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Game of Thrones for Noobs XII

Season VI, Episode II: Home

Pop CultureMonday, May 2, 2016 by Alex De Vore

The Story Thus Far (Heavy Spoilers!)
In last week’s episode, we learned that everyone either needed to die or had already died last season. Even worse, we came super-close to having an entire Game of Thrones without boobs. Considering that’s just about the only thing that makes this show truly worth watching, you’d think the show-runners would be more careful. There were face stabbings and Jon Snow corpse sightings along with witches who aren’t actually young, blind Starks, more weak-willed women (so sick of this shit) and a lot of jumping around to different parts of the land to see what everyone was up to. Brienne finally caught up with Sansa and swore fealty, Tyrion learned that he was gonna be stuck in Meereen whether he liked it or not, Daenerys told the Dothraki to watch the fuck out—in their native tongue, no less—and Jamie/Cersei reunited presumably to bang one another into the annals of fucking disgusting history. 

The Gist
Exterior, night, a swamp. We pan over a couple of jackasses who lack pupils in their eyes because that young male Stark kid is getting a Christmas Carol-esque look into his family’s past, courtesy of Max von Sydow. In this vision, that dude Hodor speaks with actual words while everyone is all like, “Wow, this dude is huge!” Who the hell is this guy? We smash-cut back to the swamp while von Sydow is like, “I’m more tree than man now!” and Hodor just keeps saying his name like some kind of bullshit second-string Pokemon. Ugh. How are new people supposed to get psyched on this? Anyway, the Stark boy suddenly appears in the snow to tell some girl I’ve never seen that Hodor was actually called Wylis. Some wood nymph appears to tell the girl that she’s gotta do more than stare over icy precipices at sunsets, and the girl’s like, “Yeah, maybe.”

Over on the Wall, Jon Snow’s friends still don’t believe the Night’s Watch is just gonna let them walk away alive, because these Watch jerks really hate Snow big time, so everyone starts drawing swords while Snow's killers begin smashing down the door like a bunch of idiots. Don’t they know Snow’s pals have that albino wolf on their side?

 Nothing much comes of it, though, because that giant from before busts all up in there with those Braveheart-looking motherfuckers themselves, the Wildlings. Can anyone around here ever get two goddamn seconds to chill out and maybe have a snack? The Wildlings don’t really kill anyone, but they do put these two guys I don’t recognize into jail, and we slowly pan over Snow’s totally brutal sword wounds. Kit Harington at this point knows exactly what it must be like to play one of those soap opera coma victims.

Back in, uh, that one town where Cersei and Jamie live, some homeless dude joins me in being grossed out by the Lannister incest thing. This was a bad idea, though, because some massive knight gives him a good old-fashioned head-smash-into-a-wall-so-hard-his-brains-come-out-ing. Oh! This is that guy from last season who was told to watch out for Cersei. Whoever assigned this guy to Cersei should have told him to pick his battles cause, like, if he’s smashing the heads of everyone who thinks she’s gross, he’s not gonna have time for much else. 

Cersei tries to go to her incest monster of a daughter’s funeral, but her son (who is also the king now, don’t forget) sends the cops to her house to tell her she can’t come. Meanwhile in the funeral home, Jamie “God of Egypt” Lannister asks the kid why he wouldn’t let Cersei come to see her daughter’s corpse, and he’s like, “Because I’m weak, man! Shit!” 

The leader of homeless guys, who you may recall imprisoned Cersei and Margaery and who wears a nightshirt at all times, shows up and starts yapping about his list of fears. Jamie kind of threatens him, but the guy has his goons swarm in and makes a speech about how if poor people rise up they can really mess up peoples’ lives. While this goes down, Cersei just sulks on some balcony overlooking the city, and her kid is like, “A-boo-hoo-hoo! Help me be strong!”

Back in Meereen, Tyrion tells some poor castrati that dudes without dicks oughtta drink all the time and learns that dragons won’t really eat anything when their mom isn't home. He tells Dragon Tits’ servants that they should still feed those fools or they’re gonna have a bunch of cat-sized dragons hangin’ around. As such, he decides he’s gonna force-feed them lizards himself. And so, in the basement of the castle, he goes to meet the dragons, which seems dumb to me since he knows they’re hungry. 

Anyway, he tells one of them all about his birthday party when he was a kid, and this does seem to calm the winged beast. They hug for a sec, and he sets it free while the other dragon sneaks its way up like some kind of clever raptor. He frees that one, too, and then gets the hell out. Now, you might think this means we get to see a bunch of people getting melted by dragons, but we sure don't. 

Instead, we jump over to see what’s up with blind-ass Arya Stark. Boo! Arya is still getting beaten up by that jerk-ass girl from the House of Black and White almost daily, while I’m just wondering why Denzel could do it blind in Book of Eli and Arya can’t even avoid getting her face beaten in. But wait! Oh shit! It’s that faceless wizard guy from last season, and he’s not dead at all, and he’s just been testing her this whole time! Zam! He kind of alludes to maybe giving her the gift of sight back, but like almost every scene ever, it cuts away after about three seconds.

