Thursday, June 30, 2005

ROUNDHOUSE ROUND-UP: POLLS & SPORTSBOOKS

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 30, 2005


George W. Bush might have won New Mexico’s five electoral votes last year — the Republican incumbent beat Democrat John Kerry here by less than one percentage point — but according to a statewide poll taken by a national research company earlier this month — Bush is losing the job-approval race.

And according to the same polling company, Gov. Bill Richardson’s numbers, while still favorable by a healthy margin, have slipped from last year’s poll figures.

According to the poll, released this week by the New Jersey-based Survey U.S.A., 50 percent of New Mexicans surveyed said they disapproved of the way Bush is doing his job, while 45 percent said they approved of Bush’s job.

Albuquerque pollster Brian Sanderoff of Research & Polling Inc., said Wednesday these numbers are believable. “New Mexico usually is pretty close to the national numbers,” he said, pointing to the Real Clear Politics Web site (www.realclearpolitics.com/polls.html), which shows the average of the three recent national polls to have 50 percent disapproving of Bush’s performance and 47 percent approving.

Survey U.S.A.’s poll was conducted June 10 to 12. Six hundred New Mexico residents were randomly called to participate in an automated phone poll. The margin of error is 4.1 percent. Similar polls were conducted in all 50 states.

Rating the governors: Early last month, Survey U.S.A. did polling in all 50 states on how residents rated their governors.

According to that project, our Gov. Bill Richardson is the 20th most popular governor in the union.

Asked “Do you approve or disapprove of the job Bill Richardson is doing as governor?” 54 percent said they approved while 39 percent said they disapproved.

While these are good numbers for the gov, if this poll is accurate, it shows a slide from the numbers Sanderoff got last in a poll he did in late August and early September for The Albuquerque Journal. That poll showed 63 percent giving Richardson a favorable rating while 25 percent said their opinion was unfavorable.

“I don’t know if there’s been a change in attitude or a methodological difference,” Sanderoff said.

Sanderoff said he is wary of polling outfits that use automated systems to gather opinions instead of live callers. He also noted that his company calls likely voters who have voted in recent elections, while Survey U.S.A. calls random numbers.

Another possible factor in the big shift in Richardson numbers, Sanderoff said, is the fact that Survey U.S.A. asked whether participants “approved” or “disapproved” of Richardson’s performance, while Sanderoff’s company asked if participants had “favorable” or “unfavorable” opinions of the governor.

“The favorability polls tend to be higher than approval polls,” Sanderoff said.

Sanderoff noted that the Survey U.S.A. poll was taken before Richardson “took some hits” over the $5.5 million jet his administration is buying and for a recent incident in which Richardson’s driver refused to stop for an Albuquerque police officer.

“The jet story was really the first (Richardson controversy) that has gotten to the point of water cooler talk,” he said. “Something like that probably would affect his rating by three points or so.”

The poll on Richardson was conducted May 6 through 8 of 600 New Mexicans. The margin of error is 4.1 percent.

According to Survey U.S.A., the most popular governor is North Dakota’s John Hoeven, a Republican, who is approved by 71 percent of his people. Hoeven had a 20 disapproval score. The least popular is Ohio’s Robert Taft, also a Republican, whose approval rating was a mere 19 percent and disapproval a whopping 74 percent.

Popular senators:
Survey U.S.A. also rated all 100 U.S. Senators earlier this month. Both Republican Pete Domenici and Democrat Jeff Bingaman scored high.

Domenici’s approval rating was 61 percent, just one point higher than Bingaman’s. Thirty two percent disapproved of Domenici, while 28 percent disapproved of Bingaman, who is running for re-election next year.

This poll was taken June 10 to 12 with the same number of people called and same margin of error as the company’s other polls.

Betting on Bill: So what are the odds of Richardson actually making it to the White House? According to the posted odds to one sports betting Web site Wednesday, the odds are 13 to 1.

According to the Canada-based SportsInteraction.com — reportedly the first internet sportsbook in North America — Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has the best odds of winning the presidency in 2008 — 5 to 1. In second place was former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican, whose odds are 7 to 1. Former North Carolina Senator and 2004 Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards has 9-to-1 odds. Richardson is fourth, while Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. follows with 15-to-1 odds.

{Note: As of about 7 p.m. Wednesday, all the individual candidate bets disappeared from the SportsInteraction site. All that was left in the political section was a bet on whether Hilary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice will get the nominations of their respective parties. (The odds there are 21 to 1, which I think is way way low.) I called the helpline and a woman told me the page was just being updated and that all the candidate bets would return in a few minutes. But as of 12:01 AM Thursday, they were still missing.}

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

R.I.P. BOUNCER

My old high school vice principal died Sunday.

I first met Bouncer Sena in August 1968 on my first day at Santa Fe Mid High. He saw my name and asked if my mother was Mary Ruth. When I said yes, he said, "I knew her in high school. She was the prettiest girl in school. I knew your dad too."

Later that day, there was a school assembly. Bouncer informed us that students were no longer welcome at Josie's Restaurant. Something to do with a firecracker incident the previous school year.

I took him seriously.

In fact I was probably 30 years old when my pal Paul Milosevich asked if I wanted to meet him for lunch at Josie's.

It took me a second. I almost blurted out, "I'm not allowed in there."

Here's the obit for Bouncer I wrote for this morning's paper.


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 29, 2005


He was a coach, an educator, a politician, a family man, a high-school football star and a lifelong Santa Fean. Anyone who knew the sometimes-gruff but ultimately big-hearted authority figure for two generations of local high schoolers knew him by his childhood nickname: “Bouncer.”

John “Bouncer” Sena died Sunday. He was 77.

Sena had been hospitalized with pneumonia and other ailments. “He was in the hospital for a little over a month. Then he came home (about two weeks ago) and was very happy,” his daughter, Melinda “Jo Jo” Tarnoff, said Tuesday.

“He was always an inspiration,” said Orlando Baca, a retired Santa Fe High School typing and math teacher. “He was one of those tough old guys like (longtime Santa Fe High School principal) Joe Casados. But they always had a heart and treated everyone with dignity and respect. That’s why they got so much out of their staff and the students.”

Sena was born in Santa Fe in 1927, the youngest of eight children of Abran and Elena Sena.

He was raised on Agua Fria Street near Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. His father worked for the state Highway Department.

When he was about 11, Sena got dubbed with the nickname that would stay with him for life. “There are various stories on how he got that name,” Sena’s son Frank Sena said. “He was a big kid. His brother told him he looked like a bouncer when they were boxing.”

As a sophomore at Santa Fe High School in 1943, Bouncer Sena was on the Demon football team when they won the state championship.

“He was the tackle,” said lifelong friend and former College of Santa Fe athletic director Bob Sweeney, who was fullback on that champion team.

Sweeney said he and Sena were involved together in various athletic pursuits through the years. Sena was manager for the College of Santa Fe basketball team when Sweeney was coach. And in recent years the two were golf buddies.

After graduating from high school, Sena attended college at The University of New Mexico. He graduated in 1951 from the College of Santa Fe with a degree in business administration.

But it was in the field of education where he would find his career.
Baca recalled that when he was in high school “Bouncer” Sena was teaching driver’s education and coaching.

“He coached everything,” Frank Sena said. “Football, track, anywhere they needed a coach, he’d do it. I grew up in locker rooms, press boxes and on the sidelines. It wasn’t bad.”

When the current Santa Fe High School campus open in the mid 1960s, the old school building — currently the location of City Hall — became Santa Fe Mid High. “Bouncer” Sena became vice principal of the school.

“He was a steadfast, loyal employee and colleague,” said Don Casados, who was Mid High principal during that period. “He set high standards of honor, morality and integrity. He earned respect from faculty, staff and parents. His main concern was the students.”

While his dedication to students was unquestioned, Sena also had another interest — politics.

He made unsuccessful stabs at running for a state House seat in 1972 and 1974. The first time he lost the Democratic primary to Eddie Lopez by two votes.
“They didn’t let him put the name ‘Bouncer’ on the ballots that time,” Frank Sena said. “A lot of people didn’t realize it was him.”

But “Bouncer” Sena twice won a County Commission seat in the mid ‘70s. In 1978 he was named commission chairman. “They did a lot during those years,” Frank Sena said, noting that the Stephen Herrera Judicial Complex was built during his father’s watch.

State Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, D-Santa Fe, who worked in the county manager’s office during those years, has fond memories of Sena. “I could always tell when he was in the building,” she said. “I could hear him singing as he came up the stairs. He was always so pleasant and full of energy.”

After his two terms on the commission were up, Sena made two more unsuccessful runs for Legislature. He ran for state Senate in 1980 and 1984.

Shortly after he retired from Santa Fe High School, Sena was named a “Living Treasure.”

In recent years, Sena worked part-time at Sam’s Club. He worked there the day before he was hospitalized, his son said.

Sena is survived by his wife Bernadette of 47 years; son Joe Frank Sena of Santa Fe, daughters Dolores Greenwood of Los Angeles, Melinda “Jo Jo” Tarnoff of Ribera and Rebecca Abbo of Albuquerque; and six grandchildren.

UPDATE 4-25-07: I have updated the link to Bouncer's page at the Living Treasuers Web site.

Monday, June 27, 2005

R.I.P. PAUL WINCHELL

Most of the news I've read or heard on Paul Winchell's death have stressed that he was the voice of Piglet in the Winnie the Pooh cartoons. But I remember him best for his ventriloquism -- specifically his dummies Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff. I loved watching them on T.V. I have far more memories of Jerry and Knucklehead than I have of Howdy Doody (who wasn't technically a "dummy," but sure looked like one). Thanks mainly to Winchell, dummies seem to me like a strange and magical race of human-like beings.

One sad anecdote in Winchell's obit is how at the age of 12 he wanted to buy buy a book on ventriloquism, but his mother refused to give him a dime to buy it. Luckily, his sister's boyfriend coughed up the money for the book.

Moral of that story: Parents, if your kids show interest in something artistic, give them the Goddamn dime!

I wasn't aware until now that Winchell had a patent on an early version of an artificial heart.

Was this creation really meant for humans? Or was it a byproduct of a weird experiment to try to bring life to a new generation of Mahoneys and Smiffs?

