Cruel Rural New Mexico

Let’s summarize this recent legislative activity (details below): we will continue to allow people to attach razor blades to roosters to fight to the bloody death. We will allow anyone to kill cougars indiscriminately. We will hand over public wildlife for easy slaughter and the profit of a few (including a Senator). mjh

ABQjournal: 2 Cockfighting Bans May Die By Kate Nash, Journal Capitol Bureau

Sen. Phil Griego, D-San Jose, said … “To do away with cockfighting is to do away with a major part of our culture, of our Hispanic heritage,” he said. … [mjh: supporters include Ed Lowry, Ray Westall, Wilford Brimley]

Sen. Mary Jane Garcia, D-Do?a Ana, a sponsor of one of the bans, said … she doesn’t consider cockfighting part of her Hispanic culture. …

Cockfighting is already illegal in 13 of the state’s 33 counties and in 29 cities.

A fall 2004 Journal poll of 402 registered voters statewide showed that two-thirds of registered voters surveyed would support a law banning cockfighting in New Mexico. …

“There’s an undeniable link between children who witness violence and their participation in it later in life,” said Bill Jordan of New Mexico Voices for Children. “We need to break the cycle of violence.”

[Track HB878
Sponsor: Peter Wirth
Current Location: House Agriculture Committee]
ABQjournal: Open Cougar Hunting in Bill By Deborah Baker, The Associated Press

SANTA FE? Cougars could be shot on sight under a proposal headed to the House for a vote.

The bill, backed by livestock growers, was endorsed Tuesday by the House Government and Urban Affairs Committee.

It would take the cats? also called mountain lions or pumas? off the list of big-game animals whose hunting is regulated by the state Game and Fish Department.

Rep. Brian Moore, R-Clayton, the bill’s sponsor, told the panel it could help balance the deer population, prevent losses by ranchers and provide more protection for children and pets. …

The bill would take away the Game and Fish Department’s ability not only to set hunting limits, but to monitor and manage the cougar population, she said.

“The mountain lion population is a valuable resource to the state,” former department director Bill Huey said in a letter that was read to the committee.

The declining number of deer is a problem throughout the West, and there is no single cause for it, said Huey, who opposed the legislation.

[Track HB47
Sponsor: Brian K. Moore
Current Location: House Government & Urban Affairs]
ABQjournal: Game Parks’ Size May Rocket By Jeff Jones, Journal Staff Writer

SANTA FE? New Mexico ranchers could build high fences around massive swaths of private land and claim the state-owned wildlife inside as their own if a bill moving through the state Senate becomes law, a conservation group leader said Tuesday.

“The language is very innocuous. . . (But) it privatizes our public’s wildlife,” said New Mexico Wildlife Federation president Oscar Simpson.

The measure by Sen. Timothy Jennings, D-Roswell, would dramatically increase the legal size limit on so-called game parks, where hunters pay big money to shoot fenced-in game animals. …

Jennings, a rancher and member of the finance committee, appeared to suggest he might be interested in starting a game park of his own. …

Under current New Mexico law, individual game parks can be no larger than 3,200 acres. Jennings’ bill would boost the maximum legal acreage of a private game park to 20,000 acres, or about 31 square miles.

The owners of game parks normally stock their enclosures with game animals purchased from breeders. They then charge a fee to people who want to shoot the animals as trophies.

A Legislative Finance Committee report said Jennings’ original bill would “allow private landowners to fence in significant numbers of state owned wildlife and convert them to private ownership.” …

Many hunters object to game parks, questioning the ethics of shooting an animal behind a game-proof fence of any diameter.

[Track SB337
Sponsor: Timothy Z. Jennings
Current Location: Senate Finance Committee]


Welcome to uExpress featuring Richard Reeves — The Best Advice and Opinions The Universe!
by Richard Reeves

It was the persistence and courage of the press that made the difference 30 years ago [during Watergate]. Above and behind the often confused and sometimes inaccurate young men were the publisher of the Post, Katharine Graham, and her editor, Ben Bradlee, who hung tough when it counted. Would that happen today?

