Alibi V.15 No.40 • Oct 5-11, 2006 ››
Supply and Demand
Eric Griego makes some good points about the need for American workers to compete in the world economy in his commentary, “Wanted: A World-class Workforce," [Sept. 21-27] but a few of his recommendations would be counterproductive at best.
German efforts to invest in solar power are one example that New Mexico should avoid. The problem is not in solar power, but in the implication that it is the German government doing the “investing." Despite having fallen to a two-year low, Germany's unemployment rate is 10 percent, more than double the U.S. average. A big reason for this is government intervention in the nation's economy. Another is Germany's highly restrictive work rules that make it so difficult to fire new workers that employers are reluctant to hire workers.
While New Mexico is much better off than Germany, Griego's examples of booming businesses in New Mexico, including Eclipse Aviation, the state's film industry and the spaceport, also rely, to some extent, on either government tax breaks or outright subsidies. This is not always a bad thing, but in a way that is similar to the German experience it places government decision makers in the position of determining which industries will grow and which ones will be stifled by our relatively high taxes.
The truth is that if New Mexico reduces its tax burden, creates a competitive educational system and frees its citizens to be creative, we have nothing to worry about from China, India or anywhere else. Only when our own misguided policies stand in the way will New Mexicans suffer from foreign competition.
Take A Chill Pill
We love and support “¡Ask A Mexican!” Come on everyone, lighten up. This is a great, funny, tongue-in-cheek column. Let it put some humor in our dull and boring lives!
College Radio Should Suck
Jessica Cassyle Carr is right that KUNM's future is in our hands, but I for one don't see much hope for change [Music Editorial, “The Spirit of the Radio,” Sept. 14-20]. We may have great community radio at KUNM, but we don't have college radio.
I tried to participate at KUNM. I wanted to do a weekly show on punk and garage rock. First, let me say that the people there are nice, considerate and genuinely happy to allow anyone who wants to participate to do so. The problem is that before you can participate the way you want to, you have to pay your dues. After 18 months to two years of helping with other shows and pushing a written proposal through multiple committees, I might have been able to get a show sometime in the middle of the night. The more people you know who are already involved on committees, the more likely you are to have your proposal accepted. In addition, you need to have loads of free time and a flexible schedule to participate. Scheduling difficulties and living far from the station were ultimately prohibitive for me.
As a teenager on the north side of Chicago, I had access to some of the best college radio in the country at WNUR, broadcasting from Northwestern University. It was here that I was able to escape pop radio and hear punk rock music such as Big Black, Foetus, Einsturzende Neubauten, Section 25, Breaking Circus, etc. I shudder to think what would have happened to me if I had not had this resource. Without WNUR as a starting point, I never would have even known what I was missing.
Jessica is right that there is no resource in Albuquerque to expose young listeners not only to older punk rock but also to the really amazing rock that is being produced today all over the planet from bands such as the Bellrays, the Flaming Sideburns, Jack Oblivian, the Dirtbombs, Dan Melchior or the Black Keys, just to name a few. If your entire exposure to rock outside the mainstream consists of the White Stripes you are missing a whole world of music. The Internet is a great resource, but you have to know where to look.
It would be great if KUNM would free up a block of time and just let people go for it on some sort of rolling basis or utilize a format that contained some hope of flexibility, but, as Jessica says, the bureaucracy is too entrenched. I understand the need for training and procedure, but the great thing about WNUR was the music not the professionalism. The DJs were college kids, and a lot of them sucked. They didn't know what they were doing, and they made mistakes. I happened to be home sick the day the space shuttle blew up. I got up late, turned on WNUR and while the DJ was talking you could hear a door open in the background and someone shouted into the booth, “Hey the space shuttle just blew up!" The DJ said, "No, it didn't." They went back and forth about three times until the door slammed again and the DJ said, “"I guess the space shuttle just blew up.” Hardly professional, but that was not what they were there for.
In response to Susanna de Falla's comment [Letters, “Hippies on the Radio,” Sept. 28-Oct. 4]. Your letter was, quite frankly, one of the cheesiest things I've ever read.
I would like to point out that KUNM is far from the “only" source of music for middle-aged people (i.e. baby boomers). If it weren't for the mass number of boomers, the mediocrity that is the oldies, classic rock and the country stations wouldn't still exist.