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

Sunday, June 26, 2005
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
Now Webcasting
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Lap Dancer by Big Ugly Guys
My Doorbell by The White Stripes
Loud Cloud Crowd by Stephen Malkmus
Killer on the Radio by The Flaming Lips
Unmade Bed by Sonic Youth
Drown Me Slowly by Audioslave
Pink Turns to Blue by Husker Du
Woody Woodpecker by Mel Blanc & The Sportsmen

Love/Building on Fire by Talking Heads
No Regrets by The Von Bondies
Robin Hood by The Mekons
Haunt by Roky Erickson
Baby Stardust by Thee Michelle Gun Elephant
Buttered Beauties by Devo
The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing by Frank Zappa
Money by The Kingsmen
Smells Like Teen Spirit by Paul Anka
Rape Me by Richard Cheese

Sweet Little Girl by Stevie Wonder
Keep Mediocrity at Bay by Van Morrison
Everything's OK by The Rev. Al Green
Dial 1-900-GETSOME by Denise LaSalle
Ignant Stick by Mem Shannon
Joyful Sounds by The Lee Boys

Cabin Essence by Brian Wilson
It's My Life by The Animals
Kerouac by Morphine
Take Me to the Other Side by Spacemen 3
Home by Stuurbaard Baakkebaard
In the Factory by Marianne Faithful
Lost in the Supermarket by The Afghan Whigs
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Sunday, June 26, 2005

LEAVING ON A JET PLANE

My story in today's Santa Fe New Mexican about how Gov. Bill Richardson's new jet stacks up against planes ued by governors in other western states can be found HERE.

Anmong the things I learned while researching this story was the fact that the Republican governor of Alaska has been going through a similar controversy.

Feel free to join in on the discussion on The New Mexican site and/or post your comments on this blog.

BEAUTIFUL DREAMER


I just watched the documentary Beautiful Dreamer, which is about Brian Wilson and Smile. And considering I'm pretty well acquainted with the story behind the original Smile sessions, it's a surprisingly moving film.

What struck me is how back in '66 and early '67 young Brian, Van Dyke Parks and all these studio musicians were having a great time making this fantastic, boundary-busting music.

But the whole dynamic changed when The Beach Boys, who had been touring in England, returned. It's a story that's been told lots of times: how Mike Love interrogated Van Dyke about each line in "Surf's Up" and "Cabin Essence," etc.

Basically The Beach Boys tore down what Brian had built.

Zap forward to this decade and you have Brian with a new band (actually most of these guys have been backing him since at least 2000.) Brian announces he'll be doing Smile live in London in early 2004.

And then the demons start coming back. Brian's practically paralyzed with fears and depression.

But this time, it's his band that gave him love and support, encouragement and the strength to do it -- like The Beach Boys should have done in '67. By the end of the movie you really have affection for these guys, especially the keyboardist with the Lyle Lovett hair, Darian Shanaja.

And for the record, Mike Love should be tortured by dwarves.

Friday, June 24, 2005

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST

Friday, June 24, 2005
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Now Webcasting
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Special Love by Rolf Cahn
The Ballad of Waterhole #3 by Roger Miller
Rest of the World by The Waco Brothers
Little Ghost by The White Stripes
Can't Make It Here by James McMurtry
Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town by Walter Brennan
When the Levee Breaks by Mojo Nixon & The Toad Liquors
Cool and Dark Inside by Kell Robertson

Blind Willie McTell by The Band
Denver/O'er the Waves by Carla Bozulich
Right Now by Grey DeLisle
If They Could Only See Me Now by Robbie Fulks
Running Gun by Michael Martin Murphey
Animal Hoedown by Harry Hayward
Enchanted Forest by Mohawk & The Rednecks

Stranger in the House by George Jones & Elvis Costello
Forbidden Angel by Mel Street
I Don't Like the Mirror by Rex Hobart & The Misery Boys
Just Passin' Time by Dwight Yoakam
One More Cowboy by Dan Hicks with Willie Nelson
Everybody Wants to Be a Cat by Michelle Shocked
Electricity by Paul Burch
The Lost Soul by The Watson Family

Palm of Your Hand by Shine Cherries
Sad Mountain by Boris McCutcheon
Don't Let Her Know by Ray Charles
Warm and Tender Love by Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockerell
What You Mean To Me by NRBQ
A Kiss at the End of The Rainbow by Mitch & Mickey
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

Steve Terrell is proud to report to the monthly Freeform American Roots Radio list

SLOWING DOWN RICHARDSON


My story on the governor's new speeding vow can be found HERE. The complete statement can be found HERE.

The gov's announcement apparently touched the soul of Julia Goldberg. She made a vow of her own, which can be found HERE

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: BRIGHT MOMENTS IN SANTA FE MUSIC

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 24, 2005


“The musician in Santa Fe will get his comeuppance. You'll be happy to play for tips while a bunch of rich Texans eat.”
Rolf Cahn, 1982

Rolf, who came to Santa Fe after establishing himself as one of the elder statesmen of the 1960s folk music revival, told me that in an interview I did with him all those years ago. He died 11 years ago, but his truth goes marching on.

Whenever I hear some story about the weird bummers, various humiliations and embarrassments stemming from trying to make music in Santa Fe, I think of Rolf’s comeuppance theorem. And sometimes I can’t help but think that these chronicles of shame and degradation, of hucksterism and heroics might be used as arguments that the comeuppance is partly self-inflicted.

Here’s a few of those Santa Fe music tales:

Roger in the Rain: I was excited to learn in the late ‘70s that one of my childhood musical heroes, Roger Miller was living in Santa Fe. And I was nearly ecstatic that night in the summer of 1980 when, backstage at a Michael Martin Murphey concert at Paolo Soleri, I spotted the King of the Road standing in the wings. Miller was about to make his local public debut. Murphey would call his surprise guest out on stage to do a short set of tunes. Miller strolled out with his guitar, saying “I live up the road a bit,” and the place exploded in applause.

But that wasn’t the only explosion. Overhead thunder roared. And right after Miller struck his first chord the rain came down. It went on for at least 30 minutes with no end in sight, drenching what was left of the unprotected crowd. Murphey cancelled the show. Because the promoter at the time had a policy of no refunds for rain-outs, Murphey himself offered to refund any tickets sent to his address in Taos.

Big River Production’s no-refund policy at Paolo Soleri for years was a source of controversy for the summer concert series. A few years after the aborted Murphey/Miller show, Joan Baez did a rainy night show there. Stagehands with umbrellas tried to keep the show going and a frustrated Baez told the audience that she’d never been so tempted to forsake her philosophy of non-violence.

As for Miller, he only did one other local appearance before his death in 1992. In the early ‘80s he opened for Barbara Mandrell at the Downs at Santa Fe. It rained liked crazy that night too, though at least this time the stage was covered.

Gerald’s Wild Years: I’m going to change the name of this musician. I haven’t seen “Gerald” in 25 years and don’t know whatever happened to him. Hopefully he changed his life and is doing better.

But every time I heard the Tom Waits song “Frank’s Wild Years” from the album Swordfishtrombones, I can’t help but think of Gerald. And I can’t help but think that Gerald’s sad tale inspired Waits’ song.

Gerald was a piano player who used to play at local bars like The Green Onion, The Forge and the TAC Club. He was an extremely nice guy. He used to loan me his P.A. equipment when I started playing at the Forge -- even though I had taken over his Sunday night slot there.

He was so nice and low-key, most people who knew him were shocked Christmas week 1980 when The Santa Fe Reporter ran a cover story with the grim headline “When a Gentle Man Turns Violent” (or something to that effect.)

It was about Gerald. It seems that the piano man had gone into some deep psychotic funk. One night in a gruesome rage he beat his girlfriend’s dog to death — with a pool cue, I believe — then set the east-side house on fire. “Torched it,” as Tom Waits growls in his song.

A few months later I was at the old Candyman on Water Street. One of the clerks and I were cracking grim jokes about Gerald's meltdown. But at one point, the clerk gasped. “I thought I saw him!” he said. He was mistaken. It wasn’t Gerald.

I left the Candyman and went home. Right after I reached my place, I got a call from a friend. The Candyman was burning down.

The Week of Wonder: In early 1982, Stevie Wonder came to town to shoot a commercial for a recording tape company for Japanese television. He was staying at La Fonda with his mobile recording unit in the parking lot there.

One night Stevie played an impromptu set at The Palace. I wasn’t there. Lots of people I know were there — though if everyone who claims they were there that night really were, The Palace would have to be bigger than Lobo Stadium.

For the rest of the week, Stevie Wonder rumors were flying everywhere. “Stevie’s supposed to be here tonight. Stevie’s going to be there this afternoon …” One of the most compelling was that Wonder would be sitting in with his “old friend” John Lee Hooker, who was playing at the Line Camp in Pojoaque that weekend.

I don’t think I’d ever seen the Line Camp so packed. Judging by the buzz, most of the crowd was there to see Stevie -- who didn’t show. But Hooker seemed to draw energy from the capacity crowd and the venerated bluesman gave one of the most dynamic concerts I’ve ever seen here.

I later learned that the Stevie-at-the-Line-Camp rumor was pure hucksterism on the part of bar’s owner John Harvey. I always admired him for that.

Rage Against the Radio: The consolidation of radio has been exasperated in recent years, but it’s been brewing for well over a decade. Even before the Clear Channel monolith owned KBAC, that station, in its first incarnation suffered as a result of ownership changes.

In March 1994, the station -- which then specialized in “alternative” music -- was purchased by some outside company that decided to radically change formats without bothering to tell anyone on the air.

A DJ named Dave Cali was doing his show one afternoon when he started getting calls saying there were two signals playing on KBAC’s wave length. Cali started asking questions of the brass and learned in fact that the new owners were going to replace live DJs with a satellite feed playing a toned-down version of alternative rock.

Cali knew his prospects for employment there was cooked anyway, so he went down like a warrior. First he played a version the MC5’s “Kick Out the Jams” by Henry Rollins and The Bad Brains. He followed that with followed by Rage Against the Machine's “Killing in the Name Of,” which ends with the cheerful refrain, “Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me …” repeated a dozen times or so.”