I seriously doubt it. Under today’s rules of the game, Nixon would have survived the rape of the Constitution and various counts of burglary and perjury. The American press is being driven into the ground like a stake by courts and government attorneys arguing that there is no such thing as constitutional recognition of any legal protections of news-gathering.

The American press is barely being protected by its own owners, many of them entertainment corporations prone to erase any facts inconvenient to those who write tax laws and approve mergers and acquisitions. The straight American press, and most of it is, is being nibbled to death by a Greek chorus of know-nothing mouthpieces mocking anyone brazen enough to question the orthodoxy of the day or the cut of the emperor’s wardrobe.

Imagine Watergate 2005, with Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly preaching their sermons on the patriotism of a 29-year-old reporter who was close to being fired for forgetting where he abandoned rental cars (private property) and whose parents were both communists — that would be Carl Bernstein. Disney and Viacom and Fox have their virtues, I’m sure, but they are no Graham and Bradlee. Graham bet the company on journalism. I think she would be laughed off the business pages today — and, in fact, over a lifetime she did decide to (or have to) plead for Wall Street’s forgiveness for her own brave brand of Americanism.

Now the laughers are in charge. In the last year, the White House has explicitly stated that it believes it has no obligation to deal with the press as anything but another special interest. In the past week, federal judges have ruled that Time magazine and New York Times reporters should go to jail for what they know, even if it was never published. Another federal court ruled that the governor of Maryland has the right to order state employees never to answer questions posed by The Baltimore Sun.

So it goes in the land of the free.

Buck the Public Mood

Crossmap News| ‘Simpsons’ Animates Homosexual Marriage, Stirs Debate

L. Brent Bozell III, president of the Parents Television Council, criticized “The Simpsons” for addressing the issue of gay marriage, though he cautioned that he had not seen the episode. A parental advisory preceded the broadcast.

“At a time when the public mood is overwhelmingly against gay marriage, any show that promotes gay marriage is deliberately bucking the public mood,” he said.

“I’d rather them not do it at all,” he added. “You’ve got a show watched by millions of children. Do children need to have gay marriage thrust in their faces as an issue? Why can’t we just entertain them?”

THE SIMPSONS – Parents Television Council Family TV Guide Show Page

The SimpsonsPTC Summary:

This long-running animated production focuses on the daily life of a suburban family living in the fictional town of Springfield. Despite its early timeslot and animated format, The Simpsons is not recommended for younger viewers. The show ridicules entrepreneurs, religion, educators, and law enforcement officials, and has occasionally incorporated foul language into its dialogue. The cartoon sends a mixed message on parenthood: while the father is a bumbling idiot, the mother is a loving and patient wife and role model.

mjh’s Blog: Bless the Simpsons!

Unintelligent Design

Unintelligent Design By JIM HOLT

What can we tell about the designer from the design? While there is much that is marvelous in nature, there is also much that is flawed, sloppy and downright bizarre. Some nonfunctional oddities, like the peacock’s tail or the human male’s nipples, might be attributed to a sense of whimsy on the part of the designer. Others just seem grossly inefficient. …If this is evidence of design, it would seem to be of the unintelligent variety.

Such disregard for economy can be found throughout the natural order. Perhaps 99 percent of the species that have existed have died out. Darwinism has no problem with this, because random variation will inevitably produce both fit and unfit individuals. But what sort of designer would have fashioned creatures so out of sync with their environments that they were doomed to extinction?

The gravest imperfections in nature, though, are moral ones. Consider how humans and other animals are intermittently tortured by pain throughout their lives, especially near the end. Our pain mechanism may have been designed to serve as a warning signal to protect our bodies from damage, but in the majority of diseases — cancer, for instance, or coronary thrombosis — the signal comes too late to do much good, and the horrible suffering that ensues is completely useless.

And why should the human reproductive system be so shoddily designed? Fewer than one-third of conceptions culminate in live births. The rest end prematurely, either in early gestation or by miscarriage. Nature appears to be an avid abortionist, which ought to trouble Christians who believe in both original sin and the doctrine that a human being equipped with a soul comes into existence at conception. Souls bearing the stain of original sin, we are told, do not merit salvation. That is why, according to traditional theology, unbaptized babies have to languish in limbo for all eternity. Owing to faulty reproductive design, it would seem that the population of limbo must be at least twice that of heaven and hell combined.

