The Rape-U scans have finally come to San Francisco.

The Constitution Breaks Bad in Albuquerque

Oct. 17, 2011

Albuquerque International Sunport Security Checkpoint:

I pass a camera crew filming the ticket counter. I stop and consider telling them what I am about to do, but decide against it. They probably won’t care. Instead, I wheel my baggage to the security area.

I can feel my heart beat in my chest. I’ve never done anything like this. I’ve always said “Yes sir,” even when I didn’t agree. Even this simple act fills me with conflicting emotions.

New Mexico is far warmer than my native Pacific Northwest. I’m sweating by the time I reach the first inspection of my ID. I’m sure I already look like a terrorist. The TSA agent, perched on his stool, takes no notice. I look enough like my driver’s license and I have a valid airline ticket. He black lights my ID and lets me pass with hardly a glance.

I’ve come here to moonlight from my real job. My daughter had an operation, and I had to come up with thousands in deductible. She’s in college and, so far, I’ve managed to keep her from becoming a debt slave, like her mother. I took eight extra weekends of work in the Land of Enchantment to cover the cost. I’m lucky, I guess, I can do that. Others, with fewer job opportunities, have no choice but to go bankrupt.

My heart kicks it up another notch when I get to the conveyor belt. Shouldn’t have had that coffee this morning but thank God I didn’t eat anything, or I’d be hugging the trash can right now.

Come on, I tell myself, what are they going to do? Confiscate your toothpaste? Say something mean to you? So what. Relax. You can do this. You should do this. You have to do this.

I take off my shoes and strip my backpack of computer and the baggie of incidentals. I stand in line while my armpits grow embarrassingly moist and I feel my heart race. I think, Get a hold of yourself. You’re being a drama queen.

When it is my turn, I decline to go through the monitor that scans under your clothes, as I always do. The TSA agent starts his spiel about how safe it is. I’ve done my research. His statements are questionable, but that is not why I am doing this. I start my own spiel.

“The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution reads: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, an particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

More change from the states: New Mexico joins the Move Your Money campaign

Yesterday, the New Mexico House of Representatives unanimously decided to move the states’ money into small banks and credit unions, becoming yet another example of the fact that progressive change will not come from the top down.

In the context of the larger movement against the greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street, this is a dramatic repudiation of that behavior from a somewhat unexpected source.

The bill enables a possible switch of $2-5 billion of state funds into CUs and small banks.

If enacted, the municipal funds bill, in the works since last year and still subject to a Senate vote, would represent a setback to large national banks, like Bank of America and Wells Fargo, which have had a lock on such funds.

The altered view of New Mexico lawmakers in favoring local control of state funds, officials said, follows national mention of the New Mexico effort in the “Move Your Money” campaign of New York pundit Arianna Huffington in her online Huffington Post columns.

Thank You!

cross-posted from The Dream Antilles

Yesterday was a wonderful day for me and for everyone else who hopes that state killing will eventually be abolished in the US:

Gov. Bill Richardson, who has supported capital punishment, signed legislation to repeal New Mexico’s death penalty, calling it the “most difficult decision in my political life.”

The new law replaces lethal injection with a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. The repeal takes effect on July 1, and applies only to crimes committed after that date.

“Regardless of my personal opinion about the death penalty, I do not have confidence in the criminal justice system as it currently operates to be the final arbiter when it comes to who lives and who dies for their crime,” Richardson said.

Europe’s human rights watchdog on Thursday hailed the decision as “a victory for civilization.” The American Civil Liberties Union called it “a historic step and a clear sign that the United States continues to make significant progress toward eradicating capital punishment once and for all.”


I wrote about this on several occasions, and I requested repeatedly in those essays that you call the Governor and urge him to sign the bill.  It is especially for all of those phone calls to the Governor and your emails to him that I want to thank you.  This is a great victory.  And, truthfully, it would not have happened without your support.  I applaud you!

I know that one abolitionist friend today is joyfully wearing a t-shirt that says, “Someday happens.”