Cali was fired immediately and the satellite beings completed their hostile takeover. That operation folded after a few weeks and KBAC went dark for a couple of years.

Bruno Bares All: More than 20 years before the infamous Janet Jackson Super Bowl fiasco, there was an infamous wardrobe malfunction on a Santa Fe stage.

And this was my brother’s fault.

It was a rock ‘n’ roll show at the Armory for the Arts, headlined by my brother Jack Clift’s band -- whatever his band was called at the moment.

The show was emceed by some strange individual who called himself “Bruno Esoterico,” billed as a radio personality from the island of Guam. Some folks said he looked a lot like me. Poor bastard.

Esoterico, dressed in a straw hat, cheap Hawaiian shirt and flowery swimming trunks, took the stage to introduce Jack’s band. But as he began with his trademark catch phrase “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!” Jack sneaked up from behind and pulled down Bruno’s trunks giving the audience a full-frontal view of Guam.

Some folks said he looked a lot like me.

After the show Jack was overheard telling the angry Guamanian, “I thought you were wearing underwear!”

Bruno didn’t buy it. Still doesn’t.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

MILES OF BLOGGING

Jeff Weiss and his beautiful wife Corrie run Miles of Music, a very cool and very righteous mail order business for American roots music, alternative country, Americana and other things they like.

And now Jeff's running a Miles of Music blog. I just checked it out and was impressed. Though Jeff's not above plugging new stuff at MOM, this blog is not a mere advertising vehicle. It's put together by someone who truly loves music.

He has a lot of links to music news stories -- I didn't realize that it was L.A. country-rocker Eleni Mandell who did the music for the Paris Hilton Carl's Junior commercial! -- and even has the latest FAR (Freeform American Roots Radio) chart.

So if you like the kind of stuff I play on The Santa Fe Opry, check out the Miles of Music blog.

(Full disclosure time: Miles of Music used to sell my CD. Together we made dozens of dollars. But that's not why I'm plugging him.)

THIS JUST IN ...

This will be all over New Mexico TV news in the next hour or so and in the papers tomorrow, so I might as well post this now.

Gov. Bill Richardson says he's going to slow down on the highways.

Check this blog and The New Mexican tomorrow. For now, here's a press release from the governor:

Governor Bill Richardson Issues Statement On Reports of Speeding

For Immediate Release
LOS LUNAS- Governor Bill Richardson today issued the following statement regarding recent media reports of his state police drivers speeding while transporting the Governor to an event in Albuquerque:

“A lot of people, especially the media, have had some fun at my expense regarding reports of my state police drivers exceeding the speed limit.

I enjoy humor, and I can take legitimate criticism. In politics, you get used to criticism.

I am the first to admit that I try to cram as much business as possible into each and every day. As you know, I’m impatient. We have a lot to do to continue to move this state forward.

The dedicated state police officers who drive my vehicle are the best. They have been specially trained in dignitary protection by the Secret Service. They have never operated the vehicle in a way that would risk the safety of me or other drivers on the road. I will also never question them when they believe security is an issue.

But I am not above the law. Hurrying has never been about me- it’s about getting things done for the people who elected me. Sometimes I have gone fast- too fast. I won’t stop working to move New Mexico forward, but I have instructed my drivers to slow down and follow the speed limit on the highway.

I’m not going to stand here and say we’ll never speed again- there may be exceptional circumstances. But we are going to slow down.

I hope this will put this distraction to rest, and we can move on with the important work we are doing on education, jobs, fighting DWI and domestic violence, and what I’ll be doing later today and tomorrow- helping to keep Cannon Air Force Base open.”

#30#

TIRED OF RELIGIOUS FANATIC NUTBALLS?

Then try ANTI-religious fanatic nutballs.

This link was sent to me on my work e-mail with the subject header "The Bible is a PROVEN HOAX."

An excerpt from the rant on the site:
Religion is the weapon of mass destruction of truth. Religions
rely on fear, the absolute terror of hell. They unleash their
venom on children and scar them for life. The morality of
religion is the morality of terror.

I do like the fact this site has LARGE PRINT, though the gray background and multi-color text gets old after awhile.

ROUNDHOUSE ROUND-UP: BOLTON BLOGGER HAS N.M. TIES

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 23, 2005


The man who publishes the go-to blog for opponents of John Bolton owns a house in Santa Fe.

If you’ve been using the internet to closely follow the fight over President Bush’s nomination of Bolton to the post of United Nations, chances are you’ve come across Steve Clemons’ blog called The Washington Note.

Clemons is a former adviser for U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman.

“I worked for Sen. Bingaman for three years,” Clemons said in a phone interview this week, referring to his three-year stint that began in 1995. “My official title was senior policy adviser on economic and international affairs.”

Clemons, who lives in the city that’s the namesake of his blog, doesn’t claim deep ties to New Mexico. “My grandmother lived there,” he said. In his college years he frequently visited Santa Fe and Taos. And, of course he came to the state several times during his Bingaman years. Among other projects, he helped organize an Asian trade conference in Albuquerque that was an annual event for a few years.

“And I have a tiny little home there, just off the Plaza,” he said.

Although he said his blog sometimes seems like a full-time job, Clemons is senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, a non-partisan think tank. He also writes about foreign policy and international economics for several publications in the U.S. and Asia.

Since mid March — shortly after Bush nominated Bolton — Clemons’ blog has dealt with little else.

“Here is the deal,” he wrote in an early post. “I just don't think America's core interests can be served by this appointment. I don't mind a U.N.-skeptic going to the United Nations, but at least that skeptic needs to believe in the essential role and function of a reformed United Nations —- and needs to be a constructive force in achieving that goal.”

Since then, Clemons’ rap on Bolton has become more pointed: “He has been reckless with intelligence and irresponsibly abusive toward intelligence analysts, undermined his boss Colin Powell, engaged in dangerous brinkmanship with problem nations while delicate negotiations were underway to ‘tie down’ their burgeoning (weapons of mass destruction) programs, and has a long tenure in many positions of not respecting Congress or the importance of the separation of powers,” Clemons blogged last week.

Bill and Bolton: The blog not only has chronicled all the twists and turns of the Bolton fight, it’s actually broken some news on the issue. And a couple of times the name of another Washington insider with Santa Fe ties — Gov. Bill Richardson — has popped up in Clemons’ blog.

Clemons has criticized Richardson — a former U.N. ambassador — and several other prominent Democrats for making public statements that Bolton would be confirmed.

Clemons said he talked about the matter with Richardson spokesman Billy Sparks. “I was pretty livid,” he said. “No moderate Republicans are going to jump ship if Democrats keep talking like this.”

Richardson, he said, “Sent me an e-mail telling me to stop biting my friends.” But, Clemons noted, the governor “did a one-day turnaround” and made a strong statement against Bolton.

Clemons in April reported speculation that Richardson could be among 10 officials in communications intercepted by the National Security Agency —- transcripts of which were sought by Bolton.

Richardson in early 2003 met with North Korean diplomats in Santa Fe and reported frequently about those talks to then Secretary of State Colin Powell.

“The thinking is that Bolton was trying to sabotage anyone negotiating with North Korea,” Clemons said.

The White House’s refusal to turn over the requested NSA intercepts to the Senate is what is holding up the Bolton nomination. A Republican attempt Monday to force a vote on the nomination failed for a second time.

Bingaman and Bolton: For the record, Clemons’ old boss has voted twice against forcing a Bolton vote.

That prompted state GOP Chair Allen Weh to blast Bingaman in a news release this week, saying the senator had “once again bowed to pressure from the liberal leadership.”

“The Senate should promptly confirm John Bolton so that we can get on with the business of reforming the United Nations,” Weh said.

Thanks, Drudge: If you were having a hard time getting on The New Mexican’s free web site Tuesday, blame it on right-wing internet personality Matt Drudge.

The Drudge Report linked to my story on the governor’s recent speeding controversy.

ABC News' political site The Note, also linked to the story on the New Mexican site.

So many new readers clicked on the link, it caused the paper’s web server to crash.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

MY TEAM IS AWAYS RIGHT. YOURS IS ALWAYS WRONG

Anyone remember "Good Guys/Bad Guys Cheer" by Country Joe & The Fish.

I didn't think so.

It was a "spoken -word" piece on their 1968 Together album in which Joe, or one of the Fish shouts, "Let's hear it for the good guys!" The crowd responds "YAY!!!" This is followed by "Let's hear it for the bad guys!" The crowd boos. This is repeated several until the noise all runs together.

A couple of things made me think about the "Good Guys" and the "Bad Guys" in the past couple of days.

First there was Tom Bailey's latest post on his New Mexico Politics blog. He talks about the recent disclosure that Republican Albuquerque City Councilor Tina Cummings lying about a past DWI conviction.

Fair enough.

But then he basically says that Cummings is part of a Republican tradition of morally-challenged politicians, listing several good examples of bad examples from Bob Livingston all the way back to Bob Packwood.

However, the most recent example of a New Mexico politician lying about a DWI was a Democrat -- Letitia Montoya, who ran for a state Senate seat in Santa Fe last year. At a candidate forum last year Montoya was asked whether she'd ever been arrested for DWI before. She said know. However, court records showed she indeed had been arrested for drunken driving 20 years before. Montoya, who lost that race but is now running for secretary of state, now says she just told "a little white lie."

Yesterday The Drudge Report linked to The New Mexican Web site's version of my story about Gov. Bill Richardson's latest speeding escapade.

As a result, I was getting e-mails from people all around the country who were outraged that the governor can speed all he wants and even refuse to stop for police, while regular folks would get ticketed or maybe even even arrested for such a stunt.

Fair enough.

But a couple of e-mails used Richardson's speeding as just another example of the arrogant and immoral ways of Democrats.

However, a couple of years ago, when Richardson's speeding first became an issue, I interviewed a certain Republican who admitted to a high-speed ride of his own. Here's an excerpt from the Oct. 2, 2003 Roundhouse Round-up:
"The only reason I would have gone more than 100 mph is if I was late to something," Richardson's immediate predecessor, Gary Johnson, said in a phone interview this week.

Johnson said the only time he recalls his state police drivers going 100 mph was once when he was late for a political function in Albuquerque.

