SELECT title FROM cont_articles WHERE id='' LIMIT 1 Santa Fe Reporter

Joking Around

We spoke with that Carlsbad city councilor with the sexist Facebook post

Local NewsTuesday, January 24, 2017 by Steven Hsieh

Carlsbad City Councilor JR Doporto drew widespread criticism today after KOB 4 highlighted a Facebook post he wrote mocking women who participated in Saturday's nationwide demonstrations against President Donald Trump. Here's what he wrote:

After angry comments rained down his Facebook page, he doubled-down on his jokes with additional posts. Here's a glimpse, courtesy ProgressNow NM (Doporto has since suspended his Facebook account):

We caught up with Doporto this afternoon on the phone to hear his thoughts. (The following transcript has been edited for length.)

I was wondering, do you know anyone who attended the march on Saturday?




When you made that Facebook post that was in the news, what was going on in your head?

You know, to tell you the truth, it was 7 o'clock in the morning. I was watching the news. It's been a long, drawn-out election. People were protesting for—hell, I don't know—women's rights? There were guys there. You know, whatever they wanted to protest against. I thought, you know what? I'm a humorous guy. I always make jokes. With everybody on Facebook, if you look at my past history, that's pretty much all I do—is joke around. I like to get under people's skin, you know? Piss them off. And I thought, you know what? I said I had enough. I feel like I have a right like everybody else. I don't think it's right to hit a woman. I've never been charged with domestic violence. I think it's wrong. It was merely a joke, and I think people are blowing it out of proportion. 

Do you see why people are angry about the joke and why it's getting the reaction that it is?


I see their point of view. I know people have rights to feel the way they want. Some people feel you shouldn't be joking about domestic violence. You know we should be held to the highest standards. I've been asking everybody that they could give me a book that shows what standards those are, on what I can and can't say. 

I don't think anyone is disputing that you have the right to say what you want to say. I guess the question was the march was for women's rights. And the particular joke you made was disparaging towards women and some of the stereotypes you used were—it seemed you were thumbing your nose at what was taking place. Does that make sense to you?

Yeah, yeah. I 
was thumbing my nose at what was taking place. Enough already. Let's get on. Women have had rights for ... years that I have been alive. I don't see no rights they don't have that a man has. When are they going to get on and move on? I believe if a Democratic president was elected, Hillary, I don't think we would've had those protests. 

Some of the remarks [Trump] made of women and the locker room talk and all the media it got. They came out and expressed their opinions. It's great, we live in America. If I feel like joking around about domestic violence and I feel it's okay to joke around about that, that's my opinion. If someone feels a different way, that's their opinion. As far as domestic violence goes, that is wrong. I did apologize to people.

Do you believe a women's place is in the kitchen and to clean?

No man, it's a joke. See, that's what I don't understand. Those were back in the old days. Men would joke about stuff like that. No, I had a lady comment earlier and say, hell, if that was my grandpa, he would've told my grandma to get her butt in the kitchen and finish fixing my supper and shut up while you're doing it. It's just a joke, you know. It wasn't trying to demoralize women. I've done many, many things for women. Women have came and asked to help them put up signs for kids. I've coached softball. I've been involved with a lot of children's activities. I got the sports complex completed here in the city of Carlsbad. I got the waterpark started. I've seen that completed. That's for women and their kids. Why aren't people bringing up the positive things I've done? Now that everyone's focusing on domestic violence, I'm taking a stand to say, you know what? They're right. 

Domestic violence is a serious thing. A lot of people lose their lives over it and maybe awareness should be made. It opened up my eyes to see people feel strong to domestic violence. So let's bring up domestic violence and give people help if they're going through any situation. But like I said, everybody has their right to their opinion.

Okay. I recognize you have the right to say that, but is it appropriate for an elected official to make comments like that? Of course, not only do you represent women in your district. You also represent children as well. Would you want the children in your district to see what you wrote?

For one, I don't "friend" children on my personal Facebook account. I know I have it public, but children aren't supposed to have Facebook, right? It's not okay for an elected official while he's networking, while he's on the stand, to make comments like that. What I do on my own time, I can do. I don't think it's appropriate for elected officials to drink beer. But what they do on their own time—and I don't think it's appropriate for them to do it on their own time. What they do on their own time, and what we do on our own time. We have those rights.