For the record: New Mexico became the second state, after New Jersey, to repeal the death penalty legislatively since 1965, when both Iowa and West Virginia repealed their death penalty laws.  New York’s death penalty was struck down as unconstitutional, and it has not been re-enacted.   Twelve other states never had the death penalty: they either outlawed it before 1965, or after 1972 after Furman v. Georgia struck down all death penalty laws, they never enacted a new one. Fifteen states, including New Mexico, now do not have the death penalty.  Thirty-five states, the military and the U.S. federal government retain it.

Thanks!  Let’s do this again soon!!

h/t Abe Bonowitz  

Please Ask Gov. Richardson To Sign The Death Penalty Abolition Bill (Updated x 2)

cross-posted from The Dream Antilles

This morning, I re-wrote my dailyKos diary from yesterday, put it up, and again asked people please to call New Mexico Governor Richardson and to ask him to sign the Death Penalty Abolition Bill.  Here’s what I wrote:

I posted this diary yesterday.  I’m posting it again today because Governor Richardson is taking comments on the New Mexico Death Penalty Abolition Bill until Monday evening.

Friday, I wrote that the New Mexico legislature passed a bill calling for the abolition of that state’s death penalty.  The bill (pdf) has been sent to Governor Richardson for his signature.  That’s where you, my fellow Kossacks, come in.  We all need to call the Governor and ask him to sign the bill.

Governor Richardson has formerly supported the death penalty, but he says he has not made up his mind about this bill:

Richardson, a second-term Democrat, has opposed repeal in the past but now says he would consider signing it.

“I haven’t made a final decision,” the governor said this week.

I want you, fellow Kossacks, to help him make his final decision, a decision to sign the abolition bill.

You can make a lasting contribution to the abolition of the death penalty in New Mexico and ultimately in the entire US, by making a single telephone call to New Mexico Governor Richardson and asking him courteously to sign the death penalty abolition bill.  Just ask that he sign the bill.  Here’s the number:  (505) 476-2225. The number will record your request.  There is no human being on the phone, just a recorder.

Please spend 30 seconds making this call and make this request.

The logic for this is clear.  The more calls the Governor receives, the more he understands that there is enormous support for him and for abolition and for his signing the bill.  Huge support for signing makes it more likely that the Governor will sign the bill.

It’s unbelievably simple what is needed.  But it requires you, dear Kossacks, to take action, to make the call, to spend 30 seconds.

Please make this call.  Please bring abolition of the death penalty to New Mexico.

Despite their directness, neither diary/essay generated a large response.  Today’s had about 20 recommendations; yesterday’s, about 40.  I have no idea how many people actually called Governor Richardson’s number (505) 476-2225 and left a recorded message asking the Governor to sign the bill.  I know that I did, and I trust that those who said they called in the comments actually called.  Of course, I have no idea how many people just made the call after they saw the essay and didn’t bother to click anything on dailyKos.

I also sent the first request for calls essay to a number of well known, large, leftwing blogs to ask them to help out with this, to ask them to ask their readership to call the Governor.  This morning I awoke to see that none had responded to the request.

I don’t really claim to understand how something that seems to me to be so important and so easy to carry out can have so lame a response.  I’m not whining about this.  I’m just saying that I don’t understand it.  I have no intention of spending additional time or energy trying to figure this out.  I need to devote myself to trying to bring about results and not shunt myself onto some abandoned siding to analyze the meta.

So, dear readers, I am asking you to call Gov. Richardson and ask him to do the right thing, sign the bill, end the death penalty in New Mexico.  It’s easy.  And it’s the right thing to do.

Update (3/15, 3:35pm ET):  Richardson apparently is taking this decision very seriously.  Here’s the local Sunday story:

The governor said he is looking for the public’s input before he decides.

“I want to hear compelling argument, factual arguments. I want to hear from the clergy-conscious arguments,” he said.

Although the death penalty is still common in places like China, Africa and Middle-Eastern countries, The United States is on an increasingly short list of western nations that still execute prisoners–something the governor says he’s aware of.

“It bothers me that America is one of the few countries that still has the death penalty,” he said.

The governor’s office has been flooded with thousands of calls and e-mails on the issues, with opinion split evenly. Now, the governor says he wants to go face-to-face with voters.

“We’re going to be available all weekend to hear from constituents,” he said. “I’m going to meet with constituents on Monday–anyone that wants to talk to me about this issue,” he said.

You can call the governor at 505-476-2225. You can also e-mail him through his website under the “contact the governor” link.

