Change is Good

There’s a bulletin board near my house I keep meaning to take a picture of. It’s near the supermarket, and I never have my camera with me when I go grocery shopping. It says “Change is Good” and is advertising Kyle Zimmerman Photography’s move to downtown Albuquerque.

Every time I look at that sign I feel like it’s reminding me that my decision to move to The Duke City was a good one.  That I am exactly where I need to be now.

There’s another Change is Good sign over on Carlisle Boulevard, right next to what became Obama Election Central in Albuquerque.  Fitting, don’t you think?

Well as we all know by now, change did happen. It may not have been the “change we need” (thank God) but in fact the CHANGE we deserve.

I don’t consider myself to be particularly patriotic. I don’t fly the flag. I couldn’t care less about singing the national anthem (who can hit those high notes anyway?).  To me, the most patriotic acts we can perform are voting, free speech, assembling as we see fit…  and exercising the rights granted to us by the constitution.  That said, I do believe that this is the best county in the world. Sure, some other countries have great things (ancient history, fabulous food, multiple languages, universal healthcare) but the United States is truly the land of opportunity.  Barak Obama is the absolute embodiment of that kind of opportunity.  I am thrilled with the results of the presidential election.  Change is Good.

The cynic in me realizes we won’t have a huge change. We may get small steps in the right direction.  I don’t know why all those far right conservatives are so afraid of Barak Obama. He’s not that different than the other politicians in Washington.  Except in one big way.  His positive vision for the United States, and as far as I have seen, he has conducted himself with grace and dignity.  We deserve this kind of change.  We actually deserve more.

Emails sent to Barak ObamaToday I went to the website for the office of the president-elect, aptly named  There was a place there to submit your own story or your own ideas. Now I don’t naively think that Barak Obama is going to read the email I sent.  Perhaps some poor student intern will be slogging through all the emails and trying to ascertain which ones of us are kooks. But I may get some sort of automated response.  My email may be sorted and stacked with a whole lot of other emails then counted and analyzed and put into a pie chart to show President-Elect Obama.  I hope.

On election night I had some friends over for an Election Night Vigil and Chile Party.  The vigil didn’t last that long. In fact, it was somewhat anti-climactic.  I had memories of the 2000 election that went on for months.  I didn’t think this one between That One and McCain would go on that long, but I thought it may last until 11 pm or so.  At least until after all the polls closed.

The one issue that was not settled by the end of the evening was Proposition 8, the ballot initiative in California that would actually CHANGE the constitution of the state to specifically deny the rights of same sex couples to marry.  And so Wednesday morning came, and the news that the proposition had in fact passed.  Seriously that dampened my joy at seeing Obama elected.

And so back to That One’s new website.  And my email.  Here is what I said:

Given the recent legislative initiatives banning same sex marriage in several states– including a change to the constitution of the state of California to legalize discrimination– I would like to see federal leadership on this issue. It is wrong to deny rights to any segment of our populace. I was dismayed with VP-elect’s answer to the question regarding same sex marriage in the debate. It sounds like we are arguing semantics but really, the issue is more than what we call it. It is an institution that is licensed and recognized by the government, and affords certain responsibilities and privileges to the parties involved. Call it what you like but it ought to be offered to any couple who wants to join and form a family.

For the record, I am not gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The fact that California (the state I called home until a couple of months ago) passed Proposition 8 makes me sick, and put a cloud over what should have been a grand night for our nation. I hope President-Elect Obama will take the lead and ensure that ALL citizens are afforded equal rights.

I hope you will join me in voicing your opinion and letting President-Elect Obama’s intern know what your concerns are. Whether you’re scared you’ll have to be working until you die because your 401K and your IRA are in the crapper, or you want the troops out of Iraq, or immigration policy that works…. or your kid gets cancer and you’re worried about hitting the lifetime cap on your healthcare plan.

Change is good, but only if we take full advantage of it.

How Low Can You Go?

No, this is not a post about McCain’s “that one” remark, or his refusal to shake hands….

It’s about gas prices in Albuquerque.

Not sure what prices are like at the gas stations in my old stomping grounds of San Diego— when I left in July they were nearing $4 per gallon. At Costco!

Things are sure different here:

Drivers line up for cheap gas

People in New Mexico and around the country are getting a break at the pump as oil prices plummet.

The average price of gas in Albuquerque hasn’t been at $2.85 for about a year. That’s why the Phillip’s 66 at Lowes in northwest Albuquerque is jam packed with people trying to save a few bucks.

People haven’t been this happy around a gas station for a long time.


Of course the median income in New Mexico is something like $34,000/year

Random Thoughts about Politics

What is the difference between Tax and Spend Liberals and Tax Cut and Spend Republicans?

Is it just a better spin machine?  I honestly don’t understand this one….  as if Republicans don’t spend money.

Why is pork barrel spending only bad when it is money going to someone else’s district?  Most citizens are thrilled when their legislator brings money home.  They all do it. It’s a job requirement.  If it weren’t they wouldn’t be re-elected.

And while we’re on the topic of spending money…  why is it that we can fund the War in Iraq to the tune of some 400 million dollars a day and we can find 700 BILLION dollars to bail out financial institutions (who in my opinion are failing due to greed) and we can’t seem to fund HEALTHCARE for everyone?