But even when you're not on the stand, you're still a city councilor, no? You're still representing your district. For example, would you yell what you said on your Facebook, your public Facebook page, in public?


I probably wouldn't you know? Because I know what audience is there. I would be aware of that. ... I know where you're getting at. As an elected official, we should be held to a higher standard. We should conduct ourselves a certain way. As a city councilor, I'm still trying to find somebody to show me what way that is. What are the rules? What the the things I can't say? One thing I might be able to say, you may be offended by it. Somebody else might not be offended. Where is that line? That is KOB's—the whole title of their thing—how much is enough?


Yeah, I mean. But—

The thing where I am being rude. Or I am being unprofessional. It might seem unprofessional to you, but some other people might not have a problem with it. 


Right but, what you call unprofessional, other people might call sexist.

Right, exactly. We all have different opinions, you know?


But that's not an opinion. What you wrote is sexist.

Let me give you a perfect example. People from Santa Fe, Albuquerque, they called me with strong opinions. You know? Great. People in Southeast, New Mexico, I haven't had one call from anybody. The people who know me, that know how we are? There are two different types of cultures. You guys are a lot different in Northern New Mexico than we are down in the south. People down here in Southeast, New Mexico might say, he's got his own personalities. We're all different. That's the great thing about America. We all have the right to our own views. A lady called me from California earlier. She was an atheist. When I got off the phone with her, I said, "God bless you." She said, "I'm an atheist." Well, she's got every right. Right? So where do we draw the line?


Do you think we should draw the line at sexism, and for that matter, racism, as far as what it's appropriate for an elected official to say?


So, sexism. Men have had domestic violence against them. I don't know where we draw the line. Look at our president, hell. He's sexist every day. What's this world coming to? It's crazy.

Santa Fe Independent Film Festival Submission Period Begins

The annual fest is looking for a few good flicks

Local NewsThursday, January 26, 2017 by Alex De Vore

The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival announced on Tuesday that its submissions process is now open for its upcoming 2017 iteration. It's the ninth year for SFIFF, which is slated to open at the Violet Crown Wednesday-Sunday, Oct. 18-22 at numerous Santa Fe theaters.

Filmmakers have three dates to consider: Early submissions are accepted up until Wednesday March 1 with a fee of $35 for full-length movies, $30 for shorts. The regular deadline runs until Tuesday May 2, with fees shifting to $60 for full-lengths and $45 for shorts. The absolute last day to submit is Tuesday August 1, and fees jump to $90 for full-lengths, $65 for shorts. There are special considerations for student filmmakers during the early and regular submissions windows at a cost of $30 for features, $25 for shorts. A valid student ID is required. 

"We are expecting over 10,000 attendees again this year [and the festival] will use all five art house theaters again," co-founder and Executive Director Jacques Paisner tells SFR. "Not a lot will change, just more chances to see the best independent and foreign films of the year with over 1,000 entries from over 50 countries; the fest screens over 100 features and shorts including the recently Oscar-nominated Fire at Sea."

Interested parties can get more info and/or submit here.

Morning Word: Nuts! Snow! Oscar Nominations!

Morning WordTuesday, January 24, 2017 by Matt Grubs

Off She Goes, Into the Wild Orange Yonder
Former New Mexico congresswoman Heather Wilson will be nominated as the next Secretary of the Air Force, the White House announced Monday. It'd be hard to find a more qualified candidate than the Air Force Academy grad, Rhodes Scholar, former National Security Council member and current university president. Wilson may face some confirmation questions about her consulting work.

Save Our Schools
Lawmakers in the House spent yesterday evening crafting their own fiscal fix for this year's budget. The plan eases the burden on school reserves and instead draws down local economic development funds and money for water projects. Republicans argued public pension funds should help foot the bill. The Senate has to approve the changes.

Our Schools Save
Plenty of school districts around the state have seen the lean years coming just like the rest of us. In Las Cruces, the district is considering changing its schedule for high schools to a more economic option. Of course, saving money usually means fewer teachers or staff members, which the district has acknowledged is a possibility.

Nuts to You
It doesn't fetch the obscenely high prices of the piñon or macadamia nut, but the pecan is no slouch, either. Definitely an upper-middle-class nut. And it's earning record-high paychecks for growers this year.