"I was late to see George Bush," he admitted. This, Johnson said, was during the 2000 presidential race. But Johnson said, unlike Richardson, he wouldn't have let his driver go that fast had there been a reporter in the car. "I wouldn't have considered it with The Washington Post in the car," he said.

UPDATE: I just noticed that conservative N.M. blogger Mario Burgos -- to his credit -- points to an example of another Republican speed demon -- this a story with tragic consequences. (I'm just not sure why Mario calls me a "lone merry man.")

And if I start to sound a little self-righteous, I can always look at these photos published by Conventry to bring the ego down a few notches.

THAT DAMNED MUSICAL BATON!

I just got passed the "musical baton" for the second time, this time by the one and only Steve Terrell -- at least the one and only Steve Terrell of Indianapolis.

On most the questions, I think I'll let my first answers stand.

However, this version of the questionnaire was slightly different.

It asked "What is my total volume of music?" Oh hell, who's counting. Let's just say that my small dining room serves as my CD room and it's just about full.

The last CD I bought was David Bromberg's Live in New York 1982. I picked it up at his wonderful convert at the Lensic Sunday night. (I still owe my girlfriend $20!)

And here's the embarassing part. The song that was on the CD player when Steve's e-mail arrived was Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" -- the new "swing" version by Paul Anka.

Now I gotta figure out five more bloggers I can inflict this on.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A MAN IN A HURRY

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
July 21, 2005


Gov. Bill Richardson is the center of another speeding controversy.

According to a report Monday by Channel 13’s Larry Barker, a state police driver for the governor refused on June 2 to stop for an Albuquerque police officer who noticed the governor’s white Cadillac sports utility vehicle “speeding and driving erratically” on an interstate frontage road in Albuquerque.

Barker’s report showed footage of the chase and a recording of the Albuquerque police officer. The report didn’t say how fast the governor’s driver was going.

A spokesman for Richardson referred questions about the incident to the state Public Safety Department, which called the incident “a simple misunderstanding,” noting that the Albuquerque officer was in an unmarked car and not in uniform.

In a written statement, DPS spokesman Peter Olson said, “there was no procedure in place for the governor’s driver to verify it was indeed an APD unit. Under those circumstances, state police are trained to take evasive action and not to stop.

Likewise, there was no procedure in place for the APD officers to make contact with the Governor’s vehicle.”

“They had flashing lights and a siren, but that doesn’t cut it,” Olson told The New Mexican.

Because of the incident, there now is a direct phone line state police can use to instantly communicate with Albuquerque police dispatchers, Olson said.

The report comes at a time in which state Republicans are airing radio commercials blasting Gov. Bill Richardson’s “high roller” lifestyle, including his driving habits. One ad says Richardson “isn't bothered by speed limits.”

Richardson’s speeding first was picked up on the political radar in 2003 when a Washington Post reporter, traveling with Richardson on the way to a political function, noted that the governor ordered his driver to go faster when they already were in excess of 100 mph.

There have been similar reports of Richardson’s speeding since then. Public Safety Secretary John Denko has defended Richardson’s high speeds, calling the practice a security measure.

Olson’s statement Monday says, “ The state police officer driving correctly followed the procedures mandated to safely and securely transport the governor ... the state police will continue to take every precaution and follow recognized procedures to ensure the safety of the Governor ...”

Saturday, June 18, 2005

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST

Friday, June 17, 2005
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Now Webcasting
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Drinking, Cheating and Death by The Waco Brothers
One Has My Name (The Other Has My Heart) by Jerry Lee Lewis
Intentional Heartache by Dwight Yoakam
Reprimand by Joe West
Blue Bonnets by Michael Martin Murphey
Wreck My Car by Scott H. Biram
Ed's Place by Horace Heller

Father's Day Set
That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine by The Everly Brothers
Daddy Was a Steel Headed Man by Robbie Fulks
A Boy Named Sue by Johnny Cash
Just Like My Dad by ThaMuseMeant
They Don't Make 'em Like My Daddy by Loretta Lynn
Hillbilly Highway by Steve Earle
Half Fist by Loudon Wainwright III
My Old Man by Jerry Jeff Walker

David Bromberg Set
Send Me to the 'Lectric Chair
Sharon
Young Wesley
Statesboro Blues/Church Bell Blues
Mr. Blue
Summer Wages

Blame it on Joann by John Hartford
Crazy as a Loon by John Prine
God's Got It by Grey DeLisle
I Always Loved a Waltz by Kell Robertson
Stranger in the House by George Jones with Elvis Costello
When You Wish Upon a Star by Michelle Shocked
The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore by June Carter Cash
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

Steve Terrell is proud to report to the monthly Freeform American Roots Radio list

Friday, June 17, 2005

BROMBERG IN SANTA FE

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 17, 2005


He’s performed with Jerry Jeff Walker and John Prine, and recorded with Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Doug Sahm, Phoebe Snow, members of the Grateful Dead and even Sha Na Na.

He had a respectable solo career of his own, combining all sorts of American roots styles — blues, bluegrass, first-generation rock — fronting a band that could play Dixieland jazz one moment, a cowboy lament the next followed by white-boy funk and then come right back at you with furious Irish fiddle reels.

And then, about 20 years ago, David Bromberg basically hung it up.

He stopped touring, gave up on recording. Turned his back on the rock ‘n’ roll, traveling troubadour game to study making violins. Bromberg now operates his own store in Wilmington, Del.

“I just got burned out on all that,” Bromberg said in a recent telephone interview from his violin shop. Talking about his lack of studio recordings since the ‘80s, Bromberg said, “I was spending so much time in windowless rooms, I kind of ODed on it.”

Or, as his Web site biography says, “... the days on the road for extended periods simply do not fit his primary interests as a father and businessman.”

But the good news is that he’s starting to feel a little bit of the old itch again and has been doing some touring. And the really good news is that he’ll be in Santa Fe Sunday night with his band for a show at the Lensic.

Bromberg, 59, is a Philadelphia native who began his musical career in the coffee houses of New York’s Greenwich Village when he was a student at Columbia University.

One of his first breaks was hooking up with a then-unknown New York singer-songwriter named Ron Crosby, who would transform himself into Jerry Jeff Walker. Bromberg toured with Walker and recorded on his first album Mr. Bojangles. (Though he’s pictured on the back cover holding a banjo, Bromberg actually played electric guitar on the album.)

After years on the folkie circuit, Bromberg got a recording contract with Columbia Records, releasing his first album David Bromberg in 1971, the highlight of which is the five-minute “Sammy’s Song,” a disturbing — and graphic — tale of a boy losing his virginity in a Spanish whore house. Bob Dylan played harmonica on the song.

Around that time Bromberg was playing guitar on Dylan’s albums Self Portrait and New Morning. It also was during this period that Bromberg was producer for one of the greatest acoustic country albums of all time — John Hartford’s Aereo-Plane.

Three other Columbia albums followed before Bromberg went on to smaller labels. He never became a “star,” but with some tunes became staples of hipper FM stations of the day.

Among these were “Sharon,” a funky tale of a carnival snake dancer; “Send Me to the ‘Lectric Chair,“ a Bessie Smith tune updated to name check Watergate Judge John Sirica; and Blind Willie McTell’s “Dyin’ Crapshooter Blues,” turned into a Dixieland stomper.

He sang in a voice distinctively his own, a just-this-side-of-comical nasal. He could bring belly laughs in some tunes like “Will Not Be Your Fool” or “Bullfrog Blues,” then break your heart with his version of “Mr. Blue.”

And his frequent touring kept his fandom alive. He played New Mexico several times in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, including a packed show with his band at the old Golden Inn. He played several times as a solo artist at Paolo Soleri shows in the early ‘80s.

He stopped touring and recording in the mid ‘80s, a period that was hard on many performers of his generation and particularly hard on those specializing in American roots music.

“I’d been studying violin making for a few years when I stopped touring,” Bromberg said. He graduated in 1984 from the Kenneth Warren School of Violin Making in Chicago, where he’d moved in 1980.

Though he knows how to make a violin, Bromberg said he doesn’t pretend to be a master of that instrument. His main instrument is guitar, though he also plays dobro and mandolin.

“I bought and sold violins for a living,” he said. Traveling to Europe to look for violins and bows he said, was more fun than touring and recording.

Two years ago, he left Chicago for Delaware.

“My wife and I had had enough of Chicago winters,” he said. “We were looking for some place back east. My former road manager now works as associate director of the Grand Opera House in Wilmington. Wilmington has the right kind of climate and we were able to make a good deal on the shop.”

According to some published reports, the city of Wilmington sold old building that houses David Bromberg’s Fine Violins in the Market Street area for $1 in exchange for Bromberg helping to promote arts in the downtown area. There he buys, sells and repairs violins and bows.

After years of being off the road, once in Wilmington, Bromberg started regular blues and bluegrass jam sessions at a Wilmington club. “I discovered this 15-year-old kid — I guess he’s 17 now — who’s one of the most brilliant electric blues guitarists I’ve ever heard,” he said.

And he’s started touring again, and for the first time in a quarter century, with a band — horn section and all. Right before Santa Fe, Bromberg and his group are performing at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

Bromberg still hasn’t gone back to the “windowless room” to resume his recording career, though there's a “new” Bromberg CDs available at his Web site.

“I’m finding stuff from old concerts that people recorded surreptitiously,” he said. “We have one for sale, a concert in New York City.” This 1982 show is the first legal bootleg Bromberg is offering.

He says he has no plans to try to get a new record contract. “These days record companies are pretty much superfluous,” he said.

But he has started writing songs again. “I wrote me a song in a dream,” Bromberg said. “It’s called ‘Outside Man.’ It’s stone blues.”

Sounds like this “outside man” might be coming back in again.

Who: The David Bromberg Band
When: 8 p.m. Sunday
Where: The Lensic Performing Arts Center, 211 West San Francisco St.
How much: Tickets range from $39 to $27
Call: 505-988-1234 $27 Ticket Phone: (505) 988 -1234


Hear a lengthy set of David Bromberg music tonight on The Santa Fe Opry, 10 p.m. to midnight on KSFR, 90.7 FM. (The Bromberg set will start around 11 p.m.)

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: LADIES SING THE BLUES

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 17, 2005


The blues often is thought of as a masculine genre, an unforgiving world of hard drinking, skirt chasing, razor fights, faithless love and harsh prisons.