And while we’re on the topic of healthcare….  so what if Obama’s health plan would cost $80 billion dollars. Again, we can fund war and find bailout money to save the financial system, but we can’t provide healthcare coverage to save individual lives?

And while we’re talking politics…  make sure you’re registered to vote!  For information about registering to vote in New Mexico, check the Secretary of State’s office.  For information about registering in California, check with that Secretary of State.  Deadlines are coming up!

The Tax Man Cometh?

Are you kidding me?

Let’s do a little math here… For the last 8 years, we’ve had — except for the last year– a Republican led congress, and a Republican president.

We now have a HUGE deficit… courtesy of the tax and spend REPUBLICANS, not the Democrats.
When Clinton left off we had a surplus, you may recall.

We now also have a huge financial crisis on our hands that I would say has a lot to do with deregulation (hey those regulations are there to keep people in line)— deregulation funded by tax cuts to the wealthiest in our country.

If you want to read a good side-by-side analysis of the two candidate’s tax plans, check out the article on CNN.

And I agree with Obama that paying taxes is patriotic. It is our duty as citizens. I hate doing it as much as the next person, especially when the government spends on things I don’t agree with:

click here to learn more

and doesn’t spend on things like

HEALTHCARE for our own people…. money spent on war could have funded 193,370,980 People with Health Care for One Year

EDUCATION — LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND (HAH!) money spent on the war could have funded:
11,251,447 Music and Arts Teachers for One Year
90,037,052 Head Start Places for Children for One Year
10,777,823 Elementary School Teachers for One Year
101,437,848 Scholarships for University Students for One Year

And how ’bout investing in some ALTERNATIVE ENERGY sources that could stimulate the economy and put the U.S. at the forefront technologically and economically again… we have an opportunity to be a leader, and instead we’ve got people republicans chanting “Drill Baby, Drill!” how sick is that?

Now I’m not so naive to think that a democrat in the white house versus a republican in the white house will make a HUGE difference, but after 8 years with a republican cowboy leading the charge, I’m sure ready to give it a try.

Women in Politics

It’s been a while since I posted anything political… what with the move, and being more concerned with my own self and not with the world around me…. but I finally registered to vote here in New Mexico (Bernalillo County to be specific). And I discovered my local farmer’s market too!

Things are heating up here in New Mexico. First off, its chili time. What that means is the harvest is coming in and the chiles are roasting all over town. More on that later….

Secondly, we’re a swing state. Which means that there’s presidential politics all over the place. Obama just opened an election office in the South Valley (his sixth in the city, 34th in the state. Note McCain only seems to have 6 offices statewide not sure what that means). I’ve yet to explore the South Valley, and even though its only like 10 minutes away from downtown Albuquerque it’s much more rural.

Michelle Obama spoke at the University of New Mexico about a week ago… I would have liked to have seen her, but I heard that the free tickets were “sold” out. Later my friend Cassie told me that she was on campus and was able to attend– apparently at some point they just let people in. McCain and his beauty queen sidekick were here too. I hear Obama will be here again before election day… and I’m sure McCain will be as well, and their respective running mates….

Which brings me to the purpose of my post. The funniest damn thing I’ve seen in a long time– thanks Stack!

Black and White and Read All Over

Call me naive, but why does it have to be about race at all? Why is Barak Obama called a black man? Isn’t he equally a white man?

One of the things I find so motivating about Obama is the fact that he is every man. He is a smart man. He is inspiring, and what I find appealing about him has less to do with the color of his skin and more about his message of uniting us.

We hold him to a different standard in regards to tolerance of friends and family. I don’t know about you, but I have plenty of friends and relatives who I would consider either racist or clueless…. Sometimes I speak up, and sometimes I say nothing.

Hear/read what Obama has to say about race in his own words.

Is it Change?

Watching this video literally brought tears to my eyes. First off, its Oprah. Even if you don’t like her politics, her show, her hair do, or whatever, you have got to respect her as a business woman. Seriously. She produces and distributes her own show, rather than just being on-air talent– which means she maintains full artistic control. There’s also her magazine… and her angel network and her reading club. OK so now you know, even though I never watch her show, and I don’t even tape it, I am a fan. She’s awe-some and inspiring. And I am a sap.

Then you have Barak Obama. He’s pretty inspiring too. Watch for yourself.

But all this made me think. Did you know that only 56% of Americans who are eligible vote? That is an embarassing statistic. I realize it is a right, not an obligation, but how disrespectful is it to let our troops fight for us, to encourage our government to preach democracy, and then not even exercise or own rights?

We have free and fair elections (usually, unless you’re in Chicago, in the old neighborhood, where your landlord’s son is the block captain….) Polls are usually conveniently located in your own neighborhood, open from 7 am until 7 pm or so. Plenty of time before or after work to drop in and cast a vote. And there’s even mail in voting. Yes, I realize it takes some time to study up on the issues. And believe you me, here in California there are plenty of issues! But in my opinion, that is part of the deal. If you don’t like it… well there plenty of countries out there where the government makes all the decisions for you. I won’t suggest you move, rather I would suggest you take a minute to think about that, and get thee to a voter registration booth!