Put another way, your call is especially urgent.  And, of course, you can email as well.

Update (3/16, 1:53 pm ET):  Last chance to make this call is today, Monday.  I’m doing what I can to solicit responses, including this at GOS.  Anyone else is, of course, free to post similar solicitations. Thanks for all the attention to this.

Breaking: New Mexico Legislature Abolishes State Killing

Long story short, the NM legislature has passed the bill abolishing capital punishment in New Mexico and has sent it on to the governor for signature.

This happened about 15 minutes ago.  Here’s a first link to prove it’s so.

Now you can open that bottle of champagne and offer a toast to New Mexico and to the abolitionists who worked so hard and well to bring about this wonderful victory.


Vampire Kisses: Did Abramoff and Wilson Bleed Romero in NM Election?

Crossposted from ePluribus Media

Dennis Greenia, Vampire Slayer

dengre I first learned about Jack Abramoff’s successful plot to help Heather Wilson ambush and bleed dry my good friend, Richard Romero, in two separate New Mexico congressional elections while strolling with dengre down K Street. Both times, Abramoff employed a stealth PAC purportedly championing health care reform. By 2004, New Mexico’s political aquifer flowed red.

K StreetI’m not the first person to learn about Abramoff from dengre.  He’s one of the brave few whose nocturnal obsession with vampires unearthed Washington’s Empire of the Undead for the slumbering masses.

Dengre, aka Dennis Greenia, reminds me of Van Helsing. He wears rumpled plaid shirts and seems to sport a permanent case of bedhead. He talks about Abramoff all the time. I’m not sure if he sleeps.

Barack Obama Held a Rally in My Front Yard!!

Crossposted from ePluribus Media

The View from my Window “The last shall be first” just took on a new meaning for me.

Barack Obama held a rally in front of my house in Espanola, New Mexico (pop. 8,700). My community, which is usually ignored, attracts attention for  high rates of uninsured (NM is second only to TX), and for leading the nation in overdose deaths. Espanola’s citizens go unrecognized for their achievements.

My RoofLast Thursday, a crowd bigger than my entire town including upscale neighbors from nearby Santa Fe and Los Alamos Counties, was visible from my roof. I would like to introduce you to some of the people at the rally…friends and vecinos who struggle…friends and vecinos who have changed the way our country thinks about health care and economic justice, though we don’t know them.

This is the story of our small community, our struggles, and our one big, wonderful day! (Scroll your cursor over photos).


Congressional races round 2: New Jersey and New Mexico

District: NJ-01

Location A T shaped district in southwestern NJ, bordering PA and a tiny bit of DE

Representative Robert Andrews (D) may retire to run for senate

First elected 1990

2006 margin unopposed

2004 margin 75-25

Bush margin 2004 39-61

Notes on opponents In 2004, Daniel Hutchison raised $200K to Andrews $800K

Current opponents No declared Republicans

Demographics Not unusual on what I track

Assessment Safe for Democrats

District: NJ-02

Location Southernmost NJ, on the Delaware Bay and Atlantic

Representative Frank LoBiondo (R)

First elected  1994

2006 margin 62-36

2004 margin 65-33

Bush margin 2004 50-49

Notes on opponents neither raised money

Current opponents None declared

Demographics Not unusual on what I track

Assessment Long shot

District: NJ-03

Location The southernmost of several CDs that stretch east-west across NJ, this one from the Atlantic to PA.

Representative Jim Saxton (R) retiring

First elected  1984

2006 margin 58-41

2004 margin 63-35

Bush margin 2004 51-49

Notes on opponents In 2006, Rich Sexton raised $161K to Saxton’s $1.3 million

Current opponents John Adler

Demographics 20th fewest in poverty (5.1%)

Assessment Vulnerable.  With Saxton out, this swing district is prime pickup territory.  It’s on the DCCC list , and superribbie ranks it the most vulnerable seat.

