We Got the Neutron Bomb
A chat with a WMD disarmament specialist
Michael Spies never anticipated going to work for the United Nations. "It always seemed to be something of an unobtainable aspiration for someone who doesn't have the pedigree," he says. He didn't attend a university in the Northeast, and he doesn't have any political connections. Instead, Spies got his bachelor's degree in political science from the University of New Mexico.
Lewis Calls for TSA Replacement
The Council elected Don Harris as its president during the Monday, Dec. 6 meeting. Councilor Rey Garduño will step in to do his turn as vice president. Former President Ken Sanchez will serve as chairman of the Committee of the Whole. Other appointments were tabled until the Dec. 20 meeting.
Odds & Ends
Dateline: Ghana—A 72-year-old grandmother suffered a horrific death when she was burned alive by a mob after being accused of witchcraft. As reported in Ghana’s Daily Graphic, a group of five people allegedly tortured Ama Hemmah in order to extract a confession of witchcraft before dousing her in kerosene and setting her on fire. The suspects, including the preacher of a local evangelical church, denied the charges. According to Pastor Samuel Fletcher Sagoe, 55, he and his compatriots were simply praying to exorcise an evil spirit from the woman when the anointing oil they had applied to her body accidentally caught fire. The incident occurred at Site 15, a suburb of Tema Community 1 near the capital city of Accra. A student nurse, who happened upon the scene, attempted to rescue the woman, but the victim died of her burns within 24 hours of arrival at the Tema General Hospital. So far, no arrests have been made, but the case has been turned over to the Attorney General’s Department for possible prosecution.
Our addiction to oil can have disastrous impacts on the environment and economies that depend on it. We saw a prime example of that this summer as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico washed oil-drenched birds and fish on our shores and fishermen lost the source of their livelihood almost instantly. Luckily, President Obama reinstated an offshore drilling moratorium for sensitive areas [last] week, which will help protect those ecosystems and people who depend on them. However, this moratorium does not take land-based drilling into account, which impacts New Mexico directly.
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.