Monday, February 26, 2007

New Mexico Impeachment Resolution in Stunning 3-2 Victory Sunday.

New Mexico Impeachment Resolution in Stunning 3-2 Victory Sunday. All Eyes Turn to Judiciary Committee and Swing Votes Sanchez, Rainaldi and Martinez
Judiciary Chairman Cisco McSorley both signed and voted for the bill in Rules and we hope to get a hearing this week, but have heard from the Committee Secretary Mary Parlet that it will not be scheduled until next week. Supportive and thankful calls to his office encouraging a hearing as soon as possible are in order. More importantly please call Senators Michael Sanchez, Lidio Rainaldi and Richard Martinez, the swing votes on the Judiciary Committee. If you have not already memorized the phone number for the Capitol Switchboard who can connect you with anyone in the Roundhouse, dial 986-4300.
Basic Impeachment Background Here.

by Leland Lehrman h: (505) 982-3609 o: (505) 473-4458

Video coverage of the event will be available online shortly. Video
coverage of the Rules Committee hearing is at:

Video of the introductory Press Conference is at:

More information on the New Mexico effort to impeach Bush and Cheney
can be found at: and

Sunday, February 25, 2007

NM Impeachment Resolution Public Affairs Hearing

I didn't get inside the hearing, but I was fortunate to hear this man's music. If the crowd in the hall outside the hearing was indicative of the out come, it was yay for impeachment.

Google Video of New Mexico Resolution to Impeach Bush and Cheney in Rules Committee 5-0 Victory

This video was taken on February 16th. We won that round 5-0. At 2:30 today, Sunday, Feb. 25th, the resolution gets heard in Senate Public Affairs. We will have that video ASAP. But this one is amazing. Do all you can to get it out there. For those not familiar with the situation, please see and

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Local seed bombing

I am thinking to make a variety of seed bombs that focus around local tree guilds. I think the easiest will be acacia and sumac, but I would also like to make some with ponderosas too. I am planning to use the guild format, putting complimentary seeds together in guilds so they help each other out.

Another idea I had was to make three sisters bombs.

If anyone has any good ideas let me know.

Below are some links about seed bombs in general.

Seed bombing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Seed bombing, also known as "Seed Grenades" is a technique of introducing vegetation to arid soils or otherwise inhospitable terrains. A seed bomb is a compressed clod of soil containing live vegetation that may be thrown or dropped onto a terrain to be modified. The term "seed grenade" was first used by Liz Christy in 1973 when she started the "Green Guerillas". The first seed grenades were made from balloons filled with local wildflower seeds, water and fertilizer. The seed grenades were tossed over fences onto empty lots in New York City in order to make the neighborhoods look better. It was the start of the Guerrilla Gardening movement.

[edit] External links

The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

The Solution

Friday, February 23, 2007

NM Impeachment Resolution Public Affairs Hearing Set for Sunday, February 25th around 2PM, Room 321.

NM Impeachment Resolution Public Affairs Hearing Set for Sunday, February 25th around 2PM, Room 321.
Senators Mary Kay Papen D- Dona Ana and David Ulibarri D-Cibola, Valencia, Socorro are still the swing votes. Continue to call their offices as well as those of the Dona Ana, Cibola, Valencia and Socorro County Democratic Legislative delegations via the Capitol Switchboard: (505) 986-4300. Call the Democratic County Party Leaders in the above counties, contact info below. Ask them to pass a resolution of support and call Sen. Papen and Ulibarri. Basic Impeachment Background Here.
by Leland Lehrman h: (505) 982-3609 o: (505) 473-4458

Fearless citizen Paulette Frankl suggested I stick to action items. Here's what we need to do in order to win in Public Affairs on Sunday. Remember our neighbors in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world, and be ambitious. The official schedule will be posted on the New Mexico Legislature website later today.