Chamber of Commerce Gives Tentative Nod to Tax Hike
You don't see this every day: The Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce says it "will entertain discussion" of a tax increase after legislators have exhausted all other options to fix the crumbling state budget. The chamber's CEO says it's a first. We think she's right; it will be an entertaining discussion.

School Choice
The college you pick has an impact on how much you make in the decade after graduation. New Mexico Tech grads average well above $50,000 annually, while Lobos from UNM average just under $35,000 a year. You can probably read that as, "Pay attention in math and science class."

Brendan Fraser Headlines Cruces Film Fest
Is this a big deal? We can't tell. Actually, we can't tell if it says more about Brendan Fraser or Las Cruces. Kidding! (Have you seen that security guard he plays in The Affair? Scary.)

Oscar Nominations
Yes, nominations are in for the other thing in February besides the Super Bowl. No best picture or director nomination for Santa Fe native Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals, though Michael Shannon earned a best supporting actor nomination for his work in the film.

It snowed!
Not quite as much as hoped for at the mountain in Santa Fe, but it's still fresh. And Taos has more than two and a half feet in the past week. For those of us who don't live on the slopes, it's gonna be cold for a few days.

Thanks for reading! The Word has an extra pair of mittens you can borrow.

Morning Word: You're Charging Us How Much?

Morning WordMonday, January 23, 2017 by Matt Grubs

Um, About Your Community Event...
The city of Santa Fe, which like so many hamlets around our fair state is having budget issues, is pondering how to make nonprofits pay for services the city used to give them for free. Mostly that's police overtime and fees for lost parking revenue. But some nonprofits are balking at the bill, including the Rotary Club, which told The New Mexican of police presence during its event, “the only time we saw them was when they were walking around in a group doing nothing.” 

Signs of Unrest
Thousands participated in Saturday's Women's March in Santa Fe. SFR had staff not just locally, but on the bus to DC, people! Check out Kim Jones' work along with a few choice pics from Santa Fe. Worth catching are Vogue's best-of compilation from marches across the country and these shots from Albuquerque.

Congressional Panel
After infamous videos surfaced in 2015 purporting to show Planned Parenthood staffers offering to sell fetal tissue from abortions (here's a fact check), Congress chose to study the matter. The panel's final report has been released, which interests Morning Word readers because both a private clinic in New Mexico and the state's flagship public hospital were targeted. The report and a bill now moving through the state Legislature focus on so-called "born alive" abortions—a term disputed by medical professionals.

Count Us In
New Mexico is suing Takata, the airbag manufacturer that's already agreed to a $1 billion deal with the Justice Department because it tried for years to hide the deadly nature of its faulty airbags. The suit, filed by Attorney General Hector Balderas, goes after several automakers, too. It asks for civil penalties for each defective airbag in a vehicle offered for sale here.

Well This is Different
On Friday, we told you how the state House was meeting on a day usually reserved for printing bills. They worked Saturday, too, as legislators scramble to close a projected $69 million shortfall in this year's budget. Representatives passed a pair of bills that will have to be OK'd by the Senate.

Navajo Name Change
A proposal to change the name of the Navajo Nation to the Diné Nation is gaining momentum. The tribe's budget and finance committee approved the switch, which leaders hope will strengthen the nation's sense of identity.

Bad Loan Settlement
Four former Los Alamos National Bank executives have settled with the Treasury Department after regulators accused the group of trying to hide bad loans in an apparent effort to escape oversight. As is usual in such cases, no wrongdoing was admitted or denied.

Storms Keep Rolling
Santa Fe, in particular the mountains above town that give us water and skiing, keeps gathering snow. And more is in the forecast. Yes please.

Thanks for reading! The Word's getting the first round of coffee today.


Live Updates from Santa Fe and Washington

Local NewsSaturday, January 21, 2017 by SFR

Printed Memories

Arts Friday, January 20, 2017 by Maria Egolf-Romero

Yesterday, Manuela Well-Off-Man, chief curator at IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native American Art, walked SFR through the group exhibit New Impressions, which opens tonight. The expansive exhibit, which includes prints from 12 contemporary artists, was still in the process of being hung. As we wandered the show in its final moments of preparation, Well-Off-Man shared the inspirations and histories behind many of the prints.