And pardon me, but what exactly are these “ton of radio stations playing its (young people's) music"? The music we hear on radio is in the hands of the old, and it solely appeals to the old. KUNM could be the exception to that, but apparently some boomers from the ’60s have a iron grip on this poor college (college!) station.
Hopefully, my generation won't be vast enough to catch the next generation in a black pit of horrible, old music because we're just too greedy to let go of our tastes and hand down the radio torch to the next generation.
None of the Above
Am I the only person in New Mexico appalled at this campaign? Am I the only voter who plans to write in “none of the above" on my ballot? Certainly, I'm hoping the answer to both of the above questions is a resounding, “No!” Patricia, Heather, if you're reading this, you both should be deeply ashamed of yourselves. You're nauseating, annoying and to steal from John Stewart, you're hurting New Mexico.
Maybe it's not really Heather or Patricia's fault that all they can do is sling mud. Maybe that's where we're at as a country now. I don't hear issues being discussed. I don't hear either candidate really saying how they're going to make New Mexico and America a better place. All I'm hearing, really, is that my choice for the United States Congress boils down to a potentially corrupt, incapable attorney general on the one hand and a patsy of the Bush administration, Big Oil and Big Pharmaceutical on the other. It's frankly disgusting.
Do we really want our leaders to emerge from the political equivalent of a women's mud wrestling bout? If so, let's save a lot of time and psychic energy, strip these fine ladies down to their skivvies and get them in the mud pit to grapple. The winner gets the seat. It'd be more entertaining and just as enlightening as the current process we see unfolding before us.
People frequently wonder aloud why we Americans hate politicians so much. It doesn't take Einstein to figure that out if you live here in New Mexico. Just watch TV long enough to see a handful of Wilson and Madrid political commercials. You'll be disgusted far beyond any disgust you feel watching a repeat of Fear Factor. Instead of rewarding either of these candidates for their awful behavior I encourage voters out there to write in “neither" or “none of the above" as their vote. Sure, sure, one will get the seat anyway, which is sad and unfortunate, but, if the winner only receives 20 percent of the vote and more than 50 percent goes to “neither," it might at least send a message to politicians across the country that we Americans deserve better than the continuing choice of Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee.
Worst Possible Person
In the Sept. 28 Alibi [Letters, “Wirey Wilson”], Kyle Newman gives part of the story on Heather Wilson's eavesdropping bill. Putting things in context, there have been a few bills going through Congress to legalize eavesdropping, torture and rendition without “pre-9/11 thinking" such as civil rights getting in the way. Wilson helped sponsor one of the eavesdropping bills.
The situation as I write this letter is that eavesdropping will probably not be legalized before the November elections, whereas rendition and torture likely will be. By rendition, I mean the U.S. government agents snatching people off the street if it is deemed reasonable. They kinda focus on where the constitution says, “unreasonable search and seizure," while ignoring the tedious stuff about warrants and probable cause.
Newman vilifies Wilson for her part. But what about the Democrats? Where's the opposition? Where's the filibuster? To quote Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic whip: “We want to do this. And we want to do it in compliance with the direction from the Supreme Court. We want to do it in compliance with the Constitution."
So, the Dems either support eavesdropping, rendition and torture or are passing the buck to the Supreme Court? Great. What values do congressional Democrats hold dear enough to fight for? Ah yes, congressional pay raises. They love that stuff. Get out the vote!
There's a decent chance we'll soon have a Democrat as president. Liberals can then cackle with joy as right-wing domestic terrorists, such as preachers and rich people, get disappeared. Perhaps they'll even figure out how to use the war on terror as a vehicle for seizing churches.
I don't recall who I'm paraphrasing, but the wisdom is that when handing over power, imagine handing it to the worst possible person, because that is who may well end up with it.
The Democratic Party is great at bad mouthing the Republican Party and the Iraq War, but they offer no respectable alternatives. The proper thing to do, in their unrealistic opinion, is to withdraw all military troops now. It amazes me that those who claim to stand for women's rights are the first to bad mouth the great progress that has been made in Iraq regarding improved women's rights. It is clear that the truly pessimistic U.S. political party is the Democratic Party. It is important that we never forget the freedoms that we enjoy in America and the freedoms enjoyed within other countries by their citizens will always come at a price. A high percentage of Democratic Party members are unwilling to stand and fight, if need be, for those freedoms. They are the true cowards of the US. They are not true leaders.
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