District: NJ-04

Location Another east west strip, more or less in the middle of the state, including Trenton.  Bordering PA and the Atlantic

Representative Christopher Smith (R)

First elected  1980

2006 margin 66-33

2004 margin 67-32

Bush margin 2004 56-44

Notes on opponents Neither raised much

Current opponents Josh Zeitz

Demographics 63rd highest income (median = $54K)

Assessment Slightly vulnerable superribbie ranks this 77 of all Republican seats

District: NJ-05

Location Northernmost NJ, bordering PA and NY, including NYC suburbs

Representative Scott Garrett (R)

First elected  2002

2006 margin 55-44

2004 margin 58-41

Bush margin 2004 57-43

Notes on opponents Each raised about $500K, Garrett about $1 million in each

Current opponents Dennis Shulman and

Camille Abate

Demographics 6th highest income (median = $73K), 55th fewest Blacks (1.5%)

Assessment Somewhat vulnerable. superribbie ranks this 55th of all Republican seats.  Garrett’s winning percentage is shrinking, he did no better than Bush in 04, and that won’t be enough in ’08.

District: NJ-06

Location A strange, thready district, running from a NYC suburb (Plainfield) south and east to Long Beach and then south to Asbury Park

Representative Frank Pallone (D)

First elected  1988

2006 margin 69-30

2004 margin 67-31

Bush margin 2004 43-57

Notes on opponents Neither raised money

Current opponents None declared

Demographics 67th highest income (median = $56K)

Assessment Safe

District: NJ-07

Location Another strange shape, running east west, but shaped like the Greek letter ?.

Representative Michael Ferguson (R) retiring

First elected  2000

2006 margin 49-48

2004 margin 57-42

Bush margin 2004 53-47

Notes on opponents In 2006, Linda Stender raised $1.9 million to Ferguson’s $3 million; in 2004, Steve Brozak raised $800K to Ferguson’s $2.8 million

Current opponents Linda Stender is running again, as is Upendra Chivakula and a few Republicans

Demographics 4th wealthiest (median income = $75K)

Assessment Vulnerable. superribbie ranks this 8th of all Republican seats, and it’s on the DCCC list .  This is a competitive race near NYC, so all you NYC kossacks with time on your hands… this is a spot (but don’t ignore our own Vito Fosella, NY-13). Prime pickup material – Stender almost beat a fairly moderate Republican incumbent.  

District: NJ-08

Location More NYC suburbs, including Wayne, Patterson, and West Orange

Representative Bill Pascrell (D)

First elected   1996

2006 margin 71-28

2004 margin 69-29

Bush margin 2004 41-59

Notes on opponents In 2006, Jose Sandoval raised $200K to Pascrell’s $1 million; in 2004, George Aijan raised $100K to Pascrell’s $900K

Current opponents None declared

Demographics 41st fewest veterans 8.3%)

Assessment Safe

District: NJ-09

Location Close NYC suburbs

Representative Steve Rothman (D)

First elected  1996

2006 margin 71-28

2004 margin 68-32

Bush margin 2004 41-59

Notes on opponents Neither raised much

Current opponents None declared

Demographics 48th fewest veterans (8.6%)

Assessment safe

District: NJ-10

Location Newark, and some NYC suburbs

Representative Donald Payne (D)

First elected  1988

2006 margin unopposed

2004 margin No major party opposition

Bush margin 2004 18-82

Notes on opponents NA

Current opponents None declared

Demographics 25th fewest Whites (56.4%), 16th most Blacks (21.4%), 15th most Democratic

Assessment Safe

District: NJ-11

Location Central northern NJ, including Dover

Representative Rodney Freylinghuysen (R)

First elected  1994

2006 margin 62-37

2004 margin 68-31

Bush margin 2004 58-42

Notes on opponents Neither raised money

Current opponents Tom Wyka , who lost in 2006

Demographics 2nd highest income (median = $79K)

Assessment Long shot

District: NJ-12

Location Another east west strip, from north of Trenton (on the PA border) to NYC suburbs in the east, and almost to the Atlantic

Representative Rush Holt (D)

First elected 1998

2006 margin 66-34

2004 margin 59-40

Bush margin 2004 46-54

Notes on opponents In 2004, Bill Spadea raised $350K to Holt’s $1.6 million.  In 2006, Joseph Sinagra raised little

Current opponents None declared

Demographics 15th highest median income ($70K)

Assessment Almost totally safe

District: NJ-13

Location Yet another strange shaped district, this one runs north-south along the Hudson River and the Atlantic, with a gap

