Donate Your Thanksgiving Cooking Oil So Others Can Convert it to Fuel

Picture taken from Divinedinnerparty.com

Picture taken from Divinedinnerparty.com

I just had to highlight this great idea that my friends at the Bountifuel Energies Cooperative and Re505 have cooked up (pun intended).

In case you haven’t heard of them, Bountifuel Energies Coop is a worker-owned cooperative that turns waste cooking oil into bio-diesel, and Re505 is our local hub for e-waste recycling.  Both of these organizations are helping to take our city and state into the next level of recycling and reuse of materials that many of us usually throw-away.

And what’s great about this action is that they are offering a place for us to dispose of all the oil we used to cook with during Thanksgiving, and then are showing the opportunity that waste oil poses as an alternative fuel.  Not only is this service being offered free of charge, but they are also offering up raffle tickets to people who donate to win prizes to some awesome places around town.

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An iconic Thanksgiving just for you

In celebration of our traditional holiday, here are two images from American history for your contemplation and enjoyment.

Freedom from Want

Freedom from Want

The Four Freedoms

Back in 1941, with fascism on the march around the world (that was the real fascism, not the Jonah Goldberg fiction), President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his stirring Four Freedoms Speech to Congress on January 6, 1941:

We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression… The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way… The third is freedom from want… The fourth is freedom from fear.

Illustrator Norman Rockwell was so inspired by the speech, he produced a series of covers for the Saturday Evening Post. The covers subsequently were turned into posters to help sell war bonds to fund the war in defense of these freedoms against real fascist totalitarianism.

And one of those iconic covers, Freedom from Want, has gone on to symbolize the Thanksgiving holiday for American families ever since.

“Come over and help us”

The Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony celebrated their first Thanksgiving on November 25, 1629. (This one should not be confused with the separatist Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving at Plymouth in 1621.) Yes, these are the Puritans of John Winthrop, who famously invoked the image of the “city upon a hill” in his “A Vision of Christian Charity” sermon.

And this is the official seal of the Massachusetts Bay Colony:

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A New Attack on Nonprofits?

Something interesting happened yesterday during a hearing of the Interim Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy Committee yesterday in Santa Fe.

The committee (under the direction of Rep. Ed Sandoval and Sen. John Arthur Smith) brought in Richard Anklam of the NM Tax Research Institute for a discussion on taxing nonprofits.

The discussion, which had been billed as a dispassionate inquiry into revenue “fixers” for the state’s current economic crisis, soon turned into a critique of  “those groups” who “targeted legislators” with “those mailings.”

It was a disheartening turn of events for the state’s nonprofits, who endured and prevailed against a sustained attack during the past legislative session over educational mailers some groups sent out detailing certain legislator’s voting records and contributions regarding very specific issues.

Yesterday’s discussion seemed to be a thinly-veiled and largely uninformed attempt by some legislators to continue to try to limit the rights of nonprofits.

At this point, there is no bill. But what happened at the hearing yesterday should serve as a wake-up call for nonprofits who thought this battle was already won.

And just in case you missed it

Coincidentally in related news, the state’s Attorney General and Secretary of State took another one on the chin in federal court recently in their ongoing effort to muzzle the free speech rights of New Mexico’s non-profit sector.

Keller: Why Not A Tax Expenditure Budget?

No one would expect a state to operate without following a budget that says exactly how much money is coming in and how much is going out, would they?

Well, the money that states spend on tax credits, deductions and exemptions is just as much of an expense for them as direct spending on things like schools, salaries, roads and prisons is.

So why isn’t the state of New Mexico required to track tax-related expenses with a tax expenditure budget?

Senator Tim Keller

Senator Tim Keller

Sen. Tim Keller (D-Alb) would like to know.

Keller has written a bill that would force the state Tax and Revenue Department to track and report the cost and benefits associated with what studies have indicated are billions of dollars in New Mexico tax expenditures.

The list of such measures include everything from the state film incentive to 47 categories of gross receipts tax exemptions on items like fuel, livestock and food. Some are fairly new and well known, while others have been allowed to remain on the books for years without evaluation.

A total of 43 states (including the District of Columbia) file some kind of tax expenditure budget, but not all of them follow a strict protocol that maximize their effectiveness.

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Yes! Another PNM Rate Increase

Did you catch the sarcasm? Good. Because I know my utility bills are already taking up an increasingly large chunk of my earned dollars this year.

Yes, PNM has been on quite the rate-raising roll. And guess what – all of us PNM customers are about to get another increase – this time to pay for a $300,000 audit the company was required to undergo last year.

I read about the audit in this Saturday’s Albuquerque Journal in an article called “Taking a Hard Look.”

The story talks about how last year the NM Public Regulation Commission forced PNM to perform an audit in response to PNM’s request to implement a fuel adjustment clause.

What’s a fuel adjustment clause? Well, according to the story, it’s a move that “gives utility companies a mechanism to cope with fluctuations in the costs of fuel for generating power by passing them on to customers.”(emphasis mine).