1. Bring all your friends. Call everyone you know and tell them about the hearing. Call the press and ask them to cover it. Come early to get a seat, bring signs to hold outside and cameras. Memorize one phone number: 986-4300, the Capitol Switchboard. Forward this message to your lists and friends.

2. Personally visit with Senators Papen and Ulibarri in the Capitol Building. Volunteers will show you how to pull them off the floor or find them in the Roundhouse if you would like to learn the process. We have a team of volunteers who will be at the Roundhouse daily, call Terrence McCarthy at 231-8382 or David Luckey at 986-6022 to arrange. Grab your copy of the 2007 Legislative Almanac at the Information Desk. Bring multiple copies of a personal letter addressed to "Senator/Representative [Leave Name Blank]" so you can fill it in as needed. Bring copies of the resolution itself, our talking points, the New Mexico Democratic Party platform, and your favorite documentation on the subject. My favorite is James Bamford's article on ACLU vs NSA which shows that a Federal Judge has found the Bush Administration guilty as charged for violating the Constitution as well as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Senator Ortiz y Pino's latest official SJR 5 Press Release is also useful.

3. Call or visit with the other Senators and Representatives from Dona Ana, Cibola, Valencia and Socorro County. These are Senator Papen and Ulibarri's neighbors. Senators Mary Jane Garcia and Cynthia Nava, D-Dona Ana are in support. Ask them to talk with Sen. Papen. Representatives Antonio Lujan, Mary Helen Garcia and Joni Marie Gutierrez, D-Dona Ana are also in support. Ask them to speak with Senator Papen. Call Senator Linda Lovejoy, the Navajo. Ask her to support and speak with Sen. Ulibarri. Call Majority Leader Ken Martinez, D-Cibola and ask him to support and speak with Ulibarri. For Ulibarri also call Reps. George Hanosh, Elias Barela, Andrew Barreras and Irvin Harrison. For Papen also call Rep. Nunez. Many of these legislators are Democratic Party delegates and will have been at the Platform Convention to hear the roar of applause when the Impeachment Resolution passed last March. Remind them of it. Senator Tim Jennings of Roswell is reported to have influence with Senator Papen. He's on the fence, and told me you can't impeach Bush for stupidity. Let him know what it's really about, and then ask him to speak with Senator Papen.

4. Call the leaders of the Dona Ana, Cibola, Valencia and Socorro County Democratic Party, most of whom were also delegates to the Platform Convention. Ask them to pass a resolution in support of SJR 5, to announce the hearing on Sunday to the party members, to attend it, and to call their Senators. For Dona Ana County, we have two Democratic Party phone lists: the leadership list and the delegates to the Convention list. Call a page or so.

5. If you're religious, pray. If not, focus your intention.

If you can support us financially, buy an ad in this newsletter or in the Sun News. This bulletin is on the web at for those who don't have html email. Send paypal to or use the link below for credit cards.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

All Hands on Deck in Support of upcoming Public Affairs Impeachment Hearing - Senator Jeff Bingaman at the New Mexico Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 10 AM - We May Get a Chance to Petition Him on Iran and Impeachment
Senators Mary Kay Papen and David Ulibarri are the swing votes on Public Affairs. Please call their offices via the Capitol Switchboard: (505) 986-4300. Also please call Senate Public Affairs Committee Chairwoman Senator Dede Feldman encouraging her to schedule the hearing this week (Friday or Sunday) and thanking her for her leadership on the issue and her positive vote in Rules. Basic Background Here.
by Leland Lehrman h: (505) 982-3609 o: (505) 473-4458

This is it folks, over the next three to five days we are looking down the barrel of the Legislative gun. Dona Ana County Senator Mary Kay Papen, in a frank and cordial exchange of views, declared her disinclination today to support the resolution to impeach. However, it was not a hostile no, and sources close to her office consider her undecided. She expressed her openness to constituent opinion and responded favorably when I offered her a press packet with several editorials, news articles, the NM Democratic Party Platform and talking points. It is now essential that members of the Dona Ana county Democratic Party remind Senator Papen of the Democratic Party's official resolution to impeach made with overwhelming support in March of 2006. The Republicans have indicated they plan to attend the hearing. If they do, and either Ulibarri or Papen vote with them, it's over.