One in particular stood out.

It is a black and white etching by Lynne Allen, a Lakota artist, featuring a woman’s shoe above a photograph of her great grandmother and the words “my grandmother was an Indian, can you tell?” Allen often uses pages from her grandmother’s journals in her printmaking works.

“She’s coming from this long line of female Lakota family members who moved away from the reservation to get the best education they could at the time, and also then married white men,” Well-Off-Man tells SFR. “Because of that, as a result, she now feels so removed from her own family traditions and culture.”

The heeled shoe in Allen’s piece is covered in a tiny intricate pattern. When you look closely, you can identify Native American imagery in the pattern, which represents Allen’s own hidden Lakota identity. “With this piece she invites viewers to think about themselves, how they judge other people from other cultures. Allen does not look like a Lakota woman because of her family history and marrying people from outside the tribe. It’s a reminder about how we tend to make a judgment about people and often it’s only a person’s memories or family stories that create this identity,” says Well-Off-Man.

The Native American content in this print may be minute, but it tells the whole story. “It’s small, but yet so important,” she says. It seems more important than ever to honor identity as a sacred thing, and as something that is never fully evident on the surface.

Many of the works in this show have elements rooted in modern pop culture. Brad Kalhamer’s print, "Cherokee Princess," which has a heavy metal feel, features a boney Native woman with braids and a gun in her lap, surrounded by animal heads. Or John Hitchcock’s "Storms of War," which features bombs and colors that could have jumped off the page of a psychedelic poster.

“I think this exhibition really shows how contemporary Native artists embrace both historic influences, but also influences from contemporary daily life, pop culture and urban life influences,” says Well-Off-Man.

These printmakers delve into their own histories through their work. They include autobiographical details or memories from childhood stories in each print. Well-Off-Man says she believes this self-discovery and introspection is a symptom of the medium, “I think it’s this mood of experimentation that invites the artist to think about their own stories and history. The main thing here is that printmaking has this long tradition of making important statements, about yourself and society and history in general. It is known as this medium to make a statement.”

New Impressions Opening Reception: 5-7 pm Friday Jan. 20. Free. IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, 108 Cathedral Place, 983-8900.

Justice Agenda

‘Constitutional crisis’ could dominate criminal justice debate at state legislature

Local NewsFriday, January 20, 2017 by Jeff Proctor

Criminal justice reform will burn up some of the oxygen at the Roundhouse during the 60-day session. But what “reform” means depends on who you talk to.

The problem is repeat criminal offenders who get out of jail and prison too easily and public safety should be the state’s first priority, Republicans say. Democrats respond that for too long legislation has focused on punishment without addressing underlying causes of crime such as poverty, drug addiction and, in some cases, mental illness.

Reform to Republicans appears to mean increased penalties for certain crimes and reinstating the death penalty for people who kill police officers and children after a review of legislation. Republicans also want to expand the number of crimes that earn a person a life sentence after a third conviction.

Not surprisingly, Democrats appear to favor a different definition. Legislation they have filed would prohibit private employers from automatically excluding job applicants for felony convictions and provide legal immunity to people seeking assistance after a drug overdose. Another bill would shift the burden for how parole is decided to the state from some prison inmates. Currently, certain offenders must document why they should be paroled versus the state providing reasons why they should remain behind bars.

The competing approaches to reform can’t escape reality, however: Like every other issue before state lawmakers this year, criminal justice will be debated and decided through the lens of New Mexico’s budget problems.

Sharp decreases in oil and gas revenues have led to nearly across-the-board cuts in state government during the past year, including a recent 3 percent decrease in the budgets for New Mexico’s courts, district attorneys and public defenders.

“As a result, the courts and the criminal justice system are on the tipping point of a constitutional crisis,” Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, a Santa Fe Democrat, said in an interview before the session began. “Public safety is very important, and I don’t want to minimize that. So is a true, balanced vision for our system. But the most pressing criminal justice issue right now is having a court system that’s able to address the laws that we’ve asked them to enforce. Nothing gets done before we attend to that.”

Chief Justice Charles Daniels reinforced that point Thursday in a speech to a joint session of the New Mexico House and Senate.  