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Albuquerque’s City Climate Action Plan Passes Unanimously!

Two nights ago the hard work over many months of 60 or so Albuquerqueans (in the form of the Climate Action Task Force) finally paid off, as the Albuquerque City Council voted unanimously to pass their City Climate Action Plan.

As I’ve written about before the purpose of the Climate Action Task Force was to “design strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.”  The task force was made up of volunteers from all walks of life. After they formulated the plan, they had it reviewed by peer groups and also conducted ten town hall meetings throughout the city to get feedback on the plan from city residents.

A PDF file of the entire Climate Action Plan can found at this link.

I attended one of the town hall meetings a couple months ago and posted a video from it on Clearly.  You can see it here.

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Finishing the Job: Behind the progressive win in Las Cruces

Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima

Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima

It’s been two weeks since that odd beast called the off-year election (2009 edition) passed into history with GOP gubernatorial wins in Virginia and New Jersey. Here in New Mexico, politicians of the conservative tendency giddily raced to issue press releases trumpeting the east coast triumphs.

Overlooked in the excitement was the inconvenient fact of an election with a very different outcome right here in our own backyard.

It turns out that in New Mexico’s second largest city the progressive slate scored a clean sweep of the three city council seats in Las Cruces with the victories of Olga Pedroza and Gill Sorg, who toppled incumbents, and the re-election of Sharon Thomas (NM Independent).

What’s more, the progressive blowout was merely the follow-up to an equally impressive performance two years ago when they elected Ken Miyagishima, who upset a popular incumbent mayor, and two new City Councilors – Nathan Small and Miguel Silva.

What explains this success in the face of all the hype about a conservative comeback?

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Right on Nadine! You’re in the Nation magazine.

Nadine Padilla hard at workI ran across this story a couple days ago and was really pumped to read it.  Local organizer Nadine Padilla was profiled in the Nation Magazine for her great work in getting out the vote in McKinley County during last year’s election.

Nadine hails from that area and is of Navajo and Laguna descent.  Thus she cares greatly about working in that area and was excellent in getting more youth and native people involved in the election.  Amazing job Nadine!

Read the whole article here.

Nadine has also been working on uranium issues within Native American communities for a few years now and also worked with the SAGE Council these past few years doing voter education and engagement in Native communities.

Here’s a guest post that Nadine authored on Clearly early this year towards the Mt. Taylor designation as a Traditional Cultural Property.

Keep up the good work Nadine!

Bruce King

In Memoriam  BRUCE KING  1924 - 2009

In Memoriam BRUCE KING 1924 - 2009

The idea of being governor first entered my head when I was in the seventh grade. On a sunny winter day in 1936, Governor Clyde Tingley came out to dedicate our new school at Stanley, New Mexico, about 40 miles south of Santa Fe. Us kids were all excited about the new building, which had been a community project – the Works Progress Administration had furnished the labor and the community had provided the materials. Now Governor Tingley was standing in front of us, saying, “I hope I’ll live to see one of you students sitting in the Governor’s chair.” Well, I got to thinking, if it was going to be any one of us, it might as well be me.

- from Cowboy in the Roundhouse: A Political Life

(painting by Walt Johnson, Albuquerque Museum collection)

Hasta la Vista, Lou Dobbs

Departed CNN host Lou Dobbs

Departed CNN host Lou Dobbs

Embattled CNN host Lou Dobbs stepped down last night from his long-running show and today Clearly New Mexico joins the chorus of voices who are saying good riddance.

With his anti-immigrant bluster and endorsement of falsehoods like the Obama “birther” controversy, Dobbs shamed the original “all news” network and trashed his long and distinguished journalism career.

In bidding adios to Dobbs, we can’t be as funny as the The Onion, who, in the fake news story  “U.S. Deports Lou Dobbs,” reports that Dobbs’ real name is Luis Miguel Salvador Aguila Dominguez and that he’s been living illegally in the U.S. since 1981.

And we can’t be as whimsical as the Columbia Journalism Review, who writes that Dobbs “has been sent to a nice farm upstate, where he will be free to run and jump and play and practice advocacy journalism.”

And we can’t be as comprehensive as the Huffington Post, who compiled a handy video treasury of Dobb’s “Most Scandalous Moments.”

But we are glad Dobbs is gone. And just to get out in front of those who might say this smacks of censorship – it doesn’t. Because, you see, as Dobbs continued his one-sided, unfounded attacks, ratings for his show and for CNN overall plunged.

“It used to be considered a really premium spot,” Gary Carr, executive director of national broadcast for New York- based media-buying firm TargetCast tcm, told Bloomberg.com last month. As the show strayed from business “into so many issues of his own, I sense that people aren’t lining up with Lou Dobbs anymore.”

So, Lou Dobbs can SAY whatever he wants.

But CNN found out that Americans don’t have to buy it.