This being a forward-looking, progressive publication, I decided to review the top stories of 2007. Why rehash what you already know about 2006? So come along as we fast-forward through the next 12 months.
Here’s my favorite 2007 news development: “Last New Mexican Leaves Iraq.” It’s about Cassandra Candelaria of Belen. She did three tours of duty in Iraq, the final one being Bush’s ill-fated “surge.” Our total casualties, dead and wounded, surpassed 30,000 by July 2007. Democrats finally stopped letting Bush spill more blood only to delay history’s inevitable judgment that his conquest of Iraq was a disaster from the outset.
Congressional Democrats openly called Bush “delusional,” “incompetent” and “borderline insane.” Republicans were too scared by the fury of American voters to say much in his defense. Active duty generals, driven to despair, spoke against Bush’s bungling. A distraught Army general ripped off his stars while testifying, saying, “My troops and my country come before my career. Colin Powell should have done the same years ago. We’d have fewer freshly dug graves today.”
Anyway, back to Cassandra Candelaria. In the Dec. 3, 2007, story, Gov. Bill Richardson and other dignitaries awaited her arrival at the Sunport. A mariachi band played “Volver.” “Welcome Home, Cassandra!” balloons bumped along the ceiling. Camera crews stood ready to record politicians shaking the hand of this brave warrior. But she ruined the photo op for the big wigs when she ran past them into the arms of her three children.
I liked this one, too, dated Feb. 23, 2007: “Attorney General Pledges Corruption Fight.” Our new Attorney General, Gary King, held a press conference in the Roundhouse during the Legislative Session. “Corruption in state government flourished under my predecessor,” said King, referring to Patricia Madrid, who held the office for the preceding eight years. "From the ABQ PAC scandal, to massive bribery in the Treasurer’s Office, to misdeeds in the State Housing Authority, to legislators misusing campaign funds for personal expenses, the top law enforcement officer for the state has been MIA. No more.”
King announced he wanted the Legislature to fund a team of hard-hitting investigators and prosecutors. He hoped to immediately impanel a grand jury. “I intend to root out corruption at every level of state government,” King pledged.
Next day came this headline: “Legislature Slashes Funding for Attorney General.”
April 20, 2007, saw this news: “New Mexico GOP Throws in Towel.” “Since we booted out John Dendahl just because he supported legalizing marijuana,” explained State Republican Chairman Alan Weh, “well, to be honest, we haven’t had a single idea of any kind, good or bad. So we decided to call it quits. No one will miss us.”
With Hollywood making New Mexico its favorite on-location stage, 2007 saw gobs of entertainment news, like this May 24 scoop on the next Mel Gibson movie. Impressed by the blowout hit Dreamgirls, he’s undertaken a biography of the singer Harry Belafonte. Gibson weaves into the musical score his usual “end time” themes. Filming is underway on the island of Trinidad and the Trinity Site on White Sands Missile Range. According to insiders, the working title is Apocalypso.
Albuquerque politicians also contracted movie-making mania. Mayor Martin Chavez appeared in The Hobbit, partly filmed in abandoned uranium mines near Grants. Martin Heinrich did stunts for Tom Cruise in a scene using derailed streetcars for the next installment of Mission Impossible. And Sally Mayer was seen obliviously feeding prairie dogs while a drive-by shooting goes down in Colorz, a remake of the Los Angeles street gang movie adapted for Albuquerque.
Thrilled with his cinematic debut, Chavez announced he would gladly play Napoleon if anyone cared to make the movie, but won’t take another role requiring him to work in his bare feet.
Lastly, we cannot forget this heartwarming story from the August 2007 society pages: “Schrader-Amato Nuptials.” “Don Schrader’s sun-baked umber skin contrasted sharply with the snowy white cowgirl dress and tasseled hat of Geraldine Amato. Only a fragile garland of white roses around Schrader’s hips thematically tied his loincloth to the bride’s ensemble.” The honeymoon had to be delayed until Amato spoke on every issue at the next City Council meeting. “The International Banking Conspiracy never rests. Neither can I,” she explained. Schrader later shared details of their honeymoon and observations on personal hygiene in three dozen letters, all of which got published in the Weekly Alibi.
2007. The year that will be. Cheers!