Back at Ramsay Bolton’s house, plans are being made to do something that isn’t clear. I think they want to fight the Watch or something. Ramsay’s mom gives birth off screen while this happens, and Daddy is like, “You’ll always be my firstborn.” And Ramsay is like, “Yeah, no shit—that’s how chronological order works!” as he stabs his dad in the gut like some kind of maniac. 

Yeah, this role is probably super-fun for the actor (who was in the excellent Hulu show Misfits), but it’s actually growing a little tedious to wonder what bonkers shit he’s gonna do next. I mean, shit, what's even left? Fuck Ramsay Bolton, actually. He’s a dick. Well, but I guess he's still a dick in charge of Winterfell. He takes a post-Oedipal-murder stroll through the snow to meet up with the Bolton family doula, who's got his new baby brother, and it’s pretty tense because this dude is nuts! But he wouldn’t kill a baby, right? Oh God, get that fucking baby away from this dude! 

Thankfully, he gives the baby back and is like, "Come check out the dogs with me in the scary dog kennels." They do, and right away he lets a bunch of the dogs out while the girl is, like, freaking out and—holy shit! He killed that girl and that baby! Dude, enough now, show-runners! You've seriously just about desensitized us to the concept of baby murder.

Meanwhile, in the snowy woods nearby, Sansa and Brienne are hanging around with that young squire guy and Theon/Reek. These suckers think Snow is still alive, but they’re in for some serious bummer-ass news, huh? Reek whines about making up for his past transgressions and cries for some reason. Sansa is also sad, which does make one wonder who the hell’s side is any person on at any point, and why we’re supposed to care about Theon. Or anyone. But mostly Theon.

While that weird discussion plays out, we join an already-in-progress convo between some long-haired dude I’ve never seen and his daughter. He jibber-jabbers about what it means to be awesome at naval combat but still wants to own land, but he should probably read Tolstoy’s How Much Land Does a Man Need (we all should) because it’s much better than Game of Thrones and far less absurd. He winds up on some rickety-ass rope bridge with some guy he used to know, the practicality of which—especially in a windswept seaside zone where it rains all the time—is not even really up for debate because it’s just that stupid. They blah blah blah on the bridge awhile, and the long-haired hippie is thrown off the thing. Seriously, they never should have built that stupid bridge. It’s cute, however, that these seaside people have all kinds of ocean-based rituals and religious ideologies. One does have to wonder why they think that leaving a maritime-themed coffin in the sea well before the breakers will end up with anything other than the damn thing coming back.

Across the land, that one witch who’s actually old is asked by Snow’s buddy about Snow coming back to life. I knew it! I knew they were gonna bring this turkey back to life. She’s hesitant, though, and explains how no man should have domain over whatever exists beyond the veil of death. She ain't wrong, but all the same, it’s a good thing it’s so cold on the Wall, because Snow’s body has not yet begun to rot. Huzzah! The ritual involves a haircut and beard trim and the burning of the clippings. Despite how this would surely smell, she just keeps on a-cutting and giving him a nice shampoo and speaking in foreign tongues. Everyone stands around watching and feeling hopeful, but it doesn’t seem to pan out. 

And then, of course, it fucking does. Snow is alive again, surprising exactly no one. Smash-cut to credits.

The Pros:
Snow came back to life. End of list.

The Cons:
Oh. My. God! Seriously, it’s impossible to care about any of these people. Except for Snow, of course.

The Grade: D
Season 6 keeps on being boring as hell and cutting all over the place too much. The slow rate at which we’re given answers is infuriating, especially for a show with 10-episode seasons. As in, couldn’t they let more things happen? Are they just running on fumes because they’re out of Martin material? There’s also that ultimate issue that there is zero accessibility for newcomers. I watched all of last season and still don’t know what the fuck. Throw in gratuitous baby murders that seem to exist simply for shock value, which is growing all the more tedious in how one-note they're makin' this guy, and pretty much all that can be said is, “Why is everyone so whiny around here?” 

There’s a fine line between drama and melodrama, and Game of Thrones seems to be coming ever closer to blurring that line in ridiculous ways. Plus, there was almost no dragon action, no nudity and only a few non-babies wound up dead. Lame.




Morning Word: Justices Review Courtroom Closure Procedures

Morning WordMonday, May 2, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr
Constitutional Challenges
Maggie Shepard at the Albuquerque Journal reports the New Mexico Supreme Court is considering when and how to close a courtroom during a public trial. It’s a risky proposition. If witnesses refuse to testify because they’re afraid, prosecutors could have to drop cases. If judges keep the public out, convictions could be reversed on appeal.  

Pot Audits Questioned
Investigators at the state auditor’s office want the health department and Professional Accountancy Board to determine if some state-mandated medical cannabis audits, which were completed by a CPA who also operates her own dispensary, are truly independent.

Procurement Study
On Friday, State Auditor Tim Keller announced his office will study the state’s procurement process and determine if the right procedures are being utilized at the Department of Finance and Administration, the General Services Department and the Department of Information Technology.
The study will focus on a variety of aspects of state purchasing such as sole-source purchases, emergency purchases, bid-tailoring, and in-state business, small business and veteran’s preferences.
‘Pull Together’
KOB reports that Children, Youth and Families Department officials are launching their “Pull Together” television campaign featuring UFC fighter Carlos Condit today. The goal: Get more parents involved in fighting child abuse. But some see it as just a slick way to rebrand the troubled agency.