“I wish I could tell you that New Mexico is providing the functioning justice system promised in the constitution that created the ground rules of our government, but I can’t,” Daniels said.

A justice system requires enough money to make it function, Daniels said.

“For year after year, we’ve been penny-pinching in extraordinary ways, in hopes that we were dealing with a temporary crisis, and all would be well next year if we just held on treading water for a little longer,” the chief justice said, sounding the alarm that even the basic constitutional right to a jury trial is in jeopardy in New Mexico’s cash-starved courts.

Fallout from cuts to the criminal justice system — most recently during a special legislative session concluded last fall — has been immediate and striking.

During a legislative committee hearing in November, judges described staffing shortages and other hardships that have been especially tough on the state’s smaller magistrate courts. Reduced budgets also are likely to result in an inability to pay jurors and cuts to specialty court programs aimed at nonviolent drug offenders and people living with mental illness.

Two weeks after that hearing, the state’s chief public defender was held in contempt of court after his office failed to appear on behalf of five clients in Lovington. The office, Chief Public Defender Bennett Baur said at the time, could not effectively represent clients because of financial constraints.

The incident  dramatically illustrated  a constitutional problem: all criminal defendants in America are entitled to legal representation, regardless of their ability to pay.

“Criminal justice reform during this 60-day legislative session — whether you think that’s increasing penalties or addressing the issues in a more balanced, complete way — probably isn’t going to happen,” Wirth said. “Issues like jury trials and representation are right on the edge of collapsing because of these across-the-board cuts. And the courts are getting close to stepping in and saying: ‘Enough’s enough. You have to give us the tools for constitutional mandates to be enforced.’”

Daniels started down that road with his speech on Thursday.

“The inescapable bottom line is that we have to first honor the constitution, then the statutes,” he said. “Then we can divide up what is left among the desirable programs you choose to keep. The constitution absolutely requires those fundamental priorities.”

How these realities fit with the state’s overall budget crisis will play out over the next 50 some-odd days.

Meanwhile, some lawmakers plan to pursue tweaks to the justice system through legislation that isn’t necessarily budget-focused.

Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque, said he plans to introduce bills creating a new tier for felony crimes — aimed at ensuring violent criminals are sentenced more harshly than non-violent offenders — and allowing people to have certain offenses expunged from their records.

Still, the top priority for the session, Maestas said, is ensuring the chronically cash-strapped Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office is fully funded.

Rep. Bill Rehm, an Albuquerque Republican and a former Bernalillo County Sheriff’s captain, said public safety has to come first, even in times of financial difficulty. He pointed to rising crime rates in the state’s largest city.

“I think there are a lot of issues with the overall safety of the community right now,” Rehm said. “And when you look at that, you see that the repeat offender is the problem. My legislation almost all goes to the repeat offender. The only way we’re going to make our communities safe again is to put some of these people in jail. Yeah, there’s a cost with that, but I hope we can get some of it passed.” 

Jeff Proctor reported this story for "The Justice Project" with New Mexico In Depth

Morning Word: Courts in Crisis

Morning WordFriday, January 20, 2017 by Matt Grubs

The Courts on Life Support
It's time to make the right choice, outgoing New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Charles Daniels told the legislature Thursday as he argued for a bigger budget for the court system. Years of politically popular anti-crime laws coupled with reduced funding for court programs and public defenders have left the state's judiciary bordering on a constitutional crisis.

Banning Gay Conversion Therapy
New Mexico would become the seventh state to ban so-called conversion therapy, a controversial faith-based response to homosexuality, if a new bill becomes law. The practice has been roundly criticized by professional medical organizations and gay rights advocates.

Pearce's Post
New Mexico congressman Steve Pearce has landed a seat on the House Natural Resources Committee. The republican has long favored the rights of private citizens to profit off public lands, supporting ranching and logging and opposing the reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf to New Mexico. NM Political Report takes a deep dive to look at what past performance means for future results.

Sun, Sun, Go Away
The city of Aztec is pondering a moratorium on generation agreements with customers who install solar panels. That option has become increasingly popular, but the city's electrical utility is concerned about how that affects backup power capacity and how much improvements to the grid will cost.