Often we forget about the feminine side of the blues, how singers like Bessie Smith, Mamie Smith, Ma Rainey and Memphis Minnie brought a vaudeville-bred sense of showmanship, style and a sense of regality to the music. It’s true that males still dominate the blues, but the contributions of women are not to be overlooked.

However, movie maker Robert Mugge felt this is exactly what happened in Martin Scorsese’s 2003 series of films about the blues for PBS. In several published interviews, Mugge has said it was the Scorsese series that inspired him to produce eight hour-long concert shows for what would become a Mississippi Public Television series called Blues Divas.

Each episode focused on a different singer -- some that you‘ll recognize, some that you probably never heard of. These are Mavis Staples, Irma Thomas, Ann Peebles, Denise La Salle, Odetta, Bettye LaVette, Deborah Coleman and Renee Austin.

A two-hour compilation of performances from that series will be shown at the Santa Fe Film Center at Cinemacafe Saturday and Wednesday. It’s Blues Divas’ southwest premier.

Mugge is no newcomer to the blues. Though he’s done documentaries on bluegrass, Hawaiian music, reggae, jazz, Cajun music, Gil Scott-Heron, Ruben Blades and even entertainers who performed for the troops during World War II, blues and soul have been his major focus. His films include Deep Blues, Last of the Mississippi Jukes, Blues Breaks and documentaries about Robert Johnson and Alligator Records.
Fans of the singers featured in Blues Divas, and in fact fans of the blues in general shouldn’t miss this movie.

It’s the music that’s the real draw here. It’s more of a “concert” film than documentary.

Blues Divas does include short segments in which each of the singers is interviewed by actor Morgan Freeman. Most of these are rather light conversations, that don’t reveal much -- except when Staples talks about getting punished by her God-fearing grandmother as a child for the sin of singing a blues song.

All the performances are shot at the Ground Zero Club in Clarksdale, Miss. (which is owned by Freeman). The audiences are small. Perhaps stage hands whooping it up.

The selection of talent represents a good variety of styles often included under the general umbrella of the blues. Staples comes from a gospel background and indeed plays gospel-rooted tunes in this film. Odetta is from the folk world. Thomas, Peebles and Lavette originally known as “soul” singers. And when Freeman calls LaSalle “the queen of the blues,” she corrects him. It’s “the Queen of Southern Soul Blues.

(Historical aside: At some point around the ‘80s what’s known as “blues” did a takeover of what was once known as soul music, at least southern soul. The two are now virtually inseparable in the public mind, so soul singers like Al Green, Soloman Burke and the ladies mentioned above are embraced on the “blues” circuit while “blues” artists like Robert Cray and Mem Shannon often play a style that once would have been called “soul.” Indeed, it’s good not to get too anal-retentive about such distinctions. But you can’t help but remember the story about B.B. King opening for Sam Cooke in the early ‘60s. Cooke’s audience, who considered King’s blues as old fashioned and hokey booed B.B. off the stage.)

The undeniable highlight of this show is the Queen of Southern Soul Blues. LaSalle takes the stage like a tornado, tearing through funny, sexy songs like “Don‘t Mess With My Man” and “Your Man is Cheatin’ On Us.”

Lavette is a singer who goes back to the ‘60s, but never achieved the fame she deserved. Her voice is mesmerizing, oozing with emotion and her performance in Blues Divas is likely to win her new fans. My only beef is that the film doesn’t include her signature tune “Let Me Down Easy.” (Serious soul fans should seek out the 8-minute version of this song on Let Me Down Easy: In Concert. It’s a Dutch import, but available at a decent price on Amazon and other online sites.)

Odetta’s voice just grows richer by the year. She performs a surprising tough cover of Lead Belly’s “Bourgeois Blues” and sweet version of “Careless Love,” a song that has been batted around between country and blues artists. Talking about the implications of this sexual cautionary tale she advises her audience not to forget their condoms.

In addition to all these veterans, there are a couple of younger, lesser-known artists included here. Renee Austin is a big-voiced redhead in a slinky black dress. She belts out a bluesy torch song called “Fool Moon” she says is inspired by Ella Fitzgerald.

Guitarist/singer Deborah Coleman starts off with a respectable cover of Koko Taylor’s “I’m a Woman” (a rewrite of Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy.) Unfortunately the song degenerates in to a lengthy, generic bar-band guitar solo. I wish they’d have cut this in half to make room for another LaSalle song or Lavette’s “Let Me Down Easy.”

I don’t know what kind of business obstacles there might be between Mississippi and New Mexico public television, but after watching this two-hour compilation, I wish KNME would broadcast the entire eight-hour Blues Diva series.

Blues Divas is playing at the Santa Fe Film Center at Cinemacafe, 1616 St. Michael's Drive 4 p.m. Saturday and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets are $8; $7 for students and seniors; $6 for film festival members.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

BAD AD SONGS AND CLASSY RIDES


Slate magazine this week has a funny piece about painfully inappropriate songs used in television commericals.

Among them are General Electric using the song "Sixteen Tons" in an ad extolling the virtues of coal (What? They couldn't get the rights to "Dark as a Dungeon"?); Iggy Pop's junkie anthem "Lust For Life" used in an ad for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines; and worst of all, Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son" being twisted into a patriotic ditty for Wrangler Jeans. This is worse than Ronald Reagan's infamous misinterpretation of "Born in the U.S.A."

I thought of a few songs just waiting to be used as commericial jingles.

1. "The Bed" by Lou Reed would sound great on a Posturepedic commercial.

2. "Hellhound on My Trail" by Robert Johnson surely would sell a lot of Alpo.

3. "Wreck on the Highway" -- either the Roy Acuff version or Bruce Springsteen's -- are ripe for an auto insurance commercial.

4. "People Who Died" by The Jim Carroll Band is just begging to be picked up for a commercial by a life insurance company.

Any other ideas? Post 'em in the comments section.

On a completely different subject, my friend Judy pointed out that Gov. Richardson isn't the first gov in these parts to get stylish transportation. Below is from today's New Mexican's "The Past 100 Years."

June 16, 1905: Two handsome Ford automobiles are on the road for Santa Fe people. One is for Gov. Otero and the other will be used by Territorial Secretary J.W. Raynolds.

GOP ATTACKS LEATHER SEATS, WET BAR AND MAKE-UP ARTISTS

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 15, 2005


The radio war between Gov. Bill Richardson and the New Mexico Republican Party escalated Wednesday.

The GOP unleashed two more commercials -- in English and in Spanish -- that blast the governor for his administration’s purchase of a $5.5 million jet airplane and what they call his “high-roller lifestyle.”

Both ads make pointed references to the eight-passenger jet and to Richardson having a “make-up artist” on staff. Both will be running on six stations across the state for the next week, state GOP executive director Marta Kramer said Wednesday.

The ad comes a week after a similar GOP radio ad ran in New Mexico and New Hampshire, where Richardson made a political trip last week. Richardson quickly responded with his own ad that ran on New Mexico stations defending his purchase of the jet.

State Republican Chairman Allen Weh said the notion that Richardson leads “the lifestyle of the rich and famous” — at taxpayer expense — will become a theme in next year’s gubernatorial race. Richardson has said he’ll seek re-election.

“I don’t know of another governor in any of the other 49 states who has such a pampered lifestyle as Bill Richardson,” Weh said.

Richardson’s political director Amanda Cooper said the ads are “full of lies.”

Cooper it was “unconscionable” and “disgraceful” that the Republicans would run such ads during a time when the governor is working with Sen. Pete Domenici and other Republicans to save Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis, which the Pentagon has recommended for closure.

“Bipartisan work needs to be done,” she said. “Let’s save Cannon”
But she said it’s likely the Richardson re-election campaign will pay for another round of ads attacking the new GOP spots.

One ad features a narrator acting as a pilot, welcoming passengers to “Gov. Richardson's new Cessna Citation Bravo.”

The “pilot” continues, “This 5.5 million dollar jet is the lap of luxury, with leather seats and wet bar.”

The ad gives a little history of Richardson’s efforts to get the new plane, specifically how he tried to purchase it without approval by the Legislature, until Attorney General Patricia Madrid issued an opinion saying that plan was illegal.

The “pilot” also talks about Richardson’s “$4 million helicopter, a Cadillac Escalade, three chefs and the largest personal staff of any Governor in the state's history ... that even includes a make-up artist.”

The ad claims Richardson has raised taxes to pay for personal extravagances. “Well, maybe that 's why he wears all that make-up.

“I guess it's hard to look at New Mexicans with a straight face while he raises taxes on the sick and elderly to pay for his high-roller lifestyle.”

The ad concludes, “So sit back, strap in and hold on to your wallet. Gov. Richardson is taking you for a ride... so he can fly first class.”

The second ad consists of a man and woman discussing Richardson’s response to the jet controversy, also referring to the leather seats and wet bar.

“Bill Richardson says it's the Republicans fault,” a woman says.

“How can he say that?” a man says. “ The Legislature never voted on the jet itself. It says right here that the jet was tied to funding for schools, senior centers, and over 3,000 other projects. ...”

The jet was in the general appropriations bill.

The couple jokes about Richardson having a staff make-up artist, whose job included fetching the governor cigars. This was based on a 2003 Washington Post story in which a reporter followed Richardson the day of a Democratic presidential candidate debate in Albuquerque.

That staffer, whose job title was executive assistant, now works for another state agency.

Cooper said there is no make-up artist on staff. She also said Richardson has only one chef, not three.

She said the image of Richardson as a pampered high roller isn’t fair. “Gary Johnson had a car. He had a cook,” she said. She added, “The governor does not do politics at taxpayer expense.”

But Weh said the Republican ads are resonating with New Mexicans who see Richardson as “an egotistical guy who indulges in perks."

“The emperor isn’t wearing any clothes," Weh said. "and we’re going to tell people.”

ROUNDHOUSE ROUND-UP: ROUNDHOUSE HOME COMPANION

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 16, 2005


There was a time, not too many years ago, when you could predict how Republican legislators would vote on any given bill by knowing how the New Mexico Association for Commerce and Industry — the state’s most prominent business lobby — stood on it.