Medical Treatment Helps Addicts
On Sunday, ABQ Journal reporter Olivier Uyttebrouck had a long story on the impact of opiate use disorder in communities around the state and how the use of methadone, naltrexone and buprenorphene (Suboxone) can help to treat people struggling with addiction.

River Contamination Lingers
It’s been eight months since the Gold King mine spill, but state officials say the Animas River is still contaminated. 

Legal Eagle
One of the immigrant students we reported on in Rising Stars last spring has graduated from UNM law school, passed the bar and been sworn in as a lawyer.

Left Out
Sadly, some migrants are being left out of school altogether. In 14 states, the Associated Press reports, unaccompanied minors from Central America have been “discouraged from enrolling in schools or pressured into what advocates and attorneys argue are separate but unequal alternative programs — essentially an academic dead end, and one that can violate federal law.”

‘Obama Out’
President Barack Obama received a standing ovation after his last speech to the White House Press Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday. NPR reports, “Known for his comedic timing and one-liner delivery, Obama didn't disappoint.” If you missed it, you can watch it on YouTube here.

Cannabis Audits Questioned

Licensed grower conducts nearly half of all producers' annual audits

Local NewsSunday, May 1, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr
Is it OK for a person who holds a state license to grow cannabis to also perform audits of other cannabis producers and to get paid for the work in pot?  

Acting on a tip phoned in to a hotline earlier this year, investigators at the Office of the State Auditor are asking the New Mexico Health Department to answer that question about a certified public accountant who performed nearly half of the required audits for the Medical Cannabis program in 2014. Yet Vivian Moore claims there's nothing wrong with her “side business.”  

Two letters obtained by SFR show that on April 18, Kevin Sourisseau, the director of special investigations for State Auditor Tim Keller, mailed this letter to then-Deputy Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher, suggesting that Moore “may not be independent” and questioning the exchange of cannabis product with her Mother Earth Organics dispensary in Las Cruces.

“If the allegations are true, there are likely material independence issues if Ms. Moore conducts audits for any of the medical cannabis producers,” writes Sourisseau. 

Kenny Vigil, a spokesman for the health department, confirmed last week that Moore has been doing audit work for cannabis producers since 2013. In 2014, according to regulators, Moore completed 10 of the 23 audits, or nearly 45 percent of all audits submitted to the department by growers.

Sourisseau contends there may also be tax consequences for the exchange of cannabis with Moore’s dispensary, Mother Earth Organics in Las Cruces, and expressed concerns about the in-kind payments, because they are “inherently difficult to value monetarily and thus create tax liability ambiguity.”

After initial fact-finding determined private CPA issues are outside the purview of the state auditor’s office, Sourisseau also referred the “potential independence issues” to Jeannette Contreras, the executive director of the Public Accountancy Board, to review.

Meanwhile, Gallagher, who Gov. Susana Martinez appointed to replace Retta Ward as health secretary last week, is still reviewing Sourisseau’s letter and hasn’t publicly commented on the issue.

But Moore tells SFR there is no conflict of interest, “or I wouldn’t have been allowed to perform them in the first place.”

“Just because someone thinks there is one doesn’t make it so,” Moore writes in a text message while she's traveling out of state. She claims that she completes at least four hours of ethics training every two years and has safeguards in place “to ensure there is no impairment in my independence.”

According to Moore, the transfer of cannabis doesn’t mean the audits themselves are not independent. She says she doesn’t provide her clients managerial advice and disputes the idea other growers or nonprofit managers have influence over the audit outcomes. 

“My professional license is too important to me for a $5,000 fee,” she writes in an email to SFR. “I would resign from an engagement before I would succumb to undo influence or pressure.”

Moore also claims all the cannabis transfers have been documented with the health department and that she has paid all of her taxes.

Moore, who also serves as the treasurer of the Cannabis Producers of New Mexico, says as an “industry insider” she is uniquely qualified to do the required audit work, which other CPAs have been reluctant to do in the past.

For example, in 2010, when the New Mexico Department of Health originally mandated the grower audits, the accountancy board, aware of conflicts with federal drug laws, declined to issue a letter permitting CPAs to conduct them. Instead, the board recommended auditors seek independent legal advice and that the Department of Health remove the audit requirement until “such time that federal and state laws regarding medical cannabis do not conflict with one another.”

Since then, producers who don’t use Moore say they’ve found some CPAs willing to do the audits and that her total fees are similar to what other auditors are charging. Still, some producers say they don’t believe Moore should be doing the audits.

“I think a reasonable person would say there is at least an appearance of a conflict of interest,” says one new producer, who didn’t want to be identified. “When we finish our first year in business, we’ll definitely contract with someone who isn’t also licensed to grow cannabis. There should be at least an arm's length distance with these audits.”

SFR has requested to review all the audits submitted to the health department by Moore and other CPAs but did not receive them in time for this story.

This Weekend

In 3-D!

Weekend PicksFriday, April 29, 2016 by SFR

Outdoor Vision Fest 2016

SFUAD presents the sixth annual Outdoor Vision Fest, which features environmental projections and outdoor art installations of design, animation, full-motion video, video mapping, motion graphics and interactive multimedia exhibitions created by the school’s talented students. It sounds like it’ll be trippy (See SFR Picks).

