[RE: “Newscity,” Aug. 19-25] I just wanted to point out that, late in the article, under “The Latest Poll,” you were mistaken regarding the only candidates that will appear on the Nov. 2 presidential ballot in New Mexico.
The Green Party nominated attorney David Cobb to be our presidential candidate at our national convention in June. Cobb, along with his VP pick, Patricia LaMarche, will appear on the New Mexico ballot, and this slate is listed on the secretary of state's presidential candidate website.
Currently David Cobb and Pat LaMarche are touring the country campaigning, and we Greens in Albuquerque plan to host several events as they swing through New Mexico, tentatively mid- to late-September. I sincerely hope that you will consider granting one or both of them an interview or coverage of their appearance and message. The Green Party, though its constituency stands somewhat divided between Cobb and former candidate Nader, continues to have a distinct and vital platform and message. I think that you, as journalists, would agree that our democracy flourishes with the presentation of a variety of ideas and viewpoints.
Co-chair, Bernalillo County Green Party
Homophobes for Human Rights
I was reading something today on gay marriage and it got me thinking. For the record, I don't dig on gay sex. Least, not the guy on guy kind. Call me a homophobe, I'll probably agree. Two women can get it on and, in some cases, I'll try to buy a bedside seat. Call me a male chauvinist, and I'll agree to that too. One thing I'm not, though, is anti-love.
While I respect those who are opposed, especially those who cite religious grounds, I have to say that the right of two loving human adults to bind their relationship in some civil commitment is a basic human right. To separate civil unions from marriage is a simple act of segregation. In the United States, we are all equal, believer and heathen alike. As it should be. Straight and queer, we should all respect the courage that is displayed by two people standing up before friends and community to declare their commitment to one another. What they do behind closed doors in the privacy of their own home is none of my business and doesn't require my approval.
That a nation so rigorously religious and devout would be at the same time so bigoted against a group of persons based on the particular body orifices they like to penetrate is out of whack. As we battle with Islamic religious extremists, I'm left to wonder at our own Christian extremism that sanctions one set of rules for the "God-fearing" and another for the "sinners." Need proof of the "righteous" behaving badly? Then you need look no further than so-called Christians in this country seeking to deny a basic human right to other fellow citizens. Don't like gay marriage? Fine. That lesbian who works in the cubicle next to you will skip inviting you to her ceremony. If sodomy and homosexual relations are indeed a violation of God's plans and rules, if a so-called loving, benevolent God would dare condemn two adult individuals to an eternity of hellfire for their personal choices in penetration, well, I believe that his/her doctrine of free will comes in to play. Using that as a basis, we all have our own right to go to hell in our own way.
It's sensible that George W. Bush would oppose gay marriage based on his religious background. What's troubling however is the issue of John Kerry. Kerry actively courts the gay vote but politically saves face by saying he opposes gay marriage. A man of more conviction and character would have a little back bone. But Flipper John disappoints here.
When the majority chooses to deny a minority basic human rights, then no one is really free.
Every time I hear, as I did this week, about an airline cutting back on their flights and/or on jobs or benefits to their employees, or even better, when a large corporation—like one owned by Donald Trump just did last week—declares bankruptcy, I wonder: Did any of their handful of executives give up even a fraction of their six plus digit salaries?
I mean, just to help out and all. Since everyone else is feeling the pinch. I mean, if there's such a concern about saving money, did any of the three-piece-suited, middle-aged white men decide that they didn't necessarily have to have a five-car, two-story/six bedroom/four and a half-bath, Aruba-vacationing, private-schooled lifestyle just to make sure the company—and the jobs of all the people who do the actual g*damn work in it—stays afloat?
Yeah. I didn't think so.
Bullying the Ballot
Even if it was true that Nader is getting money from the GOP, who cares? It just means that the Republicans have bought the BS of the Dems (a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush). But the fact is this: Putting an independent on the ballot is not going to take votes away from Kerry. Those of us who are going to vote for David Cobb or Ralph Nader are set on doing so and would never vote for Kerry or Bush even if they were the only two names on the ballot. People like me wouldn't bother with going to the polls because, as Arundhati Roy said, "even if Americans vote for Kerry, they will still get Bush: President John Kbush or President George Berry. It isn't a real choice, it is an apparent choice." So, in my opinion, and in Roy's, a vote for Kerry is a vote for Bush.
While the Democrats have already made me more upset at them then the Republicans because of all this Nader-bashing business, I am going to send out a plea to them anyhow: Blame the disenfranchisement of the black Floridian voter, blame the Supreme Court, blame the 50,000 Democrats who voted for Bush, or even blame Gore for giving away the presidency when we all know he actually won. Those are the crucial issues that threaten our Democracy. Just don't blame Nader. And, more importantly, please let me have my constitutionally guaranteed right to vote for whom I choose.