Republicans tend to vote in favor of ACI positions on bills relating to such issues as taxes and easing regulations on businesses. And thus, traditionally, Republicans get the highest scores in ACI’s annual report on the Legislature.

But this year it seems there have been some tensions between the ACI and some GOP lawmakers. During a House floor debate this year, Rep. Dan Foley, R-Roswell, sarcastically referred to the ACI as the “Association of Conflicted Interests.”

And in one of his periodic mass-e-mail “Legislative Reports,” Sen. Rod Adair, another Roswell Republican, says the ACI’s rating of lawmakers is “of absolutely no value whatsoever, even worse they communicate a completely false picture of the attitude of the Legislature toward business.”

He suggests the group has manipulated its scoring system to make Democrats look better.

Borrowing a line from radio humorist Garrison Keillor, Adair wrote, “Some might call the New Mexico Legislature ‘ACI's Lake Wobegone’ where everybody is above average.”

Adair points out that several longtime conservative Republicans this year were rated the same or even lower than some of the most liberal members of the Legislature.

For instance, Rep. Gail Beam and Rep. Miguel Garcia, both Albuquerque Democrats, got higher scores than Rep. Richard Cheney, R-Farmington, while Don Bratton, D-Hobbs, tied Beam with a score of 73. Meanwhile, House Speaker Ben Lujan, D-Nambe, tied ultra-conservative Foley with a score of 80 percent.

Adair said he doesn’t want ACI to become a laughingstock. He doesn’t want people to start saying, “Oh, yeah ACI, that's the organization that says Miguel Garcia is more pro-business than Richard Cheney and Don Bratton.”

“I want to make it clear that far from being a critic of ACI,” said Adair, who has been deemed a “Business Star,” by the ACI for having a cumulative score of better than 85 percent for the past four years. “My point is not to criticize the organization, but to encourage a serious discussion of ACI, with the goal of trying to keep it from becoming completely irrelevant,” he said.

Points of conflict: Three bills caused many Republicans to lose ACI points and helped Democrats get better scores this year.

One was a pre-kindergarten pilot program. Another created a new cabinet department, The Department of Higher Education. The third, House Bill 410, delayed implementation of personal income-tax cuts for the state’s richest citizens but contained several tax incentives.

Republicans voted overwhelmingly against these bills, which were backed by Gov. Bill Richardson and supported by the ACI.

ACI lobbyist J.D. Bullington said, “Education reform has been at the top of the business community’s agenda for many years. In Florida, it’s the Republicans who are working for pre-kindergarten.”

As for HB 410, Bullington disputed Adair’s argument that delaying the tax cut is the equivalent of raising taxes.

“HB 410 was the most important economic-development legislation in the session,” he said.

The bill eliminated some of what the business community calls “pyramiding” — charging gross-receipts taxes on business-to-business transactions -- a change which the ACI has advocated for years. It also established a gross-reciepts tax holiday, tax credits for high-tech start-ups, renewable energy production and creating jobs in rural areas.

But by delaying the tax cuts, the state over the next three years will collect an estimated $121 million in personal income taxes that would have been lost if the tax cuts had taken effect on schedule.

“That does not meet our definition of a tax increase,” Bullington said. “We’re still moving downward (in taxes).”

Another reason for high Dem scores: Bullington said besides those issues, there’s another explanation for the Democrats and Republicans having closer ACI scores in recent years. The scores, he said, are based on floor votes.

“We used to see floor votes on whistle-blower bills, union laws, bills that punished business,” he said. “We don’t see those bills coming to the floor any more.”

According to Bullington, lawmakers have “gotten so sensitive to (the ACI) report card for the last 15 years, they’ve shut off the flow of anti-business bills.”

El Queso Grande: There have been two cheese-related announcements coming out of the governor’s office in the past couple of weeks.

First there was the plans for a whey factory in Clovis that will use byproducts from the nearby cheese factory to make food for piglets.

Second, Richardson appointed ‘70s pop star Tony Orlando to the state Music Commission.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

MR. BIG STUFF

There's a story about our governor in The Hill today, focusing mainly on Richardson's support for a western primary -- a move that assumedly would boost any Richardson '08 effort.

The Hill story is by Alexander Bolton, but it sounds like John Coventry helped him with his lede:
"New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is pushing to increase the weight of Western states with fast-growing Hispanic populations in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary ..."

Monday, June 13, 2005

ANTI-BOLO BIAS SPREADS TO MARYLAND

My former Capitol Bureau partner Mark Hummels alerted me to this alarming example of anti-bolo bigotry at a Maryland high school.

Seriously, this is idiotic. The school wouldn't give this Indian kid his diploma because he "wore a braided bolo tie under his purple graduation gown this week as a subtle tribute to his Native American heritage."

No, the principal's name isn't Don Grady ....

My natural sympathies are with young Thomas Benya. Afterall, I got in trouble at my high school graduation for giving a speech urging the Class of '71 to go to jail instead of Vietnam.

Here's Benya's school's side of the story:
"We have many students with many different cultural heritages, and there are many times to display that," said school district spokeswoman Katie O'Malley-Simpson.

"But graduation is a time when we have a formal, uniform celebration. If kids are going to participate, they need to respect the rules."

Thomas Benya did everything he needed to do to graduate -- except for learning the lessons of conformity.

(For a previous tale of bolo madness CLICK HERE)

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

Sunday, June 12, 2005
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
Now Webcasting
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Steppin' Out by Paul Revere & The Raiders
Indestructible by Rancid
It Kills by Stephen Malkmus
Little Girl by Syndicate of Sound
125 by The Haunted
Man or Animal by Audioslave
Laredo (Small Dark Something) by Jon Dee Graham
Bulldozer Love by The Baby Robots

This Ain't No Picnic by The Minutemen
Killin' Floor by John Schooley
Throw a Boogie/Black Betty/Just a Little Bit by Scott H. Biram
Boob Scotch by Bob Log III
Your Memories by Hasil Adkins
Paralyzed by The Legendary Stardust Cowboy
Lover Street by Heavy Trash
Crazy Crazy Mama by Roky Erickson
Justine by The Mummies
Boom Boom by John Lee Hooker

Honky Tonk by Miles Davis
Turkey's Lament by Waldo the Dog-Faced Boy
La Bamba by The Plugz
Bless You by The Devil Dogs

James J Polk by They Might Be Giants
All For Swinging You Around by The New Pornographers
Home Made Blondie by Stuurbaard Bakkebaard
Ghosts of American Astronauts by The Mekons
The World Spins by Julee Cruise
Muriel by Tom Waits
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, June 11, 2005

YOUTH PROGRAM ON KSFR

Here's a message I just got from Tom Knoblauch about an interesting sounding radio program:

Living On the Edge is hosting 15 short news, opinion, and creative narrative productions from the Santa Fe Community College radio production class 1 p.m. Sunday on KSFR, 90.7 FM. These short productions were entirely student written and engineered with advice from Judy Goldberg, producer of Backroads Radio; John Calef, of the KSFR News team; and Tom Knoblauch, producer and co-conspirator of Living On the Edge. Give a listen to the voice of youth in Santa Fe.

If anyone knows of a youth interested in taking the class or participating in the Santa Fe Youth Radio Network please write to:
judy@backroadsradio.com or call 986-1880. The class is eligible for concurrent enrollment with the public High schools and is paid for by Santa Fe Public Schools.

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST

Friday, June 10, 2005
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Now Webcasting
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
My Name is Jorge by The Gourds
The Winner by Bobby Bare
Juanita by The Flying Burrito Brothers
Love's Gonna Live Here by George Jones & Buck Owens
I'm Gonna Take You Home and Make You Like Me by Robbie & Donna Fulks
Roll Truck Roll by Terry Allen
Fake Out by The Blacks
Dolores by Eddie Noack

New England by Jonathan Richman
Leave Me Liquor If You're Leavin' by Hog Mawl
Independence Day by Say Zuzu
New Lee Highway Blues by David Bromberg
Maybe Mexico by Jerry Jeff Walker
First Girl I Loved by John Hartford
Chicken by Geoff Muldaur with Jenni & Clare Muldaur

I'm a Lover Not a Fighter by John Schooley
I See the Light/What's His Name by Scott H. Biram
No Shoes by Hasil Adkins
Cussin' in Tongues by The Legendary Shack Shakers
I'm Convicted by Bad Livers
Louisiana Fairy Tale by Devil in a Woodpile
Boney Fingers by Hoyt Axton
Who's Julie by Mel Tillis

The Bloody Bucket by Grey DeLisle
My Home is Not a Home by Clothesline Revival with Tom Armstrong
How You Play the Game by Michelle Shocked
My Darlin' Hometown by John Prine
Trademark by Karen Collins
Gatsby's Restaurant by June Carter Cash with Jerry Hensley
When I Get My Rewards by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with Levon Helm
Fight or Flight by Shine Cherries
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

Steve Terrell is proud to report to the monthly Freeform American Roots Radio list

Friday, June 10, 2005

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: HASIL'S BASTARD SONS

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 10, 2005

Hasil Adkins, described in the All Music Guide as a “frantic one-man band who bashed out ultra-crude rock & roll tunes about sex, chicken, and decapitation into a wheezing reel-to-reel tape machine in a West Virginia shack," died in April, just before his 68th birthday.

He was truly a one-of-a-kind musical maniac. Artists like Adkins are lightning-struck mutations. You can’t study and rehearse your way into Haze-hood.

But his one-man band routine is a modern incarnation of an ancient tradition. While the common image of one man-bands is a goofy novelty worth of Vaudeville or Venice Beach, according to music historian and instrument inventor Hal Rammel, the concept can be traced back to the 13th Century.

“As a category of musicianship it transcends cultural and geographic boundaries, spans stylistic limits, and defies conventional notions of technique and instrumentation,” Rammel wrote in 1990. “despite its generally accepted status as an isolated novelty, it is a phenomenon with some identifiable historical continuity.”

The cult of Hasil, did leave its mark on the music world -- though his followers are even more obscure than Adkins was.

One obvious heir is Arizona’s Bob Log III, an avant-blues avatar who looks like a drunken Power Ranger playing simultaneous slide guitar and kick drum as he sings sonically distorted songs about whiskey and strippers.

