Alibi V.13 No.28 • July 8-14, 2004 

Payne's World

The Show That Never Ends

Random musings on the week that was

Last week, political blogmeister Joe Monahan ( offered some commentary on three recent votes by Congresswoman Heather Wilson and how those votes might be play into her re-election strategy. The votes of interest were 1) to cut CIA funding by 25 percent until the Bush administration turns over all documents dealing with the treatment of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, 2) against a corporate tax bill that included targeted tax breaks for pharmaceutical companies and 3) against a budget overhaul favored by Republican leadership.

In all three votes, Wilson voted against the majority of her Republican congressional colleagues (in the vote to cut CIA funding Wilson was one of three Republicans out of 220 in favor of the cut). According to Monahan's report, the thinking in some political circles was that Wilson was positioning herself as a more "independent" representative of the district and not a "rubber stamp" of President Bush.

That may well be the case. If it is, it's smart strategy on the part of Wilson. The rap on Heather from day one has always been that she's “somebody's girl.” First it was Pete Domenici. Then it was Newt Gingrich. Now it's George the 43rd. Apparently Wilson's detractors have a tough time imagining that a) a woman might register as a Republican and b) that a Republican woman might be capable of calling her own shots—which probably sits just fine with Wilson. Just as long as they get used to calling her "Congresswoman."

And with that, the following are a few other random thoughts on the show that never ends.

Hey! We'll follow the plan when we need to, buddy ... On June 28, the City Council moved forward in an 8-0 vote with plans to build a Downtown arena using, in part, Industrial Revenue Bonds. In doing so, the Council completely ignored the IRB approval process in its own "Economic Development Plan." The plan, which stipulates the requirements for the issuance of sometimes controversial economic "incentives" like IRBs supposedly became law on June 25.

In addition to creating "high-tech, high-paying" jobs like ticket takers and hot dog salesmen with this IRB, the arena will be built on a parking lot that currently serves as the main source of revenue for a local homeless shelter.

Come up with the answer to global warming, peace in the Middle East and a cure for cancer and maybe we'll talk ... Shortly after announcing that a divorce was in the works between herself and Mayor Martin Chavez, Margaret Aragon de Chavez joined a union picket line while in Boston, where Mayor Chavez was attending a mayor's conference. While her support of the union protest made headlines, it also heightened speculation that the split between the two might take on the sort of soap opera dimensions New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani had with his wife when they separated. Adding fuel to the fire, a few days later Margaret Aragon de Chavez expressed an interest in running for Mayor of Albuquerque herself.

One shudders to think what the "best" possible reason could be ... When asked by Dan Rather on "60 Minutes" why he had an affair/encounter/whatever the hell it was with Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton said, "I think I did it for the worst possible reason, just because I could."

Well, it's OK if they vote. It's when they get other people voting that we draw the line ... State GOP head Alan Weh delivered a searing attack on the state Democratic Party after it was learned a voter registration group the Dems supported had, among its other nonfelonious employees, some convicted felons recruiting new voters. Weh was apparently unaware former Republican Gov. Gary Johnson gave the thumbs-up to felons voting back in 2001 once their sentences were served. Prior to Johnson signing off on the "Felons' Voting Rights Bill," New Mexico was one of nine states that didn't allow convicted felons in the voting booth.

And finally... queer eye for the dictator guy! Until last week, the last image anyone had of Saddam Hussein was after he was infamously pulled out of his Tikrit spider-hole. Those images are heading to the rearview mirror of history as the entire world got a look at a much more polished and urbane Saddam when he was arraigned before a U.S., er, ... Iraqi court for war crimes.

Gone was the lice-ridden hair and un-kempt beard. Instead, this Saddam was cleaned up, trimmed up and sporting an open neck shirt with a charcoal gray suit that appeared to fit well, even if it was off the rack. Not only that, Hussein was nothing short of feisty during his court appearance. Without question, he proved that clothes definitely do make the man.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author. Payne, a former city councilor, can be reached at