Public Affairs Committee Chairwoman Senator Dede Feldman decided not to take the resolution out of her committee today, fearing Republican opposition. She also asked that we limit the number of speakers at the Public Affairs Committee to five, which number I hope is still negotiable. It is essential that citizens be on standby to arrive early to get a seat at either Friday's 2:30pm hearing or Sunday's hearing if scheduled. Final date confirmation should come tomorrow. We will get a show of hands audience vote at the hearing and our presence will not be overlooked. I am also asking that those willing to support my testimony please send me their name, city and phone number such that I can invoke you all when I testify and present our petition to the Committee.

There are other things we citizens can do since urgent political action is necessary. Please contact Senator Papen's Dona Ana County Democratic Party Chairwoman Melinda Whitley at (505) 523-0470 and Vice-Chair Carlos Riis Gonzalez at (505) 202-1040. Please also call Senator Ulibarri's Cibola County Democratic Party Chairman Bruce Boynton at (505) 285-4242 and Vice Chair: Elisa Bro (505) 287-4915. (Extra Credit: Call the Valencia and Socorro County Democratic Party Leadership) Ask them to call an emergency meeting to put forward a new resolution in support of SJR 5 and to call their Senators in support. Santa Fe and Grants County have already put forward new resolutions, thank you. At bottom please find the official letter from the Santa Fe County Democrats. Feel free to use it as a template in your own county. Here is the news story on the Grants County Resolution in Support of SJR 5 Impeach Bush and Cheney:

We do have plenty of support down South. Majority Whip, Dona Ana County Senator Mary Jane Garcia signed the bill and is expected to vote in favor on Public Affairs. She - along with Reps. Antonio Lujan and Mary Helen Garcia who are also supportive - should be contacted through the switchboard (505) 986-4300 and urged to impress upon Senator Papen the importance of voting for impeachment: warrantless wiretapping, lying to congress to provoke war, ordering torture and the suspension of habeas corpus.

News Recap from the Rules Committee Hearing

Bulletin: Citizens Inspire New Mexico Rules Committee in 5-0 Vote in Favor of Impeachment Despite Republican Boycott.

When President Pro Tem Senator Ben Altamirano, the swing vote on the Rules Committee, seconded the motion to impeach, it was clear the people had done their job well. Well over one hundred people, nearly fifty of whom spoke, crammed into the Rules Committee hearing room. After impassioned speeches from the citizenry, the Democratic Senators made intelligent, straightforward comments in favor. When the final vote to impeach was cast, applause could be heard all the way outside in the halls of the Roundhouse. But there is much more to do. We have just one month to get through two more committees, the Senate floor vote, the House committees and the House floor vote.

A good summary of events at the Roundhouse last Friday can be found on the Democracy for New Mexico blog here:

But today I will focus on what we need to do now. The swing votes on the Public Affairs committee are Senators Mary Kay Papen of Las Cruces and David Ulibarri of Grants. It is essential to mention to them that the New Mexico Democratic Party overwhelmingly supported the Impeachment Resolution at the March 2006 Platform Convention:

Senator Papen was confused on this point, suggesting to me that the support was lukwarm. However, the unanimous opinion of the delegates I know who were there is that of the 1200 delegates, there were only 22 or so against. The thunderous standing ovation in favor took the gavel of the Chairman to quiet. Senator Ulibarri has spoken favorably about the resolution to us, but has not committed his vote either way.

The people of New Mexico brought us to tears in Rules. A man with his son shipping out to Iraq this week, a former CIA officer, Judge Anne Kass, Republicans for Impeachment, youth, Veterans for Peace, a Rabbi - it was amazing. There was not a single voice of opposition, as even the Republicans on the committee hid throughout the proceedings.