More Info >>

Santa Fe Komedy Klub: Camille Solari

Davyd Roseman and MC David Montoya welcome this very funny lady from Hollywood, where all dreams come true.

More Info >>

Lindy Vision 3-D

They may be inspired by '80s new wave, but Lindy Vision (comprised of three sisters from Albuquerque) looks toward the future, with beats so sick you're like, "Woah!" This show also features performances from Summon, Suede School, Thieves & Gypsys and more.

More Info >>

Independent Bookstore Day

Your favorite downtown bookseller celebrates Independent Bookstore Day with special deals, special items and special people (that's all you guys) (See SFR Picks).

More Info >>

Civil War Re-Enactment

Hear period music and learn about hysterical, er, historical events from before New Mexico was New Mexico.

More Info >>

Postcommodity: A Very Long Line

The arts collective used video to explore an Indigenous perspective on the imposed restriction on ancient routes of travel and trade.

More Info >>

BitterSweet: A Fruitful Circus

Pre-pros (that's pre-professionals, to those not in the know) plus youth and adult students from the best damn local circus company around (See SFR Picks).

More Info >>

Lowriders, Hoppers and Hot Rods: Car Culture of Northern New Mexico

Car culture reigns supreme in New Mexico, and this show is all about the lowest, baddest rides around. Cars in the lobby and a looped screening of South American Cho Low top off this norteño afternoon.

More Info >>

Transcendental Rhythm: Yoga of Drumming

Learn the beauty and power of hand drumming through the perspective of yoga and meditation.

More Info >>

Get more information about how to spend your fun days when you sign up for the SFR Weekend newsletter, delivered to your inbox each Friday afternoon.

Morning Word: LANL Reassures Local Leaders with Job Plans

Morning WordFriday, April 29, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr
Labs Plans to Hire Thousands
The Los Alamos Monitor reports the head of the Los Alamos National Laboratory is assuring Santa Fe leaders that the lab will remain a strong force in the region, as it looks to hire about 2,400 people, including 600 to 700 scientists, 400 support technicians and 1,400 people to fill jobs in its business services and operations sectors, over the next four years.

“Multiple state employees alleged that the Human Services Department instructed them to falsify numbers on federal food stamp applications in explosive testimonies in federal court in Albuquerque,” reports Joey Peters.
Jeannette Roybal ... processes Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, applications in Las Cruces. She testified that her supervisor told her in January to inflate the assets of a SNAP applicant so the application would be considered non-expeditable.
EPA Reimburses States
The Associated Press reports, “The Environmental Protection Agency says it's reimbursing states, tribes and local governments about $1 million for their costs after the agency accidentally triggered a spill from a Colorado mine.” Meanwhile, KRQE’s Justin Cox reports that after testing the water and soil, Navajo Nation officials have decided to reopen irrigation canals.

Deadly Gang Plot
Colleen Heild has the latest on a violent prison gang’s plot to kill correction officials, including Secretary Gregg Marcantel.

Health Science Center in Jeopardy
“There is no sign the political wrangling will end anytime soon over a vote by a majority of University of New Mexico regents to change the governing structure of the Health Sciences Center,” according to Chris Quintana. He reports that four Democrat senators accuse “four regents who voted for the restructuring of jeopardizing the future of the UNM Hospital and medical programs.”

Bathroom Talk
SFR’s Maria Egolf-Romero reports that a group named All Families Matter New Mexico “started a public awareness campaign to urge more compliance with the Santa Fe's gender-neutral bathroom law. The group is urging residents to add the names of local businesses breaking the gender-neutral rule to its Facebook page.”

Airline Apologizes to Violinist
Okay, this is ridiculous, but an American Airlines pilot blocked a musician from carrying her 1742 Joseph Guarneri “del Gesu” violin, worth millions, onboard a flight from Chicago to Albuquerque. Rachel Barton Pine refused to check the instrument into the luggage compartment and caught a later flight. The airline has apologized, and Pine is set to perform with the New Mexico Philharmonic on Saturday.

Straw Poll
Heath Haussamen has set up a presidential straw poll at It will be interesting to see who comes out on top in New Mexico, since so little polling has been done here. 

Daniels Supports Reforms
New Mexico Chief Justice Charles Daniels doesn’t like the “money for freedom” approach to bail. Dennis Domrzalski reports why the justice is supporting systemic bail reform.

Cash is King
KOB’s morning news producer “cleaned house” on the Wheel of Fortune game show on Thursday. He says he’ll use some of the $117,550 to pay off student debt and to help his father pay off some medical bills.

Bathroom Talk

Compliance with Santa Fe's gender-neutral bathroom rules is slow going

Local NewsThursday, April 28, 2016 by Maria Egolf-Romero

Symbols help us find our way around. They are shorthand for “Hey! This thing you need is right here!” Like a public restroom. We all know the white stick figure emblem painted on cobalt blue plastic that marks the spot.

For eons, this white figure donned two outfits: pants or an A-line dress to designate the restroom as men’s or women’s. Cultural evolution of gender identity led to a third bathroom option, a gender-neutral one, and a new outfit for the white restroom figure. 

