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Rocking the Vote

At both the Obama and Clinton events last week, I was surprised and impressed by the number of high school and college aged people in attendance. As a high school student, I'm accustomed to peers who can't name our national senators and have never heard of Karl Rove or Condoleezza Rice. A classmate who once asked me what happens on inauguration day is now following the campaigns of the presidential hopefuls religiously. It seems this newfound interest in politics among young people is not limited to Albuquerque. According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), the number of 17 to 29-year-olds who voted in the Iowa caucuses this year was triple that of 2004. The reason? It could just be frustration with the current administration, but I'm hoping young people have finally realized that if we don't act now, we're going to inherit a lot of serious long-term problems.

For more information on youth involvement in politics, log on here or here.

Hillary Clinton Said:

In the Highland High Gym

-“I am not running for president to put a band-aid on our problems, I am running for president to solve our problems.”

-Clinton was a pioneer for universal health care and plans to offer the Congressional Health Plan to the uninsured and underinsured.

-She would end tax subsidies for oil companies and use that money to develop alternative energy.

-She would make college more affordable by offering a $3500 a year tax credit for each child and giving college students the opportunity to earn up to $10,000 a year for college doing public service.

-She would start bringing the troops in Iraq home within 100 days of the presidential inauguration and make sure veterans got the health care they needed.

-Her immigration plan: Work with Latin American countries to create jobs South of the border, allow illegal immigrants to apply for legal workers permits after they paid back taxes so that employers can no longer “exploit undocumented workers.”

-She is willing to cross party lines to get legislation passed; Democrats should find “common ground” with Republicans but also “stand our ground.”

-“It took a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush. I cannot wait to get to work!”

Sen. Clinton spoke at Highland High School last night at 9 p.m. She was introduced by Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, Mayor Martin Chavez, former mayor of San Antonio Henry Cisneros, Dolores Huerta (a champion of immigrant rights who worked alongside Caesar Chavez) and a few others. The intros went on for 45 minutes because Clinton’s plane had been delayed.

Exchange

Two weeks ago, my Argentinean sister, Lara, arrived in Albuquerque. We don't share any blood, but I spent a year living with her family in northeastern Argentina and now she's spending a year with mine. While I developed a taste for the bitter Argentinean tea, mate, and melted in the heat of sub-tropical northern Argentina, Lara is learning to love tortillas and delighting in the snow. Though sharing space with someone else isn't always easy, inviting an exchange student to live with you can be an incredible experience. To host one or find out more, log on to www.afs.org or www.yfu.org.

Running for President of Florida, California and New York

politics

Strategy, Giuliani Style

I'm no political analyst, but I have to say Rudy Giuliani's strategy seems a little strange. He has redrawn the United States to exclude Iowa, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada and South Carolina, and plans instead to focus his energy on winning the Florida primaries. So much media attention has been paid to the early caucuses that Giuliani's decision not to participate has erased him from the minds of many voters. Polls in Florida put Giuliani in third place, and in New York he's trailing John McCain. It looks like his decision to ignore the states with few electoral votes has backfired. Note to Giuliani: There are actually 50 states in the U.S.

Vote Like It's 1884

While reading about the 1884 presidential election for my U.S. History class, I was struck by the similarities between the media's treatment of this election and the upcoming 2008 election. While Grover Cleveland and his opponent James G. Blaine campaigned in the 1880s, the media went into a frenzy over speculation that Cleveland had fathered an illegitimate child. According to Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States," 1880s newspapers focused on the personalities and social lives of Cleveland and Blaine instead of their platforms. Sound familiar? Amid media scrutiny of John Edward's haircuts, Rudy Giuliani's past affairs and Hilary Clinton's marriage, it seems media treatment of presidential elections hasn't changed much since the 19th century.

La Curandera

At the Devendra Banhart concert at the Sunshine last month, I overheard a girl telling someone she had dropped out of college to become a witch doctor. What exactly is a witch doctor and how do you become one? I immediately thought of la curandera from Bless Me Ultima, but I would consider her more of a traditional healer than a witch doctor. This curandera uses signs in nature to predict the future and has an extensive knowledge of medicinal plants; no strange incantations or animal bones are involved in her magic. I did a little research on so-called "witch doctors" and discovered that curanderas, sometimes referred to as "witch doctors" because of their connection with the earth and the metaphysical, once cared for Northern New Mexican villages and southern border towns using their knowledge of traditional medicines and local herbs. Some still practice in parts of New Mexico, but their services have largely been replaced by modern medical care and prescription drugs. As for how you become a curandera, I was unable to find a definite answer. Any ideas?

This cell phone holder is sweat proof, but it won’t burn calories for you.

Does Yakking Away Burn Extra Calories?

Last week, while running around the UNM North Golf Course, I noticed not one but three people talking on their cell phones while exercising. I passed a teenage girl, a middle-aged woman and a man in his 20s, all of them in their gym clothes, huffing and puffing as they yammered away. Maybe I've been living in an Amish community recently, but I thought this was rather strange.

Even if you're in really good shape, it's got to be hard to talk on the phone while power-walking. The phone conversations of the walkers must have been interrupted by heavy breathing and pauses to wipe sweat off their brows. I understand the need for a distraction while exercising--who wants to be mentally present while dragging themselves up a hill?--but making phone calls seems a little ridiculous.

Maybe next time I go for a run I should make all of the phone calls I've been putting off for the last week. "Hi Uncle George," huff puff, "how did your" (pause to wipe sweat off face) "heart transplant" (grunt) "go?"