About Time
A pair of reports suggests the investments the state has already made in early childhood intervention programs like home visitation are working. How and how much to invest in such efforts has been the subject of much teeth-gnashing over the past few years. Proponents have argued taking a bigger chunk of New Mexico's multibillion-dollar permanent funds would pay big dividends down the road. Others say taking money now would threaten the funds' permanency.

Too Good To Be True
Matthew Sample called his investment plan the Lobo Volatility Fund. Considering six investors saw $1 million disappear, he may have been honest about the "volatility" part. Federal prosecutors say that's about it, and now Sample has pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges. Weird, you wouldn't think someone who hung wallpaper woven with gold in his Santa Fe mountain home would be involved in an investment scheme.

Milo, When I Was Young
Some students at the University of New Mexico are growing increasingly anxious about next week's visit from alt-right darling Milo Yiannopoulos. Minority groups and others have asked the school's acting president to bar the appearance. 

The End of an Era
There was a time in New Mexico legislative history when lawmakers would breeze into town after a holiday weekend, then take another long weekend to let bill printers catch up with work they'd created through all their highfalutin' legislating. No longer. At least not in the House, where the new speaker is bringing representatives to work today to address bills expected to patch the hole in this year's budget. The august body known as the Senate? They'll see you Monday. And so will we.

Thanks for reading! The Word wonders if you have brunch plans this weekend.

It Can’t Happen Here

Sinclair Lewis classic predicts life under Trump

Lee on LiteratureThursday, January 19, 2017 by Lee Miller

Donald Trump’s ascendency to the American Presidency is strikingly similar to the rise of Buzz Windrip, a fictional politician in Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here (1935). The first half of Lewis’ story describes the social conditions that contributed to Buzz Windrip’s improbable rise, while the second half of the book outlines the devastating impacts of his revolutionary leadership.

Sinclair Lewis, the first American novelist to win the Nobel Prize, wrote It Can’t Happen Here during the early 1930’s, at the heart of the Great Depression and the rise of fascism in Europe. The main character of this story, Buzz Windrip, is an unconventional politician who upsets FDR and the Democratic Party establishment. He wins the presidential primary by tapping economic and social fears of common citizens. 

Buzz Windrip gains great popularity with a revolutionary yet vague platform of ideas. Buzz is against big banks, but for all the bankers (except the Jews who need to be driven out). He has unspecified plans to make all wages high while keeping prices for products low. Windrip is 100 percent for labor, but against labor unions and strikes. He wants America to produce its own products instead of importing them and correct a trade imbalance, and if any country disagrees, “he might have to take it over and run it properly.” 

Buzz Windrip urges America to arm itself, both locally and nationally, pointing to the words of his advisor, General Edgeways: “A great nation must go on arming itself more and more, not for conquest, not for war—but for peace.” At campaign rallies, local “Minute Men” (MMs) are inspired by General Edgeways and throw punches at those who disagree politically. These MMs band into informal militias.

As for social issues, Buzz Windrip strongly condemns the “un-Christian” attitude of progressives. He condones policies that limit African Americans’ access to education, non-menial employment and voting. Any person actively advocating communism or socialism, especially those in the “wishy-washy liberal media” and academia, should be put to trial and punished for high treason. 

According to Windrip, “The way to stop crime is to stop it!” In sum, he notes that “love and patriotism have been my sole guiding principles in Politics. My one ambition is to get all Americans to realize that they are, and must continue to be, the greatest Race on the face of this old Earth.”

In addition to patriotism, Buzz Windrip has other similarities with Donald Trump. Buzz looked like a “museum model of a medicine-show ‘doctor.’” In fact, Windrip had worked as a traveling snake oil salesman in the past. Buzz was “vulgar, almost illiterate, a public liar easily detected, and his ‘ideas’ almost idiotic.” Sinclair Lewis describes Windrip as “a professional common man” who considered all foreigners as degenerate (except the British). Commoners could understand him and his every purpose—and raised their hands to him in worship. 

Buzz Windrip wins the presidential election and assumes power. If life imitates art, It Can’t Happen Here gives contemporary America a preview of what could happen under Trump’s leadership. First, Buzz Windrip fills his cabinet with loyalists, propagandists, and banking elites (some of questionable character).

At the presidential inauguration, military police and MMs are more visible. They escort and protect Buzz Windrip as riots break out all over Washington and America on Inauguration Day. Protest is gradually quelled by formal and informal armed forces.

