A lump of coal and a bit of cheer

Christmas 2008: Tomorrow, December 25th, is the 58th birthday of Karl Rove (aka “the Architect”, aka “Turd Blossom”), the man who dedicated his life to electing George W. Bush president and dreamed of creating a “Permanent Republican Majority.”

Instead of a PRM, he gave us was a wretched war, a wrecked economy, and the corruption of the Department of Justice – just for starters.

So bah humbug to you, Karl.

Now on a cheerful note, dear friends, take a look at this wonderful video from Playing for Change – Peace Through Music.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us-TVg40ExM&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en&feature=player_embedded&fs=1]

Disinvite Rick Warren

I’m not really big on micromanagement.

And, as I’ve watched the parade of cabinet appointments issue forth from Chicago, I don’t have an all-consuming worry that president-elect Barack Obama is out to betray his left-of-center base.

He’s made some good choices, most notably on State, Energy, Education, Health and Human Services, and, um, Commerce.

We elected Barack Obama , and we empowered him to make those choices. His cabinet is his most important cadre of advisors. We must pay attention to the background of his nominees, and closely follow what they do after they take their offices.

So I’m feeling pretty good about the big choices.

I guess that’s why it bothers me so much that Obama has taken the grave misstep of inviting evangelical pastor and anti-gay rights activist Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration. Continue reading

Remembering Tonantzin

guadalupeFriday, December 12th was Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. La Virgen de Guadalupe has always held a special place in my heart even though I was not raised Catholic.

La Virgen de Guadalupe represents the mestizaje that we see in our culture. To some she is the mestiza Virgin Mary and to others she is Tonantzin, Mother Earth. She reminds us that regardless of our faith we are all connected.

SAGE Council runners

SAGE Council runners

It was fitting then that this past Friday, December 12th runners from SAGE Council held a prayer run at the Petroglyphs.

Rinconada Canyon

Rinconada Canyon

Obama and New Mexico’s Health Care Authority

It is clear Obama is going to move aggressively on health care reform, including it as a cornerstone of his economic recovery package. Kevin Sack, in his op-ed entitled, “Necessary Medicine?” in this Sunday’s New York Times, cites Obama himself:

To broaden support for his plan — whatever it ends up being — he [Obama] insisted last week that systematic improvements in health care would be essential to any lasting economic recovery.

“It’s not something that we can sort of put off because we’re in an emergency,” he said. “This is part of the emergency.”

Mr. Obama said his health plan would be “intimately woven into” his administration’s economic blueprint. And he directly confronted those who might ask how the country could afford a major expansion of health coverage in times of shrinking revenues and burgeoning deficits. “I ask a different question,” Mr. Obama said. “I ask how can we afford not to?”

The state of health care in New Mexico is, to paraphrase Civil Rights organizer Bob Moses, like a boat in the ocean with a hole in it. You have to stay afloat to fix the boat, and fix the boat to stay afloat. Continue reading

My RootsCampDC

So, I was in DC for the first time at Trinity College to attend an event called Rootscamp. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the event, basically, it’s a large scale conference based on the open space model of social networking and self organizing. There aren’t any pre-set agendas, but only a wall for everyone to advertise room sessions they would like to facilitate and people are allowed to wander in and out of sessions as they so choose. It sounds interesting doesn’t it? Well…it definitely is. Continue reading

New Energy for Energy

I was fascinated by Obama’s choice of Steven Chu to head the Department of Energy. The choice of a scientist is unusual for a cabinet secretary, since cabinet positions often go to those from the political realm. Barb at Democracy for New Mexico has a lot more background on Chu, so I won’t go into his qualifications here.

The real opportunity is that political appointees often bring in tens of loyal staffers, who themselves are political appointees, and not often best suited to the policy tasks ahead. With Chu, we may see a nice little experiment – bringing in real life, substantive experience for specific policy challenges at the top of the food chain, rather than somewhere in the middle.

See also:

Washington Monthly:
A Sterling Team at Energy and Environment

Session-omics and the Rail Runner

The RailRunner couldn’t have come at a better time, for me at least. With the legislative session starting up in six weeks, the RailRunner has already posted schedules for the Albuquerque to Santa Fe roundtrip, with a stop just south of the Roundhouse. The times work great, the pick-up and drop-off locations work great and the price is just $8, roundtrip.

That means less gas and a cheaper trip for me, less wear and tear on my car, more time to work rather than just sit behind the wheel of car and never having to spend 20 minutes finding a parking spot again up in Santa Fe.

I don’t know how many new jobs the Rail Runner construction created, but those jobs couldn’t have come at a better time either. I also bet that the Rail Runner project spurred additional private investment – supply companies, new construction technology and equipment and service enterprises.

That’s a formula that works. When government can initiate a project that unleashes long term private investment, everyone wins.

Rail Runner website