Conservatism Heads for Fernando’s Hideway

We’ve all read about the controversy stemming from Fernando C. de Baca’s comments about Hispanics and African Americans, resulting in C. de Baca’s resignation on Thursday as head of the Republican Party of Bernalillo County.

While initial media stories focused on his original comment to the BBC, it’s his second comment that really caught my attention:

I feel strongly that Hispanics will not support, in my generation and the generation around my age, are not going to support the Democratic candidate for president primarily because there is a strong feeling that African-Americans during the civil rights movement took advantage, full advantage, of all the benefits and programs that the government offered, that were supposed to be offered to all minorities. But we were left behind, we were left sucking air, and we resented that ever since the 60s, and I don’t see how a black president is going to change that.

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Trickle Down Crisis

Maryann Padilla worked and saved and scrimped all her life, and now she simply wants to know that the modest retirement she has planned for will be safe.

But like millions of Americans, the retired teacher and Grants, N.M. native is worried about how the financial crisis on Wall Street will affect her retirement plan and the $100,000 worth of annuities she bought 40 years ago to supplement her retirement.

Her annuities have taken hits before when the economy has faltered, and Padilla, who is 62, said she expects she will have almost nothing left by the time she really needs to rely on them. Continue reading

Obama speaks with New Mexico tribal leaders

Obama made a surprise visit to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque last Thursday, September 18th. This was before his scheduled appearance in Española, where an estimated 10,000 people attended. I was able to get down to the IPCC and talk with folks at the event and snap some shots of Obama supporters.

Obama supporters line up on 12th Street

Obama spent the morning speaking with tribal leaders from New Mexico, answering their questions and laying out his positions on tribal sovereignty, land and water issues, tribal jurisdiction and creating healthy communities for Native Americans.

Many of the folks I spoke with like, Charlie Dorame from Tesuque Pueblo, stated that they were encouraged by Obama’s visit and the time he has made to speak with Native Americans. Governor Salazar of Ohkay Owingeh said he felt like Obama spoke from the heart and that he understood Native issues and seemed open-minded to learning more.

Over the next week I will be posting video interviews that focus on Native Americans in New Mexico and their perspective on this important election year. Stay tuned.

It’s the economy, clearly

Most economists are saying that the earthquake that struck the United States’ financial markets hasn’t even hit us fully yet. It’s like a rumbling from deep in the earth’s core – it’s coming towards us, gaining velocity, and all that we know for sure is that there’s going to be a hell of a lot of trouble ahead.

There are a few things that we do know for sure, though. Continue reading

McCain: Banking system model for health care reform

Paul Krugman reports on Senator McCain’s views on health care reform.

Here’s what McCain said this month in the magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries:

“Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.”

(Krugman link)

One would hope that provocative ideas like this will be thoroughly aired in the upcoming debates.

On the frontlines of the foreclosure crisis

Robert Garcia says more and more families are coming to his agency every day for help in their battle to keep their homes.

Garcia is executive director of Southwest Neighborhood Housing Services, a statewide homeowner assistance agency located in Albuquerque.

Watch the interview with Garcia

Over the past year, Garcia said he’s seen a shocking increase in the number of families signing up for foreclosure prevention counseling. Continue reading

“Community Organizer”

Arturo Uribe of Mesquite, N.M. didn’t just wake up one day and decide to be a community organizer.

But the man who thought of himself as “just a college student, father and husband” effectively became one after he began to suspect that emissions from the Helena Chemical Co. plant next to his family’s longtime home were making his young children sick

Uribe, 38, first noticed that his daughter, Giavanni, 12, began suffering from respiratory problems and uncontrollable nosebleeds shortly after the Uribe family moved to Mesquite in 2003.

The family had been living in Silver City but moved to Mesquite, settling in the house Uribe’s grandfather built decades ago. That Uribe family home sits 50 yards away from the Helena plant, which is believed to manufacture and blend agricultural fertilizers, fungicides, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals. The company is an American subsidiary of the giant Japanese company Marubeni and exact accounts of what chemicals are actually handled there and what is done with them have been hard to document, Uribe said.

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What the hell?

Big news broke last week about sex, drugs and offshore drilling. It turns out that big oil companies like Chevron and Shell have been giving and getting a lot more than sweetheart deals from the Department of Interior.

The AP reported, “Employees [of DOI] frequently consumed alcohol at industry functions, had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and natural gas company representatives, who referred to some of the government workers as the ‘MMS Chicks.'” Continue reading

Palin’s promise: Same old, same old

After letting Governor Sarah Palin’s convention speech settle in for a few days and following the post mortem analysis on TV and the blogs, I’m reminded of many things. Let’s start with Thomas Frank’s book, “What’s the Matter with Kansas?”

Frank outlined the remarkable and clever tightrope the Republican Party has walked over the past four decades, knitting together blue collar and rural social conservatives with corporate CEO’s. Frank describes how social conservatives often voted against their own economic self-interests because of a more powerful and compelling narrative that the Republican Party had crafted around family values, personal responsibility, military might and the call to shrink government. Continue reading