Where is New Mexico’s Election headed?

This off-year election is shaping up to be one of the most interesting in years with public interest at an all time high. In the national races for control of the US Senate, recent polls indicate that Republicans are likely to maintain control while Democrats are favored win the US House.

In New Mexico, Democrats are also favored in the Governor, US Senate and in 2 of 3 US house races. Polls also suggest that the Democrats will expand their majority in the NM House. All of these prognostications, however, are dependent on voter intensity, which hinges on turnout.

Joining host Stephen Spitz to talk about the coming election will be Joe Monahan, author of the State’s go to political blog and long-time host of public radio’s local election night coverage.

Produced with assistance of Roman Garcia,Tanya Cole and Lynn Schibeci.

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Philip Connors’ A Song for the River

The Gila River and Wilderness are the heart and soul of A Song for the River, the latest book by Philip Connors. Every summer since 2002, Connors has been perched in a tower 50 feet above the Gila Wilderness, watching for fire.

His first book, Fire Season, recounted the lessons learned about mountains, wilderness, fire, and solitude. A Song for the River updates and deepens the story: the mountain he loves goes up in flames; a lookout on another mountain whom he comes to think of like a brother dies in a freak accident; and three high school students he admires die tragically in an airplane crash while researching the wilderness and the wild river they wish to save. What is it about the Gila that generates these themes of living and dying?

These are among the questions that will be explored when New Mexico People Places and Ideas host Stephen Spitz sits down with New Mexico author Philip Connors.

Produced with assistance of Tanya Cole and Lynn Schibeci

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Natalie Goldberg’s Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home

When longtime Zen practitioner and world-renowned New Mexico author Natalie Goldberg learns that she has a life-threatening illness, she is plunged into the realm of hospitals, physicians, and unfamiliar medical treatments, along with the reality of her own mortality. In navigating this foreign landscape, Goldberg, in her just published book Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home, illuminates a pathway through illness that is grounded in embracing suffering directly.

What does it mean to embrace suffering and can we actually accept our own mortality? These are among the questions, which will be explored when New Mexico People Places and Ideas host Stephen Spitz sits down with Santa Fe author Natalie Goldberg.

Produced with assistance of Roman Garcia and Lynn Schibeci

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Justice for Survivors of the First Atomic Bomb

On July 16, 1945, the world’s first nuclear bomb was detonated at the Trinity Site near Socorro, New Mexico.  Although the US government claimed the area was uninhabited, census records show that more than 40,000 people lived near-by. No warning was provided to these residents despite high levels of radiation.

Sixty years later, Tina Cordova co-founded the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium to seek justice for the survivors and their decedents. To date, however, none of the New Mexico Downwinders have received medical support or compensation. To find out why, New Mexico People Places and Ideas host Stephen Spitz sits down with Tina Cordova and two of the few living eyewitnesses to the 1945 Blast.

Produced with assistance of Roman Garcia and Lynn Schibeci.

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Masterpieces from the Prado Museum on the Plaza

In a major cultural event for Albuquerque, 92 full-scale mounted reproductions of artwork from the Museum del Prado in Madrid, Spain, are on display at Civic Plaza, free and under shade.

The Prado Exhibition boasts some of the world’s finest collections of European art of the 15th – 19th centuries including Diego Velázquez, Hieronymus Bosch, Francisco de Zurbarán, Titian, José de Ribera, Peter Paul Rubens, El Greco and Francisco de Goya. Because of New Mexico’s colonial history, these works will have special significance for many; for all, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. To find out more about the exhibition and its significance, New Mexico People Places and Ideas host Stephen Spitz sits down with UNM historian Dr. Charlie Steen who specializes in Early Modern European History.

Produced with assistance of Marshall Broyles and Lynn Schibeci.

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New Mexico Racing Champion, Bobby Unser

This month’s guest is Bobby Unser, three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 and the older brother of four-time Indy winner, Al Unser, Sr., who founded the Unser Racing Museum in Albuquerque.

If you are interested in what it is like to first take the track at Indianapolis at speeds over 200 mph, while the owner of a million-dollar car nervously watches a rookie driver immediately go for top speeds, then you must hear Bobby Unser tell the story of his initial attempts to qualify for the 500. We will also ask Bobby what it is about this family –individually or collectively– that makes it the most successful family in racing if not in all of sports. (Besides Bobby and Al, Al, Jr. has won Indy twice and two other Unser’s have competed seven times in the 500.)

Finally, we cover the closest and most controversial 500 in history that came down to a duel between Bobby and fellow racing legend Mario Andretti, which, instead of three hours, took four months to decide.

Produced with the assistance of John Burgund.

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What Teacher walk-outs signal for New Mexico

Since first igniting in West Virginia earlier this year, teachers have walked off the job in Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona arguing for higher wages. Teachers in New Mexico openly support these walkouts and also receive a very low salary.

What is behind this sudden burst of activism and what does it signal for New Mexico? For answers, New Mexico People Places and Ideas host Stephen Spitz sits down with the President of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation, and veteran public school teacher, Ellen Bernstein, to discuss the latest in “teachers’ wars”.

Produced with assistance of Marshall Broyles and Lynn Schibeci.

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ART is a “bit of a lemon”

Albuquerque’s newly elected Mayor, Tim Keller, has pronounced ART (Albuquerque’s Rapid Transit bus system designed to run down the middle of Central) a “bit of a lemon”. Why?

Well, the electric buses leak, cant hold a proper charge, and don’t align with stations. Worse, Albuquerque spent $130M on the system, relying on an $80M reimbursement from the Feds, but Mayor Keller says the “check is not in the mail”. Now what? New Mexico People Places and Ideas host Stephen Spitz sits down with Mayor Tim Keller to learn more about these problems and the direction ART is headed.

Produced with assistance of Marshall Broyles and Lynn Schibeci

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Crime and Punishment in Albuquerque

Crime and punishment continue to dominate our politics. Crime was the #1 issue in Albuquerque’s recent mayoral election and was again a top issue at this year’s Legislative Session. Punishment is the #1 Answer, namely more police and prosecutors. But, are police and prosecutor understaffing really the reason for Albuquerque’s dramatic increase in crime?

Host Stephen Spitz will put this question to two national experts on crime, UNM professors Maria Velez and Christopher Lyons who are presently engaged in a nation-wide study of this issue.

Produced with assistance of Marshall Broyles and Lynn Schibeci.

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Where is New Mexico’s Climate Headed?

Where is New Mexico’s Climate Headed? The answer is South, according to UNM climate scientist and meteorologist Dr. David Gutzler. Specifically, toward a climate like that of today’s El Paso: “What we see in the data, the temperature is rising with a rate consistent with a middle-road climate change based on greenhouse gases,” according to Gutzler. “If we extrapolate out … the analogy I draw is the climate in the Albuquerque area would be roughly similar to El Paso.” It’s a frightening picture of tree less mountains where it’s much dryer and hotter. And, even though his background is in chaos theory and uncertainty, Professor Gutzler’s question “is not if we are headed there, but how rapidly.”

To get a complete picture, please join host Stephen Spitz as we explore what the latest climate change models predict for New Mexico and the Southwest.

Produced with the assistance of Marshall Broyles and Lynn Schibeci.

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