As months pass, members of the press and academia who criticize are rebuked and then removed from their jobs. Dissent evolves from “unpatriotic” to “criminal.” A “tattle tale” culture grows and some dissenters are killed without objection. More citizens, including non-enthusiasts, are sent to jails and concentration camps. Riots continue. Portions of the country cede from the America’s “perfect union,” mostly states in the North and West.

Meanwhile, Buzz Windrip’s economic policies destabilize the American economy while his personal fortune silently explodes via “personal gifts” and favors. Inflation rises with every new tariff and trade war, while job prospects get much worse. “Minute Men” are rolled into the established military and many unemployed become MM, a job with free guns.

As discontent grows, war plans are developed for invasions of Mexico, Canada, and China. “We got to expand!” Buzz explains. Top intellectual and political leaders quietly defect to other countries, while a New Underground Railroad funnels citizens to Canada as borders are closed down. 

At the climax of the story, Buzz Windrip is overthrown by an internal coup: His secretary of state seizes power amidst growing chaos. But all if this is simply American fiction, the product of Sinclair Lewis’ powerful imagination. Just a tale from the 1930’s. Fantasy. It can’t happen here.

Lee Miller graduated from Cornell University and has taught writing for over thirteen years at the secondary and post-secondary levels.  This column examines current events through the lens of quality literature.

Morning Word: Wait, I Thought We Were Done With Driver's Licenses

Morning WordThursday, January 19, 2017 by Matt Grubs

Driver's Licenses? Again?
Ha! Gotcha. This has nothing to do with immigrants getting driver's licenses. Or little to do with it. We think. A new proposal cruising around the Legislature would automatically register people to vote when they show up to get a driver's license. There's already a national law requiring the MVD to give you the chance to register to vote, but more states are considering some after-market mods to the "motor voter" law. It's a proposed constitutional amendment, meaning voters would have the final say on the measure. If only there were a way for your car to automatically drive you to the polling place...

Budget Spackling
The first order of business for lawmakers on day two of the legislative session was to patch holes in this year's budget (the fiscal year ends June 30). Nearly $70 million may seem like a lot of spackle, but it's a workable proposition in a $6 billion budget. The fiscal touch-up is not pretty. The money comes from cash reserves held by public schools, from building-repair funds, wildlife protection plans and other things that were important enough to fund until now.

Thanks for the Work, Your Total Comes to [REDACTED]
That's actually a generous retelling of SFR's attempts to find out how much Gov. Susana Martinez has paid attorney Paul Kennedy over the years. Jeff Proctor explains how the attorney general's office concluded the governor's stonewalling is a violation of New Mexico's public records law and why that doesn't seem to matter to the Martinez administration.

So, some guy stole all the books from the Little Library of Barelas. Again. It's one of those free libraries that pops up on the street; a rich part of life as a kid in a part of Albuquerque that's rich in culture, but not so much in cash. You know, the kind of kids' library where if you steal all the books, you go straight to the second ring of the ninth circle of Dante's hell.

Albuquerque and Santa Fe are happily perched high on a best-of list. If you're making movies and living where you do it, as many indie filmmakers and crew members do, says the Duke City is the No. 8 large city to be in and the City Different ranks second among small cities.

It's About to Be Official
The state went for Hillary Clinton in November, but hundreds of New Mexicans plan to make the trip to Washington DC for the swearing in of our nation's 45th president, Donald J Trump. Every New Mexico congressional representative and senator will be there, as will our governor and Albuquerque's mayor. Others are making the trip to join in planned protests of Trump's victory.

Just Because You're Our Mascot Doesn't Mean You Belong Here
New Mexico is among 19 states suing the federal government for how it handles the reintroduction of endangered species. In 2015, Gov. Susana Martinez' administration refused to give the US Fish and Wildlife Service a permit to release Mexican gray wolves into part of their original range. The feds did it anyway, arguing the survival of a species trumps state concerns.

Thank You, May We Have Another
After a welcome whopper of a storm last weekend, Santa Fe and the rest of west and central New Mexico are in line for another snowy end to the week. The first chance of snow in our fair capital city is tonight, so make this the day you splurge and buy that fancy new ice scraper.

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Joking Around

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