And shortly before Adkins’ death I came across recent CDs by two other Hasil-soaked one-man bands -- John Schooley (pictured here with Hasil himself) and Scott H. Biram.


Schooley’s CD, John Schooley & His One-Man Band is on Voodoo Rhythm, a Swiss rockabilly label. This means I had to do a little research. Voodoo Rhythm, after all is that same whacky company that perpetrated the Jerry J. Nixon hoax -- a CD of a rockabilly singer who purportedly recorded in Santa Fe in the early ‘60s.

But I’m pretty sure Schooley actually exists.

Birham’s The Dirty Old One-Man Band is on Bloodshot Records of Chicago, the home of “insurgent country.” The Bloodshot folks are smart enough not to get hung up on the fact that Biram is a lot closer to blues than country.

Here’s the rap on Biram: According to Paste Magazine, “Back in April 2003, Biram was rammed head-on by an 18-wheeler at 75 MPH, leaving him wheelchair bound with two broken legs, a broken foot, broken arm and a foot less of his lower intestine. But that sure as hell wasn’t going to stop him. Within a month he was back onstage at Austin, Texas’ Continental Club, rocking his hometown crowd with an I.V. jabbed in his arm.”

I think the Human Resources Department would refer to that as a “positive work attitude.”

Both CDs are boozy, lo-fi, noisy guitar-driven raunchy romps. Both men list Austin, Texas for a hometown. (Biram thanks someone named “Schooley” in his liner notes. I’m assuming it’s John.)

Each does a mix of his own songs along with covers of blues and country material.

Schooley covers Rufus Thomas’ “Tiger Man,” Howlin’ Wolf’s “KIllin’ Floor” and Jimmy Reed’s “Honest I Do” Biram does Lead Belly‘s “Black Betty,” and the old hillbilly favorite “Muleskinner Blues.”

To the naked ear, these one-man bands from Texas may sound somewhat alike.

One difference is that Schooley is more of an actual one-man band, which means he plays guitar and foot-pedal-operated percussion at the same time. Biram’s main percussion comes from amplifying his tapping foot, so the beat isn’t as strong as Schooley’s

But Birham’s CD is more diverse in sound. He occasionally skips the surly bonds of one-man-band convention with an actual back-up acoustic country group called The Weary Boys. In a couple of tunes he’s accompanied by a gaggle of background singers he’s dubbed Scott H. Biram’s First Church of the Ultimate Fanaticism.

He puts aside the train-wreck blues sound for a sweet country sound. One might think that after his run-in with that 18-wheeler, a song like “Wreck My Car” would be a cacophonous scream ride. Instead, it’s actually a rather pretty, heavy on the harmonica, that contains a sweet snatch of Bruce Channel’s “Hey Baby” at the end. And in “Sweet Thing,” a bluegrassy song, Biram even abandons his 4 a.m. ham-radio distorto voice to sing it clearly.

While both Biram or Schooley specialize in a sound suggesting wild abandon, and both can rock like madmen, neither have the crazy edge of their spiritual forefather, Mr. Adkins. In the weird subculture of one-man blues screamer bands, that one man still stands miles above anyone else.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

ROUNDHOUSE ROUND-UP: RACING WITH RICHARDSON

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 9, 2005


MANCHESTER, N.H. — New Mexicans upset by those reports a couple of years ago indicating Gov. Bill Richardson orders his state police drivers to go 100 mph on our roads shouldn’t feel alone.

According to one New England journalist, our governor does this in Nuevo Hampshire too.

On Wednesday morning, a freelance photographer from Cambridge, Mass., working for The New Mexican to document Richardson’s visit here this week, tried to follow the governor’s entourage from a public radio station in Concord, N.H., to a meeting in Portsmouth, N.H. “I tried to keep up, but I gave up at 95 mph,” Jodi Hilton said.

No, the New Hampshire police didn’t stop him. In fact, a New Hampshire State Police officer accompanied Team Richardson on his travels.

Richardson spokesman Billy Sparks denied the governor was going that fast. “I was in the car behind him, and we didn’t go over 70,” he said.

The Richardson Posse: Richardson, of course, didn’t go alone to New Hampshire. Traveling with him, according to Chief of Staff Dave Contarino, were four staffers and two state police officers assigned to the governor.

The Democratic Governors Association, which Richardson chairs, is paying for the travel — except the police, who are paid by the state. So far, there have been no audible objections from other Democratic governors — though that could change if any other D-guv jumps into the presidential race.

Keeping the trains on time: Also with Richardson was Michael J. Stratton, a political consultant from Littleton, Colo. Stratton has worked for the Carter and Clinton administrations and has managed campaigns of several Colorado Democrats, including last year’s successful U.S. Senate race by Ken Salazar. He’s now a consultant for the Democratic Governors Association.

“I do a lot of (Richardson’s) out-of-town appearances,” Stratton told me shortly before Richardson spoke at Tuesday’s New Hampshire Latino Summit luncheon. “We’re old friends. I’ve known him for about 30 years, since he first moved to New Mexico.”

Stratton, according to a March article in The Hill, a publication about Congress, is a new member of a Democratic National Committee’s commission studying possible changes to the strange process by which the political parties choose our presidential nominees. The publication noted that Stratton assembled a coalition of Democrats in eight Western states, including New Mexico, to petition the DNC to push for a Western regional primary.

Richardson repeatedly assured New Hampshire audiences, who are a little touchy about the subject, that he’s in favor of keeping the New Hampshire primary first.

Stratton was modest about his role in Richardson’s current trip. “I’m just an advance man,” he said. “I make the trains run on time.”

Another familiar face: Also popping up at several Richardson stops here was Walter “Butch” Maki, a Santa Fe businessman and lobbyist as well as a former staffer of Richardson’s when he served in Congress and a longtime associate.

Maki told me he was in New England helping set up a branch of his security business. Maki, a New Hampshire native who still owns land there, invited several relatives from the area to Richardson’s Politics and Eggs speech Tuesday.

Recycling jokes: When you hire joke writers for $12,000, you don’t just want to use a joke once and throw it away. One of Richardson’s best-received routines here is one where he explains in both English and Spanish his position on running for president. “No, I will not run for president,” he says in English. Then, switching to Spanish, he adds, “Seguro que sí, ¡voy a ser candidato!” (”Of course, I will be a candidate!”)

Luckily few people, if anyone, attending Tuesday’s New Hampshire Latino Summit had been at the annual Gridiron dinner in Washington, D.C., when he premiered the joke a couple of months ago.

Courting the I-man: Speaking of jokers, at a Wednesday breakfast for a group of French-American New Hampshirites, someone asked Richardson whether he would seek the support of national radio-personality Don Imus, who operates a ranch for children with terminal diseases in San Miguel County and also broadcasts some of his shows from there.

Richardson described his relationship with the acid-tongued broadcaster: “In the early days of our relationship, he made false allegations about me — that I was fat. I wondered why I should go on his show when he pillories me.” After Richardson appeared on Imus in the Morning, however, Imus wasn’t so rough on him, Richardson said.

Richardson, who is a frequent guest on countless national television-news shows, said he gets more comments from Imus listeners than from all the other shows. “People are always telling me, ‘I heard you on Imus,’ ” he said. “Or Imus was making fun of you, ha-ha.’ ”

STATE GOP ATTACKS GUV IN TWO STATES

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
April 9, 2005


MANCHESTER, N.H. — As Gov. Bill Richardson traveled around New Hampshire on Wednesday, making contacts and trying to build his name recognition for a possible presidential bid, New Mexico Republicans launched an ad campaign designed to embarrass him in two states.

The New Mexico Republican Party began airing radio spots in both New Hampshire and New Mexico criticizing Richardson for what they call his “extravagant lifestyle at taxpayer expense.”

The ad labels Richardson as a “high-class showboat” and compares him with entertainers P. Diddy and Britney Spears.

The attack apparently was inspired in part by news reports that the Richardson administration spent $5.5 million to buy a new jet airplane — though the 30-second commercial blasts him on other issues as well.

Marta Kramer, executive director of state Republican Party, said Wednesday, “When people heard about this plane, our phones were ringing off the hook.”

A Richardson spokesman issued a statement denouncing the ads. “This is a desperate, pathetic, partisan attack filled with lies and complete fabrications, and about what you would expect from a party that lacks leadership and any real ideas for moving New Mexico forward,” Gilbert Gallegos wrote.

A GOP news release said the ad campaign — called “Operation High Roller” — will run statewide in New Mexico for at least the next week and that the ads aired Wednesday on three New Hampshire stations. The New Hampshire ads, the announcement said, are “designed to coincide with Richardson’s pursuit of the Democratic nomination for President.”

Richardson has told several New Hampshire audiences this week that he is keeping his options open for 2008. He has repeatedly said his main focus is getting re-elected governor in 2006.

Political experts in New Hampshire and Washington, D.C., have said this week’s trip to New Hampshire appears to be a “testing of the waters” for Richardson.

Kramer declined to say how much her party had spent on the ads or what stations would be airing them. But the party released this transcript of the ad:

It’s the lifestyles of the rich and famous ... who is this high-class showboat?
$5.5 million for a brand new jet airplane ...
Three personal chefs ...
Travels with a large entourage of body guards and staff to places like Europe and Las Vegas ...
Gets front-row seats to all the best events ... and isn’t bothered by speed limits ...
Is it P-Diddy? (Britney) Spears?
No ... it’s Gov. Bill Richardson ...
And how does Gov. Richardson pay for it all ... he doesn’t — you do ...
That’s why Bill Richardson has raised taxes by 740 million dollars ... and raided our children’s permanent fund ...
And the most creative way to keep the money rolling in? Bill Richardson taxes the elderly in nursing homes at $9 a day ... that’s over $3,000 a year for every patient ...
Nursing-home patients may have to dig deep to pay the tab ... But Governor Richardson just wouldn’t be the same without his 5 million dollar jet.
Announcer: Call Gov. Richardson at 827-3000 ... tell him to stop living the rich and famous lifestyle ... on the backs of New Mexico taxpayers.


The controversial jet is a 2005 Cessna Citation Bravo, which can carry eight passengers and two pilots at a speed of 463 mph. Delivery is expected in August.