Representative Albio Sires (D)

First elected  2006 (special election to replace Menendez, who became Senator)

2006 margin 78-19 (regular election)

2004 margin NA

Bush margin 2004 31-69

Notes on opponents None raised money

Current opponents None declared

Demographics 12th fewest veterans (5.4%), 51st fewest Whites (32.3%), 26th most Latinos (47.6%), 27th most Democratic

Assessment Safe

District: NM-01

Location Albuquerque and suburbs, and some desert

Representative Heather Wilson (R) probably retiring to run for Senate

First elected  1998

2006 margin 861 votes out of 211,000

2004 margin 54-46

Bush margin 2004 48-51

Notes on opponents In 2004, Richard Romero raised $2 million to Wilson’s $3.4 million; in 2006, Patricia Madrid raised $3.3 million to Wilson’s $5 million

Current opponents Martin Heinrich ; Rebecca Vigil-Giron ; Jessica Wolfe ; Robert Pidcock are the Democrats

Demographics 86th fewest Whites (48.5%),  92nd fewest Blacks (2.3%), 32nd most Latinos (42.6%)

Assessment Very vulnerable. superribbie  ranks it the 4th most vulnerable Republican seat, and it’s on the DCCC list .

District: NM-02

Location The southern half of NM, bordering AZ, TX, and Mexico

Representative Steve Pearce (R) probably retiring to run for Senate

First elected  2002

2006 margin 59-40

2004 margin 60-40

Bush margin 2004 58-41

Notes on opponents In 2004, Gary King raised $1.1 million to Pearce’s $2 million; in 2006, Albert Kissling raised $180K to Pearce’s $1.3 million

Current opponents Bill McCamley who wrote on Daily Kos

Albert Kissling , the 2006 candidate, and  

Frank McKinnon are the Democrats

Demographics 20th lowest income (median = $29K), 73rd fewest Whites (44.3%), 60th fewest Blacks (1.6%), 29th most Latinos (47.3%)

Assessment Vulnerable, superribbie ranks it the 28th most vulnerable Republican seat, and it’s on the DCCC list

District: NM-03

Location Northern half of NM, including Santa Fe, bordering AZ, CO, OK, and TX, and touching corners with UT.

Representative Tom Udall (D) retiring to run for Senate

First elected  1998

2006 margin 75-25

2004 margin 69-31

Bush margin 2004 45-54

Notes on opponents Neither raised money

Current opponents Don Wiviott

Benny Shendo

Harry Montoya

Ben Lujan


Rudy Martin

are the Democrats

Demographics 68th fewest Whites (41.4%), 36th fewest Blacks (1.1%), 38th most Latinos (36.3%), 14th most nonWhite, nonBlack, nonLatino (mostly 18.9% Native American)

Assessment Slightly vulnerable. superribbie ranks it the 30th most vulnerable Democratic seat  


I was a competitive swimmer as a kid.  In fact, I held a state record in one of my events.  Impressed?  Don’t be.  ‘Cuz it twarn’t nuthin’.  It was as insignificant a state record as anyone could ever hold.  Why?  Because I won the first event run in the first 25-meter pool in the state (before that, they were 25 yards).  That day, the competition was not fierce in my event, and it ended in a tie for first place.  My name was entered in the record book.  And a week later, it was gone for good.

So, you see?  It’s perfectly true that I held that state record.  But it’s equally true that upon closer examination, its significance is underwhelming.  All too often, crucial government pronouncements need to be examined closely to see if they have any more substance than my state record.

One of the better classes I ever took in college was something called Data Analysis.  I use its lessons regularly.  In it, amongst other things, we learned that one of the seminal, oft-cited scientific papers proving that salmon navigate by magnetic orientation was fatally flawed.  The prof contacted the authors, and got them to send him their raw data.  They used two tanks for the studies, located in the field.  And, as it turns out, the effect was only seen in one of them – the one closest to their campfire.  Those ever-fascinating fish were orienting towards the light!  But the paper’s still cited today.  Looks like their sense of smell – shown in some other studies involving water diverted for a power plant – is much more what it’s about.

If you were giving a presentation, and that prof showed up with his calculator, it was enough to rattle you, no matter how well you knew your stuff.  If only more of our journalists had been required to take a similar class!