North Carolina recently mandated that its citizens use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate. The new law electrified the issue, and celebrities from Bruce Springsteen to Joe Jonas have cancelled appearances in the Tar Heel State as protests erupted and the country divides over bathroom-monitoring antics.

Santa Fe took a stance on who can go where last June, when the City Council passed an ordinance stating that all public single-occupancy restrooms must be gender-neutral. But this week, SFR found several single-occupancy restrooms still with gender-specific signs.

And we’re not the only ones. On Wednesday, a group calling itself All Families Matter New Mexico started a public awareness campaign to urge more compliance with the Santa Fe law. The group is urging residents to add the names of local businesses breaking the gender-neutral rule to its Facebook page.

Jenn Jevertson, coalition coordinator, tells SFR the ordinance is beneficial to more than just the transgender community. “One of the reasons that it’s needed, is that often times transgender folks don’t feel safe and comfortable using the restroom,” Jevertson says, “but it has a broader positive impact for everyone in Santa Fe. It helps the daughter who needs to help her elderly father in the restroom. It helps the mother with a disabled son.”

Even though the city ordinance sets up fines for violating the rule, Jevertson says her group isn’t asking for that kind of punishment now. “It’s about providing information and helping businesses make the changes, one, because it’s required, but two, because it’s the right thing to do,” she says.

Community members can print flyers from the campaign’s Facebook page, which provides information about the ordinance and how to be in compliance with it. Jevertson says the campaign has already helped some businesses get with the times.

“Betterday Coffee Shop is a great example,” she says. “Recently, they still had the bathrooms labeled as male and female, and I know a few of our community members dropped off flyers and talked to them about it, and last time I was in there, I noticed the bathrooms were marked as gender neutral.”

A spot check of businesses around the city shows compliance is slow.

La Montañita Co-op has two public single-occupancy restrooms. On SFR’s first visit to the Co-op on Tuesday afternoon, one restroom had the familiar women's emblem posted on its door. The other restroom was signless, a detail Will Prokopiak, who has managed La Montañita Co-op for 10 years, was unaware of when SFR spoke with him.  

During a visit to the Co-op later in the week, new signs had appeared—typed, printed and posted on the bathroom doors. “We have non-gender specific bathrooms because sometime gender specific toilets put others in uncomfortable situations,” the letter on the restroom door reads.  

The Allsup’s at the intersection of Cerrillos Road and Paseo de Peralta has two single-occupancy bathrooms, both of which have gender-specific signs. An employee at the location did not want her name published but told SFR that she hasn’t heard of any plans to change the signs on their restrooms. She also said Allsup's hasn't received any complaints about the restrooms' gender-specific status.

Target has been in hot water as of late over its open-minded bathroom policy, which allows customers to use the restroom of the gender they identify with. Katie Montano, a manager at the Santa Fe location who has worked for Target for seven months, says restroom rules are up to the discretion of Target employees and “common sense. If we think it would make others uncomfortable, then we don’t allow it,” she says. Montano says that larger Target locations have family restrooms, which are gender-neutral.

Santa Fe Community College has four single-occupancy, gender-neutral restrooms. Emily Stern, head of the Center for Diversity and Integrated Learning at the college, says the gender-neutral signs have been posted on campus since 2011. Stern tells SFR the welcoming bathroom movement was spearheaded by two teachers in response to student concerns.


“It’s really terrifying,”  Stern says, “to be a minority of any kind.”

Mother Tongue | The Deciders

The way we talk to people shows we respect them

Mother TongueThursday, April 28, 2016 by Lauren Whitehurst

Sylvia would not leave her kindergarten playground. I’d given her two warnings and explained that we needed to pick up her brother and a friend in time for art class. “It’s time, Sylvia. We have to go.” She dug in her heels—or, rather, her hands, since she was on the monkey bars. Aiming for efficiency and efficacy, I ducked under her, caught her hips on my shoulder, pried her fingers from the bars and carried her away.

“You have to mind me when we’re meeting people and have to be somewhere,” I said. This “minding”—I invoke it holding hands for safety when we cross streets, and when we have to get out the door to school. I couch it in reason, however exhausted that leaves all of us, and it positions my husband and me as clear authorities. Is “clear” the same as “unquestionable”? I don’t think so, which may be why it’s proven difficult to define “talking back” to 8-year-old Theo.

We want him to ask questions and challenge us when he doesn’t agree. We also want him to respect his family, teachers and peers. The way we talk to people shows we respect them. The way we discuss rules—and why they’re important to families, classrooms and communities—is also about respecting each other, even in disagreement.

“It starts at home,” is how my sister puts it. “How we talk to all people starts with how we talk to each other at home.” She’s expressing a line of political science research that’s recently come to the fore. 

American politics and media are dizzy with the ascendancy of Donald Trump to GOP front-runner. His popularity befuddles everyone except his ardent supporters, who prompt applause, political angling, sociological evaluation, consternation and/or terror, depending on where you’re coming from.

It turns out that Trump supporters are also reflections of—and, I’d argue, cause for reflecting on—parenting.