After living in large metropolitan cities for most of my life, coming to New Mexico was quite literally a breath of fresh air. It is definitely the Land of Enchantment as well as the Land of Mañana. There is something very relaxing and pleasant about most aspects of this Mañana mentality. Sure, it takes a little longer to get things done, especially if they are associated with state or city services. That's OK, it's part of the relaxed atmosphere here in New Mexico that we all seem to enjoy. However, there are some other differences that can be especially irritating.
One of these is the way that traffic signal lights are adjusted (or perhaps not adjusted). In most large cities, traffic lights on major city streets are adjusted to maintain a predictable and constant flow of traffic. This takes the form of timing the lights to coincide with the speed limit. This accomplishes several things. It rewards drivers who stay within the speed limit because the light turns green right as you approach the intersection. It slows down speeders because if they are going too fast, the light will still be red as they approach.
The real benefit, in my opinion, is that traffic moves more efficiently which saves energy, reduces air pollution, wear and tear on your vehicle and calms your nerves as well. With all these advantages, I have often wondered why Albuquerque does not seem to want to use this system on major streets like Central, Lomas, Tramway and Paseo Del Norte among others. The City of Albuquerque must certainly be aware of the advantages of carefully coordinated traffic lights. Why then, do they choose not to use this system? Is it because they depend on traffic tickets for revenue? I don't think so. People run red lights constantly in Albuquerque! This practice is so common in New Mexico that I feel obligated to warn visitors to wait a few seconds when a traffic light turns green so they will not be killed by people who are late through the intersection. Others have suggested to me that the Chamber of Commerce encourages the poor timing of traffic lights to force people to stop as frequently as possible because it increases the chance that they will stop at restaurants and shops.
I would like to know the City of Albuquerque's opinion on this issue. If we are going to be a modern American city, we need to be efficient and have traffic move as smoothly as possible through our beautiful city. Visitors will sometime just stay on the freeway through town because they do not want to get caught in traffic. I think a smoother flow of traffic would encourage more visitors and make frequent stops at restaurants and shops more accommodating. Coordinated traffic lights seem like an easy way to accomplish this.
A Requiem for Murcurochrome
I can't believe what I read in “Straight Dope,” [July 22-28]. They outlawed Mercurochrome? I checked the supermarkets, the drug store and asked the pharmacist, and sure enough, no more Mercurochrome! I read the label on the Mercuroclear that is sold now, and it contains benzalkonium chloride, whatever that is, and lidocaine, to which I am allergic. Furthermore, it says that you should not use it in your eyes.
In the olden days, that prehistoric, pre-antibiotic time when I was a teenager, my ophthalmologist prescribed Mercurochrome, a few drops in the eye, for conjunctivitis ("pink eye"). It worked, better by far, than any of the very expensive, tiny tubes of ophthalmic ointments prescribed nowadays. I've used Mercurochrome for conjunctivitis over the years, for myself, for dogs, cats and goats, and it always worked, very quickly—not like ophthalmic ointments!
I searched frantically through my medicine cabinets, and happily discovered three partial bottles of Mercurochrome, which I will guard with my life! I must get the name and address of the vendor in Boise, Idaho, that makes and sells it, and if he has not now been hauled off to jail, contemplate a trip there to purchase a life-time supply, since it cannot be sold across state lines!
Topical application of Mercurochrome is a little different than the use of mercury in vaccines that are used in infants with developing brains and nervous systems, and amalgam fillings that are in the mouth for years, washed with saliva, which can dissolve it into your system.
What about the quantities of mercury in native rock being leached into all the impoundments in New Mexico that are making all the fish taken from them unfit for human consumption? What about the water from these impoundments, which Albuquerque's mayor proposes to use in the city's water system?
Even more, what about the tons of mercury which our government considers permissible to be discharged into the air by power companies? Strain at a gnat and swallow a camel!
Another common (formerly) pharmaceutical, sold over the counter for gingivitis and use after oral surgery, was sodium perborate. Effective and cheap. There are products sold now for that purpose, all quite expensive. The pharmacist whom I questioned, young, of course, had never even heard of sodium perborate.
Oddly enough, our politicians are financed by drug and power and other international corporations which make fortunes from government decisions, as do advertising agencies which push their products, and use scare tactics to eliminate competitors who distribute traditional remedies. Have you ever heard of camphorated oil? (Before Vic's Vapor Rub.)
I don't like this Big Brother Orwellian world that we are being herded into, like cattle into an abattoir. I feel sorry for the unaware young people.
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