While Politicians Talk About Jobs ...
Employees worry about health care, savings and debt
Like other election years, between now and November you'll hear the word "jobs" bandied about by politicians on the campaign trail. You'll see catchy photos in your mailbox, like the one of Heather Wilson wearing a hard hat and embracing a Hispanic guy in one of those taxpayer-funded campaign fliers. Every candidate jockying for votes will want you to feel good about your future job prospects, because that's always one of the issues pollsters and consultants say electoral victories are made of.
Where did you get that information? Our pawn of a congresswoman was on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" show last week, regurgitating many of the same falsehoods about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction that the Bush administration was taken to task for: that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, that he received large quantities of uranium from Niger, Africa, and that Saddam is in league with members of al Qaeda, the group that claims responsibility for the September 11 attack.
Coming and Going
With Councilor Eric Griego showing up late, Councilors Brad Winter and Craig Loy leaving early, and Councilors Michael Cadigan and Miguel Gomez not appearing at all, the Feb. 18 council podium resembled a busy take-out window.
The Big-I looks like crap
February is set to give way to March, bringing with it the end of the latest installment of the state Legislature where all New Mexico's problems were thoughtfully addressed and solved in a spirit of bipartisanship; with neither individual legislators nor Gov. Bill Richardson stopping to worry about who might be getting the better of whom in the press. And if you believe that, you probably believe the state is cutting taxes and spending less money!
Odds & Ends
Dateline: Massachusetts—Last week's New England Journal of Medicine reported on a case in which French surgeons removed 12 pounds of coins from the stomach of a 62-year-old patient. The man, who had a history of psychiatric illness came to the emergency room of Cholet General Hospital in western France in 2002 complaining of stomach pain and an inability to eat or move his bowels. An X-ray revealed an enormous opaque mass, which turned out to be around 350 coins—approximately $650 worth. Readers of the New England Journal of Medicine wrote in and correctly diagnosed the unnamed man as suffering from a psychological condition known as pica, a rare compulsion to eat things not normally consumed as food. The man had his expensive stomach contents removed, but died 12 days later from complications.
Greg Payne's column on the City Council's rejection of a building project on Walter Street in Huning Highlands (Payne's World, Feb. 19-15) omits any mention of the specific grounds on which the project was opposed by the Huning Highlands Neighborhood Association (not by "a couple of neighborhood activists"). Apart from zoning questions raised (which this writer cannot pretend to understand), there were other objections which, if Mr. Payne had paid any attention to them, would have made clear grounds of the councilor's "difficult to explain" and "irrational" negative votes on the plan.
The Zoo reopens and the animals are back (not that they went anywhere, you just didn’t get to see them) at the ABQ Biopark starting this Wednesday, Aug. 12 for the general public. Just like the Botanic Gardens, the Zoo has created a unidirectional path for visitors to enjoy seeing the animals, while keeping them and other visitors safe. New baby hyenas and wolves, plus changes to a variety of habitats, greet mask-wearing zoo-goers in this modified arrangement that sadly skips the indoor places like the Penguin Chill exhibit for the time being. You can make timed reservations online and regular admission prices ($8 for New Mexican adults) apply. ABQBiopark Zoo 903 Tenth Street SW, cabq.gov/culturalservices/biopark
This Is What Democracy Looks Like: Movement for Voting Rights Restoration is a virtual event looking at criminal disenfranchisement laws that strip voting rights from people with past convictions, excluding millions of Americans from participating in our democratic process. These laws have a disproportionate impact on communities of color. In this online event, the Brennan Center for Justice brings together advocates from across the country for a conversation about recent developments in voting rights restoration. They will discuss the connection between disenfranchisement and protests over police violence and systemic racism and the future of the movement nationwide. To register for this free event on Aug. 13 from 10 to 11am go to: https://www.brennancenter.org/events/what-democracy-looks-movement-voting-rights-restoration
Get your boogie on with the dancers from Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts. All ages, all abilities are encouraged to join in this free weekly virtual dance party which will begin at 4:15pm each Thursday through Dec. 3. The Zoom dance party series is intended to get folks up and moving, in their homes and with their families, all while meeting new people via the virtual party. Potential dancers need to register before putting on their tap or jazz or ballet shoes. The disco begins Aug. 3 at 4:15pm and happens each Thursday until Dec. 13. Check it out and register at www.facebook.com/KeshetArts/
Get ready for a night of sorcery and cocktails at Harry Potter Magical Mixers. Join artist Jessie Cleaver for a stay-at-home virtual mixology class based around everyone’s favorite child wizard this Saturday, Aug. 15, from your own computerized device. Knowing all of the top Hogwarts Pub specialties could really help you out of a jam one day. What if you find yourself getting into a heated argument with a witch during a night on the town? You might try to deescalate the situation by offering to buy them a butterbeer, only to find that the bartender has no idea how to make one. That drink could be the one thing standing between you and life as a toad. The class starts at 7pm. Tickets for this 21 and up event are $16. Sign up for a passcode at Yaymaker (bit.ly/2DIs2ha).
Looking for a little chile? The 2020 Bosque Chile Festival, a celebration of food, art and culture on the Rio Grande is happening Saturday, Aug. 15 and Sunday, Aug. 16 from 2 to 7pm each day. Due to COVID-19 and the State of New Mexico public health order, the festival is being presented virtually on Facebook! There will be entertainment, art activities, a virtual artisan market, chile chef demonstrations, educational workshops and more. This free, all-ages event is meant to give those stuck at home a chance to see what New Mexico chile has to offer in so many different ways. Aug. 15 and 16 2 to 7pm, www.facebook.com/bosquechilefestival
Bernalillo County Open Space is hosting a series of livestreamed gardening events on the Bachechi Open Space Facebook page. On Saturday, August 8 starting at 2pm, A Gathering of Naturalists will have a panel discussion with members of the county’s master naturalist program about what a naturalist is, what they do, what projects they work on and some interesting facts about our metro area’s Open Space gems. This open to all-ages free discussion will include how the field of environmental conservation is evolving in an era of change due to the global COVID pandemic, social justice and the climate emergency. Not your style? Then what about on Saturday, August 22 at 2pm you check out a virtual field trip to look for the tracks and signs of wildlife that are found in our uniquely beautiful urban forest we call the Rio Grande Bosque. The virtual tour will be led by Michael Cox, a member of the county’s naturalist program and a volunteer at the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center. This free field trip is suitable for all ages of bug and critter trackers. For more info log on to www.bernco.gov/openspace.