The people spoke, but will legislators listen?

In poll after poll prior to November 4th, New Mexican voters voiced their desire for change – not just generic change for change’s sake, but real change in the economy, real change in health care, real change in the war, real change in energy sources and real change in the ethical behavior of elected leaders.

Voters put their voice into action on November 4th, electing new leaders at all levels of government, and by historic margins. With much of the media focused on our new President and Congressional leaders, will state legislators heed the call as well, or will we get inaction on these critical issues?

Here’s a great example of the change we need. It’s a story about Schott Solar, an Albuquerque company that has come away unscathed by the economic catastrophe. Continue reading

One More Election Retrospective: Winners and Losers Watch

The countdown has begun. It’s 60 days till the Obama Inauguration AND the opening gavel of the 2009 legislative session. What are we to make of the altered political landscape left in the wake of Election 2008? Who are some the real winners and losers?

NM Republicans… swept away

The following numbers tell a lot: In 2000, Gore beat Bush by 365 votes. In 2004, Bush beat Kerry by 5,988. In 2008, Obama beats McCain by over 125,000. Can you say, “shock and awe”? Continue reading

NM Independent makes its mark

New Mexico seemed particularly blessed last April when the non-profit Center for Independent Media founded the New Mexico Independent, a comprehensive online newspaper designed to cover local news exclusively.

The CIM had already established similar online papers in four states and Washington D.C as part of its New Journalist Pilot Program. The idea was to train a new corps of journalists and create independent media outlets by melding emerging blog technology with the standards of professional journalism.

The CIM experiment was a timely one, coming as the print newspaper business model was rapidly falling out of favor and online news consumption was rising.

The birth of the New Mexico Independent came just as the Albuquerque Tribune shut down, leaving the city with only one newspaper, one domineering news source and one editorial point of view. Continue reading

Green Jobs: A Fresh Opportunity

As the election craze winds down and we all start to take a breath and look at the new turn our country is taking, it can be pretty difficult to settle with complete optimism. A major issue that we still face is the growing unemployment rate our nation is facing.

As of October, it was reported at 6.5% but is projected to rise up to 8% in the next year. People are losing jobs, layoffs are rampant across industries, and for most underemployment is another major concern as it stands at a rate of 11.8%, its highest in 14 years according to the Economic Policy Institute. Continue reading

Two Roads to 2008: Miguel and the Boogie Man

Millions of words are being written about the significance of Barack Obama’s victory last week – the emergence of a new majority coalition, the fundamental redrawing of the electoral map, the transcending of America’s historic racial divide.

The 2008 election is one for the ages.

A look back always helps to put things in context. I see where PBS’s Frontline will broadcast “Boogie Man – The Lee Atwater Story.” Appropriate.

Twenty years ago – November 1988: Lee Atwater was the master of American politics, having just managed the successful presidential campaign of George H. W. Bush. That was the campaign that sharpened racial divisions, making “Willie Horton” and “wedge issues” household words. Lee pioneered the art of push polling and voter suppression. Continue reading

Putting this election to bed

The biggest, best-informed and most-representative electorate in American history made its choice yesterday, electing the nation’s first ever African American president by a decisive margin.

I spent Election Day prowling the polls across Albuquerque with my colleague Alicia Lueras Maldonado, looking for people’s personal voting stories and keeping an eye out for trouble.

In New Mexico, so many voters cast their vote early or by absentee ballot that most of the polls we visited were practically deserted. At many sites, poll workers and election protection workers outnumbered actual voters.

But we did manage to snag a few people out voting the old-fashioned way.

Most voters we talked to said they did hours of research on the candidates’ positions before they made their choice. Continue reading

My sentiments exactly

This pretty much sums it up. Couldn’t put it better, so I won’t even try.

The monster years

Last night wasn’t just a victory for tolerance; it wasn’t just a mandate for progressive change; it was also, I hope, the end of the monster years.

What I mean by that is that for the past 14 years America’s political life has been largely dominated by, well, monsters. Monsters like Tom DeLay, who suggested that the shootings at Columbine happened because schools teach students the theory of evolution. Monsters like Karl Rove, who declared that liberals wanted to offer “therapy and understanding” to terrorists. Monsters like Dick Cheney, who saw 9/11 as an opportunity to start torturing people.

And in our national discourse, we pretended that these monsters were reasonable, respectable people. To point out that the monsters were, in fact, monsters, was “shrill.”

Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize Winner