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September 30, 2014

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Zach Hively Zach Hively

Fool’s Gold: Squashed Dreams

The daylight hours are getting short, and all consumer goods from hot dogs to Honda Accords now come with pumpkin spice flavoring. But not everything this time of year need be tainted by such doom and gloom.

For instance, autumn is also the season when plants die. In their stead, they leave behind delicious plant babies for us humans to eat. Home gardeners today share in a long-running tradition with humankind’s original farmers. The experience is precisely the same, except that, to our pioneering forebears on the “Oregon Trail” computer game, failure meant dysentery and to us, it means eating peanut butter with a spoon...

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September 29, 2014

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V.B. Price V.B. Price

Five Questions for New Mexico Authors - Cipriano Frederico Vigil

This week we ask Cipriano Frederico Vigil of Chamisal, New Mexico—a renowned musician, historian, composer, and musicologist of traditional Nuevomexicano folk music—some questions about his sure-to-be-classic bilingual book New Mexico Folk Music / Cancionero del Folklor Nuevomexicano: Treasures of a People / El Tesoro del Pueblo.

New Mexico Mercury: For someone like me with no tradition of community music, your book is a revelation. These first questions feel naïve, but they are sincere ones. What are the historical and cultural roots of Hispanic folk music in New Mexico? Is there a known beginning?...

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September 26, 2014

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Ray and Carol Pittman Ray and Carol Pittman

Augustin Plains Ranch water case crucial to protecting New Mexico’s rural water

On September 22, we asked the New Mexico Supreme Court to order the State Engineer to dismiss a massive speculative water appropriation application from Augustin Plains Ranch, LLC. We live next door to the Ranch, which has spent almost eight years trying to appropriate a massive amount of water in Catron County.  This attempted appropriation threatens the towns, ranches and homes of the entire San Augustin Plains region, all of which are wholly dependent on wells and groundwater.

Bruce Frederick of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) filed a petition on our behalf for a writ of mandamus.  In the petition, we ask the Court to compel the State Engineer to “promptly” reject the Ranch’s most recent application for 54,000 acre-feet of water per year...

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September 26, 2014

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James Burbank James Burbank

Revelations about New Mexico Poverty

Hey, guess what-- New Mexicans are poor! Isn’t that astounding?  I am gobsmacked. The 20.8 percent poverty increase between 2012-13 here has absolutely nothing to do with our governor. You see, poverty is very very complex, and our governor is very very simple. Remember that please.

One issue that keeps us back is small business finance. There’s only one place to get a business loan in New Mexico, and that’s Payday Loanster. Payday Loanster is owned by some good Arizona friends of the governor. The nice folks there at the local Loanster office will help you learn what signing in blood is all about...

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September 23, 2014

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John Crenshaw John Crenshaw

Ensuring that Sportsmen Continue to Have Access to America’s Public Lands

I have always loved the outdoors, the peace and tranquility from connecting with nature is a refuge from the hustle and bustle of daily life. But lately, the politics in Washington, D.C., has crept in and disturbed those quiet moments. You see, the program that has helped to protect habitat and secure access for sportsmen is expiring soon – and Congress hasn’t yet taken action to renew it – threatening my way of life.

For 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has protected local and national parks, working forests, historic landmarks, and wildlife refuges. It has been called one of the country's most important conservation programs, preserving America's cultural and natural heritage...

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September 22, 2014

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Zach Hively Zach Hively

Fool’s Gold: Peanuts and Cracker Jills

Superstitions are, by definition, bunk. Knocking on wood, crossing fingers, pinching a black cat over your shoulder after spilling salt on a broken mirror: any rational person with a sound understanding of causality will disregard these practices. Baseball traditions, on the other hand, are universally sacrosanct and supported by hard science.

There is no room for mumbo-jumbo voodoo magic in baseball, which is driven by statistics—what old-school managers refer to as their “gut instincts.” If an aspect of the game cannot be tracked in tiny rows of numbers on the back of a bubblegum card, it is removed from the rulebook and offered to another, more interpretive sport, such as figure skating or chess...

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September 22, 2014

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Morgan Smith Morgan Smith

Assaulting Women

“He tried to fork me to death,” the trembling woman said as we stood in her living room in Adams County, Colorado. I was the Public Defender appointed to represent her husband in this wife beating case. My wife, Julie came with me to help with this interview.

Julie and I were puzzled as to what “fork me to death” meant until this woman rolled up her sleeve and showed us a series of tiny marks – four black and blue dots – where her husband had repeatedly jabbed her with a fork. Then she took Julie into her bedroom, removed her clothing and showed Julie that her whole body was completely covered with these marks. The husband had jabbed her hard enough to cause pain and leave the black and blue marks but not enough to break her skin...

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September 20, 2014

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Lawrence Goeckel Lawrence Goeckel

Mercury Poetry: Central and San Mateo

A       group       of
strangers      waits
for   the   bus,   all
looking  down  the
street at the same
moment           for
something      that
will    carry   them
into    the    future,
and  one  of  them
takes    his    shirt
off,   as  if  to  say:
this   is    my   city

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September 19, 2014

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Mark Rudd Mark Rudd

Albuquerque Grief Circle

Last Sunday afternoon about a dozen old Jews and a handful of non-Jewish comrades, most dressed in black to signify mourning, gathered on a sidewalk outside the Jewish Community Center on Wyoming NE. The members of Jewish Voice for Peace--veterans of protest and organizing since Vietnam--hadn’t been able to come up with any better way to respond to Israel’s massacre of two-thousand people in Gaza than this grief circle.  So, in the hot noonday sun, against the noise of three lanes of Sunday afternoon Heights traffic, they recited the Kaddish, the prayer for the dead, then read aloud the names of hundreds of Palestinian children killed...

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September 19, 2014

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Wally Gordon Wally Gordon

Comedy and tragedy on the Duke City stage

The continuing vitality of Albuquerque theater is a kind of marvel. The economy is tanking. More people are moving out than moving in. Unemployment is again rising toward 8 percent in a double-dip recession. Nearly every creative effort—including classical music, art galleries, book stores, magazines, newspapers, book publishing and writing— is in a world of hurt.

We still support, however, nearly 50 theatrical companies staging an extraordinary variety of classical and contemporary, edgy and conventional shows every weekend, year round, in and out of tourist seasons. To perceive just how remarkable the Albuquerque scene is just look around you. Santa Fe, celebrated for the visual arts, has almost no theatrical presence...

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