I would not be writing about politics and parenting—topics that are plenty polarizing on their own—if I hadn’t come across an article in the news outlet Vox called “The Rise of American Authoritarianism.” The article pegs a trait common to Trump voters, who otherwise span all measure of education, gender, age, religiosity, income and geography: Authoritarianism.

It seems that a simple set of questions about parenting can determine whether a person is inclined this way.

Authoritarianism as a political system promotes tough central leadership and circumscribed civil liberties, but the study of it leans to the psychology of authoritarian people. Since WWII, it has been a focus for psychologists and political scientists. In these fields, it describes individuals who prize forceful leadership, hierarchy, obedience, order and conformity, and who fear outside forces that threaten to disrupt the status quo.

Asking questions about parenting goals separates authoritarian values from specific political allegiances. Political scientists Stanley Feldman and Karen Brenner articulated this in a 1997 study, and the four questions they came up with are still widely used:

  1. Which of the following qualities is the most desirable for a child to have: independence or respect for elders?
  2. Which of the following qualities is the most desirable for a child to have: self-reliance or obedience? 
  3. Which of the following qualities is the most desirable for a child to have: curiosity or good manners?
  4. Which of the following qualities is the most desirable for a child to have: being considerate or being well-behaved?

People who prioritize the second choices on each question reliably track as authoritarian. In the Vox studiey (and elsewhere), authoritarians track as the most reliable Trump voters. Plenty of articles cite this and jump into political implications, which also are plenty.

But I’m curious about this: Why might authoritarianism—and whether or not it’s on the rise in the US—be a parenting issue?

Respondents to each of Feldman and Brenner’s questions may value both qualities, but they have to choose one. I skew one way, but I think all the qualities have merit. Still, researchers define one worldview that prioritizes respect, obedience, good manners and appropriate behavior versus one that prioritizes independence, self-reliance, curiosity and considerateness.

Independently, the values of the former aren’t worrisome. What does worry me is that the authoritarian set correlates strongly with fear, particularly fear of perceived outside threats and disruptions to social order. Fear-driven reactions can be newsworthy, sure, but they’re not generally the most sound. The authoritarian profile is less able to tolerate change and more aggressive against those they see as responsible for bringing it on. Blaming a visible “other” is simpler and more galvanizing than trying to understand complex, faceless forces. It’s much easier for 5-year-old Sylvia to blame me for not instantly meeting her demand for a dreamy homemade dollhouse than it is for her to consider why high-handed orders aren’t particularly motivating. It’s easier for me to blame my husband for forgetting to buy coffee than it is for me to rethink my sleep schedule. It doesn’t take much imagination to jump from here to the extreme ways in which this is playing out in current political rhetoric and posturing. 

As a parent, I keep returning to fear. My husband and I talk a lot about how to raise our kids in a complex world without buying the line that the world is a scary place. We want to introduce them to a fascinating, powerful world, not a terrifying one. We want them to embark on adventures with resilience and awareness, not anxiety.

As a parent, I keep returning to fear. My husband and I talk a lot about how to raise our kids in a complex world without buying the line that the world is a scary place. We want to introduce them to a fascinating, powerful world, not a terrifying one. We want them to embark on adventures with resilience and awareness, not anxiety. 

Of course, a parent’s worries are practically infinite. And I’ve often heard people without kids say they didn’t want to bring new life into such a scary, screwy world. Compelling arguments can be made that the world is “dark and full of terrors,” to quote Game of Thrones’ Melisandre. But I reject this notion, and I don’t believe it’s naïve to do so. I think it’s imperative to reject it if we’re to raise kids who have resources to navigate an increasingly diverse world with something like humanity.

In the late 1970s, authoritarianism was defined as a parenting style by developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind. In the world of education, teaching and classroom management styles are similarly categorized: Permissive-indulgent, permissive-neglectful, authoritarian, and authoritative. Pretty much across the board, the former three are associated with more psychological and behavioral problems.

Baumrind and others since have noted that authoritarian parenting can lead to twinned conformity and depression/anxiety, lower self-esteem, aggressive behavior outside the home, compromised social skills, and diminished ability to self-direct or self-regulate. Authoritarian teaching risks drilling compliant kids who don’t know how to think critically and who aren’t necessarily engaged in learning or its relevance.

In any field, authoritarianism deals in black-and-white, good-and-evil, right-and-wrong—top-down binaries that shut down conversation before it begins. And what is parenting if not a life-long conversation? Nonauthoritarian parenting emphasizes response over reaction precisely because response predicates a relationship.

Without the capacity for compassion and conversation, we humans resort to stigmatization and violence. This is not how I want my children to respond to people who think, look, feel or act differently from them, whether it’s around our dinner table, on the playground, or in our community, country or the world. Differences are a given. If we accept Heraclitus’s “the only thing that is constant is change,” we do our kids poor service by not preparing them to adapt to a changing world.

It’s telling that political scientists chose parenting questions to determine authoritarianism. The Vox article called the parenting-values topic “so banal it seems almost laughable.” But I disagree: The questions are intensely thought-provoking for their ability to predict political action, and for their insight into how we raise our children as future citizens.

However they choose to act politically, our kids will determine the tenor of their families, their communities, and the country that’s built on them. They will face threats, real and perceived. They will have to make quick decisions and weigh nuanced lines of thinking. Do we want them to react or respond? What tools are going to better prepare them to communicate with different kinds of people, modulate their emotions and behavior, address complex problems and imagine solutions?