It is hard to avoid the inference that a designer responsible for such imperfections must have been lacking some divine trait — benevolence or omnipotence or omniscience, or perhaps all three.

Ernestine Hinton

EJH November 1978Ernestine Hinton loved all kinds of fabric. She frequented fabric stores, buying yards of cloth she liked, which she piled in an out-of-the-way corner solely to paw through, no specific project in mind. She loved sensual materials like satin, silk and velour. She loved color and was happy to put colors next to each other that some might call daring. When she remodeled the house — transformed it, really — she brought together golds, yellows, reds, greens, sage and Chinese lacquer, all unified by a carpet that might have pleased Jackson Pollack, a studiously patternless palette of color blotches that gave every first-time viewer pause. She wanted you to be comfortable but never complacent and she trusted you to know the difference.

Ernestine was a natural hostess, welcoming everyone with such genuine charm. Out and about, she spoke to people most others ignore, extending courtesy to everyone equally. She worked to improve the lives of many and was outraged by those who did the opposite. She did not suffer fools. She would be appalled by what we’ve become.

She preferred to be called Teen, but I could only call her Mom, or in occasional shock, Mother! And shock me, she did. She was her own woman and expected to be accepted as such. In conversation, she was alive and witty. She could turn a deft phrase to knock you off your feet and then pick you up and dust you off and make sure you were still OK. She was brilliant.

Although Teen was a feminist role model before that concept emerged, she loved being a mother and loved children without reserve. There was nothing more important or valuable than nurturing children. We make our future by teaching our children and by loving them.

Many people and events have shaped me; she did it first and gave the world what there is to work with.

Today, Mom would be 84, though she wouldn’t admit it. That is, had she not been killed just over 20 years ago by cancer. That was the event that convinced me that if there were a god, I would hate him with all my being.

love, mjh

mjh’s Blog: Cut January 14, 2004
mjh’s Weblog Entry – Ernestine Justice Hinton January 13, 2003

Bless the Simpsons!

I hope you saw last night’s Simpsons, in which Lisa Simpson advocated Springfield allow same-sex marriages. It was in part an economic argument but she added that they could be on the forefront of civil rights. Amen, Lisa!

Reverend Homer is cool with thatReverend Lovejoy barred the door of the church and insisted gay marriage was against the bible (though he was unable to cite a passage). Merri and I laughed when he said it was like serving hamburgers on hot dog buns — we had those just last week (we call them hamdogs). No one else seemed to oppose the notion. It wasn’t nearly as ugly as reality. Hey, it’s a cartoon!

Did you see the parental warning just before? Wouldn’t want your kids to think an entire town could see the decency and economic value in letting adults marry the ones they love. No, that would be wrong, wouldn’t it. I wonder how many complaints the FCC got — I’d gladly give money to pay the fine.

There is NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER that same-sex marriage will be legal in the US eventually. Frankly, I think it will be in less than 10 years as part of the mighty pendulum swing away from the fearful Right. The State has an interest in regulating marriage which in no way extends to gender. Let your Church refuse to conduct the ceremony. Don’t give a wedding gift. Fine.

peace, mjh

Bush Must Have Everything

The Nation | Blog | The Daily Outrage | Ari Berman

Just yesterday Bush renominated twenty failed judicial nominees, including seven of the ten that Democrats rejected in his first term. …

Amidst this aggressive disinformation campaign, you’d think Democrats were impeding Senate business the same way Republicans shut down the Congress in 1995. In fact, Democrats blocked only ten of the president’s 229 first-term judicial nominees. In contrast, Republicans stopped a full third of Bill Clinton’s appeals court nominees from 1995 and 2000 and derailed a total of sixty overall judicial appointments, six times the damage Democrats have done. Bush appointees now account for 23.2 percent of all federal judges and 20 percent of all Circuit Court judges across the country. The vacancy rate on the federal courts is at its lowest level in 16 years.