Speaking to reporters before hearing the news about the Republicans radio ads, Richardson defended the purchase of the plane, saying Republican critics were “just playing politics.”

“Every Republican in the Legislature voted for the plane,” he said.

Richardson said he’s not the only state official who will be using the plane. “A lot of people will benefit from it,” he said, adding that the governor’s office will only use it 7 percent of the time.

Gallegos said the Department of Transportation uses state aircraft the most at 28 percent of the time, followed by the School for the Visually Handicapped at 20 percent; the Department of Health Children Medical Services uses state planes 9 percent of the time.

The new jet will replace a “39-year-old, unsafe plane,” Gallegos said.

Gallegos’ news release challenges most the points of the Republican ad.

He said the Governor’s mansion staff employs only one chef.

He noted that Richardson has successfully pushed for personal income-tax cuts as well as ending gross-receipts taxes on food. Republicans argue that these tax cuts have been more than offset by increases in taxes and fees in other areas, including various taxes on the trucking industry, a huge raise in cigarette taxes and other increases.

He argued that Richardson rarely takes a state plane on his out-of-state trips and that most of Richardson’s travels are within the state.

NEW FANS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

As published in The The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 9, 2005


MANCHESTER, N.H. — Gov. Bill Richardson’s two-day trip to New Hampshire, which included an overstuffed schedule of speaking engagements, interviews and news conferences, won him praise from many who heard him.

A typical comment came from Eric Drouart, a professor of business administration who heard a Wednesday breakfast speech by the New Mexico Democrat.

“I was impressed by his bipartisan approach to solving the problems of education and security,” Drouart said. “And he was very funny.”

Richardson, who claimed his trip officially had nothing to do with any presidential ambitions, told anyone who asked that he is keeping his options open for the 2008 race. New Hampshire traditionally holds the first presidential primary in the election cycle.

Most of those interviewed seemed to assume that Richardson is running for president. At a Tuesday breakfast event, when Richardson said “I’m not running for anything,” a woman in the audience laughed and said “Sure.”

Many praised Richardson for his sense of humor. “I like the fact he is self-deprecating,” said Chris Williams, vice president of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, who was part of a small audience Wednesday at a breakfast for leaders in the local Franco-American community.

In that talk, Richardson poked fun at his girth and laughed at his attempt to speak French. (Though Richardson said he minored in French in college, his command of that language is far less impressive than his Spanish.)

He also made frequent jokes about his real intentions for 2008.

“I’m not asking you for anything. ... Yet,” he told the Franco-Americans.

Many praised Richardson’s knowledge of issues. “He spent a good deal of time talking about education,” said Jim Brett, president of the New England Council, a business group that sponsored Tuesday’s Politics and Eggs breakfast.

Karina Mera, who heard Richardson at a luncheon for the New Hampshire Latino Summit on Tuesday, said it’s good for young Hispanics to see an example of a successful Hispanic like Richardson. “I really hope he runs for president,” she said.

New Hampshire reporters and radio interviewers who talked to Richardson seemed to be interested in two major topics — the governor’s opinion of recent comments by Democratic National chairman Howard Dean and two small-town New Hampshire police chiefs who recently began arresting undocumented Mexican immigrants on charges of trespassing.

On Dean, Richardson said he stands behind the chairman, though he said Dean made a mistake with his recent controversial remarks about Republicans.

On the police chiefs, Richardson said he didn’t think they should make such arrests, but said he sympathizes with them, saying the situation is the result of a failed federal immigration policy.

One Republican who heard Richardson on Wednesday said she found Richardson charming and full of common sense.

But Georgi Laurin Hippauf, a former vice chair of the New Hampshire GOP, predicted Richardson would not end up on the top of the Democratic ticket.

“If Hillary (Clinton) runs, I can see Gov. Richardson as being the perfect geographical match,” Hippauf said. “She’s from the East and he’s from the West. And he emulates a warmth she doesn’t necessarily have. If I were running the Democratic campaign, that would be my strategy.”

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

RICHARDSON: THE NEW HAMPSHIRE RITUAL

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
April 8, 2005



MANCHESTER, N.H. — Many of the New Hampshire political veterans who came to hear Gov. Bill Richardson on Tuesday at a “Politics and Eggs” breakfast and at the 2005 New Hampshire Latino Summit assume Richardson’s trip here this week is a classic testing of the waters.

They have no doubt the New Mexico Democrat’s grueling schedule of speeches, interviews, fundraisers and private meetings with party honchos is part of the same ritual that scores of other would-be presidents have gone through.

At a news conference, Richardson remained officially noncommittal about his intentions in New Hampshire, traditional site of the nation’s earliest presidential primary: “I haven’t ruled anything out.”

On other occasions, he joked about presidential ambitions. He said he is too busy with local issues to run for president. “Like the new snowmobile trail in Dixville Notch,” he quipped, referring to a New Hampshire state park.

It’s an election process that starts so early that most average citizens here — people who work in stores and restaurants — don’t seem to know or care about the politicians making “Hey, look me over” trips through their communities.

“No one’s going to declare their candidacies until after the midterm elections,” observed Michael Chaney, president and CEO of the New Hampshire Political Library, an organization dedicated to preserving the history of the New Hampshire presidential primary. “But it does not hurt to come up here and make friends with political leaders.”

James Pindell, managing editor of a Web site called politicsNH.com, said of Richardson: “He’s the third Democrat to come up so far. His agenda is to be mentioned as many times as possible as a potential candidate.”

State Senate Deputy Minority Leader Lou D’Allesandro said the 2008 primary clearly has started already. “I was with (U.S. Sen.) Joe Biden (a Democrat from Delaware) last night,” he said. “I helped Gov. Richardson set up his schedule.”

D’Allesandro, who supported former U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina in the 2004 primary, said he would be inclined to support Edwards again if he runs. But he said Richardson is making the right moves in New Hampshire.

“The person who wins is the person who connects,” he said in an interview at his state Capitol office in Concord. “If he comes and he connects and people see him and want more Bill Richardson, he’ll get momentum. These visits are in that category.”

A sense of state boosterism about the New Hampshire primary is one area in which Democrats and Republicans share the same view. Warren Henderson, state chairman of the New Hampshire Republican party, said Tuesday that early — and frequent — visits by national candidates are good for the people of New Hampshire. “I don’t know about the Democrats,” he said, “but Republicans ask over and over for national politicians to come visit. It helps us raise money and draw crowds.”

In an interview at his office across the street from the Capitol, Henderson said the New Hampshire primary is an opportunity for candidates to not only promote themselves, but to promote issues they care about. “In Washington, there are only four or five issues they talk about,” he said. “But when you come to a place where politics is always in season, you can make your issue part of the national debate.”

Richardson got belly laughs from politicians and business leaders Tuesday when he joked about the New Hampshire primary’s traditional first-in-the-nation status.

“Being from New Mexico, I believe very strongly in a Western primary,” he said. People from the West should have a say in who is chosen for president, he said. “The people of Keene should have the same right as the people of Manchester.”

(For those unfamiliar with Granite State geography, Keene is in the western part of the state, Manchester in the east.)

Later in the speech, Richardson went back to the subject, saying despite his support for an early Western-state primary, New Hampshire should remain the first primary in the presidential-selection process.

“Besides the fact that it’s your birthright,” he said, “you are the grass-roots state.”

Reassuring people in New Hampshire that he does not want to usurp their first-primary status was a good move on Richardson’s part, several political observers agreed.

New Hampshire voters are protective about their primary — which by state law must be held before any other state’s presidential primary.

Both Democrats and Republicans here seem to think this status is under siege. The national Democratic Party has a commission studying various plans to restructure the primary process.

Richardson and other Western governors have for more than a year been talking about an early Western presidential primary.

“The advocacy of an early Western primary won’t hurt as long as it’s after (New Hampshire’s),” Linda Fowler, a political-science professor at Dartmouth College, said in an e-mail last week. “Otherwise, the hostility will be pretty thick.”

The New Hampshire primary dates to 1916, when it was one of three states to conduct a primary to elect delegates to party conventions. For many years, the state selected uncommitted delegates to the conventions and didn’t vote directly for candidates. That changed here in 1952, a year when Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower proved he could win votes by defeating Republican Party favorite U.S. Sen. Robert Taft in the GOP presidential primary and U.S. Sen. Estes Kefauver upset President Harry Truman in Democratic Party voting.

Unlike New Mexico, where the state pays for primaries in which only major-party voters can participate, New Hampshire allows independent voters to cast ballots in either the Democratic or Republican primaries. More than 40 percent of voters here are registered as independents.

Although Richardson trails far behind in a recent New Hampshire poll, many state residents feel he would have a decent shot.

Westerners like Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Democrat Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado have emerged victorious in New Hampshire — at the expense of the perceived front-runner.

And one little quirk about New Hampshire: Due to the intense news-media and political-professional-class analyses of the primary and “horse-race” coverage, you don’t actually have to come in first in order to “win” the primary.

Ask Democrat George McGovern, who came in behind front-runner Edmund Muskie in 1972, or Bill Clinton, who came in 8 percentage points behind U.S. Sen. Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts in 1992.

Most New Hampshire residents interviewed said they expect to see a lot more of Richardson in the next two and a half years. And the governor did nothing to dispel such talk. Concluding his speech at the Latino Summit luncheon, Richardson said, “See you soon.”

The early polls:

A recent poll by The Survey Center at the University of New Hampshire indicates New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has a long way to go to win the New Hampshire primary.

In April, pollsters read a list of potential Democratic candidates and asked 178 voters which ones they would support if the election were held now. Richardson’s numbers were in single digits — a distant fifth behind better-known potential candidates.

Smith said it’s not surprising Richardson scores so low in New Hampshire at this point — about two and a half years before the next presidential primary.

Several New Hampshire political observers have noted that Granite State voters sometimes back candidates initially seen as long shots.

On the Republican side, a Smith poll of 195 voters showed former New York Mayor Rudolph Guiliani in the early lead with 29 percent, followed by Arizona Sen. John McCain with 25 percent. Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was a distant third with 9 percent.

THIS BLOG's ON VACATION

And so am I.  Therefore Wacky Wednesday and Throwback Thursday won't be appearing here this week or next. I have a Terrell...