I’m hardly the only mom who’s pried her daughter off the monkey bars or sternly admonished her son not to talk back. Can we teach deference without submissiveness? Can we stave off fear with dialog, travel, reading and modeling? Parenting is one on-the-fly question after another.

How we address the questions—which is different from answering them—has societal consequences. When I try to teach my kids independence, self-reliance, curiosity and compassion, I am also teaching myself. I prioritize these not only because I think it will lead us to more fulfilling lives, but also because I believe it makes a better toolkit for our collective future.

The Fork

A Tourist in Your Own Town

The ForkThursday, April 28, 2016 by Gwyneth Doland

Santa Fe’s Next Food Star

The Santa Fe Culinary Academy is starting its spring term of dinner service this Thursday. The six students in SFCA’s professional program have developed a menu of small plates that range from $8 to $14, and they will take turns cooking and serving in the student restaurant, The Guesthouse (112 W San Francisco St., on the third floor of the Plaza Mercado building).

Students are still putting the finishing touches on the menu, but earlier this week, the school released a tentative version online, including plates such as pan-roasted halibut with white bean ragout, duck breast with rhubarb gastrique and creamy polenta, grilled lamb chop with preserved lemon, parsley and pea shoots; beef strip loin with potato puree and wild mushroom bagna cauda; and ravioli of dandelion greens.

The plates are intended to be shared, says SFCA office manager Jennifer Leighton, who estimates two people would likely be happy sharing three plates. Beer and wine will also be available.

Dinner will be served on Thursdays and Friday only, from 5:30 until 7 pm, April 28 - May 27. Call 983-7445 for reservations.

I’ve been to dinners like this at other schools, and it’s a good time. The students really try to knock your socks off, and it’s fun to give them some encouragement and feedback.

Santa Fe in the Awards Spotlight

The 2016 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards will be announced on May 2. No Santa Feans are in the running for the best chef award this year, but Ron Cooper, the producer of Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, was nominated in the category for outstanding wine, beer or spirits professional. Cooper divides his time between Oaxaca and Ranchos de Taos. He was mentioned in this story about mezcal published earlier this month in The New Yorker.

And as SFR’s Ben Kendall wrote last month, the legendary Rancho de Chimayo is on the shortlist in the “American Classics” category. Café Pasqual’s, The Shed and Albuquerque’s Mary and Tito’s have all been honored with this award. Good luck, folks!

A Tourist in Your Own Town

Author Lynn Cline has developed a walking historical food tour of Santa Fe that corresponds to her award-winning Maverick Cookbook, and she’s launching the first one May 5. The tour, offered through the Santa Fe School of Cooking, starts with a hearty snack at the school and then wanders downtown through museums, hotels, restaurants and other points of interest.

I got to tag along for a recent dry run of the tour, and it was a hoot to hear some Santa Fe history I didn’t know. Cline is a charming and knowledgeable guide. One highlight was a stop at La Fonda Hotel, where we got a great lesson in how La Fonda fit into the history of the Harvey Houses. I learned a ton of new things about La Fonda. What fun!

The Maverick Cookbook includes recipes and lore tied to a dozen famous New Mexico characters, including Doña Tules, Billy the Kid, Fred Harvey, Gustave Baumann and Georgia O'Keeffe.

The tour ($75 per person) is scheduled for six different dates this summer. It takes about two hours and involves an easy walk of less than two miles. Note: This isn’t necessarily an eating tour, so plan to have lunch before or after. For more information, call 983-4511 or go to the Santa Fe School of Cooking website.

Grand Canyon ... of Culinary Despair

Thanks for all of the great suggestions for where to eat en route to the Grand Canyon! You people get around. I got recommendations for pizza at Fat Olives and Pizzicletta, Latin fusion at Criollo, and burgers at Diablo Burger, along with many other ideas for eats and drinks. We ended up at Tinderbox Kitchen, because it was a short walk from the Monte Vista Hotel (where we stayed) and because it had pork belly on the menu. It turned out that the pork, while crispy on the outside and delightfully moist inside, was overshadowed by a starter of fried cauliflower tossed in curry powder and served with bright pickled onions and sriracha mayo. My dude generally refuses to eat cauliflower, and this time I didn’t even try to persuade him to try. I wanted it all for myself.

Still, later we wondered if the meal had been worth the $100 we paid (including tip). Look, I love spending money on food—I once paid $600 for dinner for two at Joel Robuchon in Vegas, and I’d sell my plasma to do it again. Maybe it takes more to wow me these days. Maybe I should have taken you guys up on your pizza recommendations.

I wish I had something good to report about dining in Grand Canyon National Park, but as usual the in-park fare was meh. We had an overpriced and underwhelming steak dinner in the restaurant at historic El Tovar Hotel (another $100) and several mediocre lunches elsewhere. If you’re heading to a national park this summer, my best advice is this: Bring your own booze and snacks, then spend as little as possible for the least ambitious food you can find. And keep your expectations low.

I also learned it is possible to make something vaguely drinkable in one of those cheap Keurig coffee makers: fill the water reservoir about one-third and then process a pod; repeat three times, each with a fresh pod. It doesn’t taste like what I call real coffee (can’t see a shiny spoon past the tarry surface), but it’s enough to get you out the door.

Got news, tips or suggestions for The Fork? We want to hear from you. No tidbit is too small and no bombshell too big. Email

Morning Word: Ozone Pollution Earns Five Counties Failing Grades

Morning WordThursday, April 28, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr
Counties Earn Failing Marks for Ozone
A new report by the American Lung Association shows that San Juan, Eddy, Bernalillo, Doña Ana and Valencia counties scored failing grades for ground-level ozone pollution. Clean air advocates blame the problem on the oil and gas industry and want regulators to do a better job limiting the industry’s pollution to protect residents from serious health impacts. Santa Fe County earned a B grade.

Proposed Wilderness Areas Spark Controversy
New Mexico Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn doesn’t want to lose royalties from timber and other minerals rights on 1,280 acres of state trust land that could get gobbled up by the feds if the Energy Policy Modernization Act, supported by US Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, is passed. The amended bill would create two wilderness areas in Northern New Mexico. 

High-Stakes Legal Arguments
The New Mexico Supreme Court is considering whether farm and ranch workers should be covered by worker’s compensation insurance. Right now, they are not.

In the Bag
The New Mexican reports that only a little more than $92,000 has been collected by the City of Santa Fe since retailers were banned from using plastic bags eight months ago and required to collect a 10-cent fee for each paper bag used.
The goal of the program implemented last year was to reduce the use of plastic bags that inevitably end up littering the landscape and to encourage the use of reusable bags. The revenues are targeted for a public education campaign in conjunction with the new curbside recycling program and to purchase another 10,000 reusable bags. 
Talkin’ Politics
Gary Johnson, Diane Denish and state Sens. Gerald Ortiz y Pino and Sue Wilson Beffort got a chance to talk about this year’s presidential campaign with national radio host Amy Goodman on Wednesday. Matt Reichbach has the recap here. Andy Lyman reports on what Johnson told Goodman about his choice to switch parties and run as a Libertarian.

Bernie Retools; Cruz Picks Fiorina
Meanwhile, after losing five eastern state primaries on Tuesday, Ted Cruz picked Carly Fiorina as his running mate if he can manage to block Donald Trump’s nomination at the Republican convention in Cleveland later this summer. Democrat Bernie Sanders, who only won Rhode Island’s primary on Tuesday, has decided to cut hundreds of campaign staffers’ jobs.
Fewer PARCC Test Opt-Outs 
“The number of parents who have chosen to opt their students out of standardized testing at Las Cruces Public Schools has fallen by approximately 90 percent compared with last year,” according to school officials.

Inside UNM Basketball
So it turns out the UNM men’s basketball coach Craig Neal didn’t really want his son Cullen to transfer after receiving criticisms from Lobo fans. But the younger Neal is headed to Ole Miss in the fall.

Happy Birthday
Here’s a little useless trivia: The New Mexico Lottery turned 20 years old Wednesday. Do you know the highest lottery payout in the state’s history? KRQE has the answer here.

Gathering of Nations
We saved the best for last. The 33rd Gathering of Nations starts today in Albuquerque when 2,000 dancers make their grand entrance into Wise Pie Arena. The chamber of commerce thinks the big event will boost the city’s economy by about $20 million.

Cannabis out of Court

Open records advocates withdraw lawsuit in the wake of the state agreeing to lift secrecy surrounding cannabis producers

Local NewsWednesday, April 27, 2016 by Cybele Mayes-Osterman

Now that the New Mexico Department of Health has changed its rules that formerly kept the names of licensed medical marijuana producers secret, the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government and journalist Peter St. Cyr have dropped a pending lawsuit. 

The lawsuit filed last summer in state district court in Albuquerque argued that the health department violated the NM Inspection of Public Records Act. The plaintiffs sought to force the state to release names, phone numbers and addresses of those currently in possession of, or applying for, medical marijuana production licenses.

“We appreciate the department’s willingness to rethink and revamp its original confidentiality rules, which we’ve long believed were contrary to IPRA and incompatible with the Compassionate Use Act,” Charles “Kip” Purcell, an Albuquerque attorney representing the plaintiffs, said in a press release. 

The Foundation for Open Government, a nonprofit devoted to making government policies more accessible to the public, and St. Cyr began their attempt to make information about the marijuana growers public when the licenses were first issued in 2009, shortly after the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Law was passed, allowing people with certain medical conditions to buy from state-licensed producers.

St. Cyr has reported frequently on New Mexico’s medical marijuana program. He said he is interested in the public's right to information.

“There is no reason for health regulators to shield the names of medical cannabis growers and sellers,” St. Cyr said in an interview shortly after the suit was filed. Patients, he added, “want to know if the folks who want to make a living selling pot actually have horticultural experience or if they're just out to make money.”

Although the names of patients with licenses to use medical cannabis remain restricted from public view, St. Cyr said he remains hopeful that his lawsuit will encourage other agencies to release more information. 

“Now, I hope other agencies will see the writing on the wall and stop using their own administrative code to exempt themselves from our state’s open record laws,” he said. 


Game of Thrones for Noobs XII

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