Although Senator Papen's vote may be difficult to get, the right amount of support from her constituents should bring it around. It certainly did in the case of Senator Altamirano. If the next committee hearing is as impressive as the last one, Senator Papen may change her mind on the spot. But in order to keep the momentum building, we need your help.

Furthermore, we urgently need to raise money for video production and extra people to monitor the press and stay on the Senators. This is where those not in New Mexico can help greatly, because with money, we can quickly turn around video production like the above and post it on Google Video. Volunteers are great, but they frequently cannot work quickly, something we must now do.

We lost time and energy due to the fact that our Senators were not aware of discouraging and erroneous information that came out in the media. We need to keep a close eye on the press and make sure that such stories are countered effectively and immediately. Extra full-time eyes and hands on the scene are now essential such that foolish mistakes don't cost us more time.

The best way to help Mother Media's impeachment efforts is to buy an advertisement in this newsletter or in our print partner, The Northern New Mexico Sun News. You can send support via paypal to or by clicking the link at the top. Checks can be sent to the address below. Thank you for helping us prevent further catastrophe at the hands of this ruthless and lawless Executive Branch.

Leland Lehrman
163 Old Lamy Trail
Lamy, NM 87540
h: (505) 982-3609 o: (505) 473-4458

To Santa Fe County Democrats,

State Senator John Grubesic of Santa Fe joined Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino of Albuquerque in sponsoring Senate Joint Resolution 5, Impeach President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. The resolution is in line with the Democratic Party Platform as established at the platform convention in March of 2006 where impeachment was put on the platform with thunderous applause by more than 95% of the 1200 delegates present.

We hope you will voice your support for the resolution by calling President Pro Tem of the Senate Ben Altamirano and Majority Leader Michael Sanchez to urge their support for the resolution. Their support is necessary for passage. Call any legislator at the switchboard: 986-4300. We also need Senators Rainaldi, Papen, Ulibarri and Martinez of the Public Affairs and Judiciary Committees.

The resolution may come before the Senate Public Affairs Committee as soon as this Friday, February 23rd around 2:30pm in Rm 303 at the Roundhouse. It will be officially posted on the Senate Committee schedule:
later this week. We hope you will make time to attend the hearing and voice your support for the resolution.

As the President ignores the American people and Congress on the subject of Iraq and prepares for war with Iran, it becomes more and more obvious that the duty of citizens is to impeach. The resolution itself lists four charges, which under Jefferson's Rules of the House can be transmitted by a State Legislature triggering Federal proceedings:

1. Lying to Congress to provoke war. 2. Ordering warrantless wiretapping. 3. Ordering torture. 4. Ordering illegal detentions.

Any one of these charges is grounds for impeachment. In the case of ACLU vs. NSA, federal judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled that the President had "indisputably violated" not only the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution, but also statutory law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

How long can we allow the Executive Branch to put itself above the law before our cherished Democratic Republic is destroyed, taking the world with it? Now is the time to act. Please attend the Rules Committee Hearing this Friday morning around 9 AM and call Senator Ben Altamirano and Majority Leader Michael Sanchez asking them to support the Democratic Party platform and the welfare of the American people and the world.


Connie Salazar, Chair Santa Fe County Resolutions Committee and Member of the NM Democratic Party Resolutions Committee

Thursday, February 15, 2007

An interview with Chellis Glendinning

Chellis Glendinning is writer and a psychologist specializing in recovery from post-traumatic stress. She is the author of Waking Up in the Nuclear Age (1987); When Technology Wounds (1990); My Name Is Chellis and I'm in Recovery from Western Civilization (1994); Off the Map: An Expedition Deep into Empire and the Global Economy (1999, 2002); and Chiva: A Village Takes on the Global Heroin Trade (2005). Off the Map won the National Federation of Press Women 2000 Book Award. I interviewed her by telephone in January, 2005.

Aric McBay: Can you tell us about the community where you are living now?

Chellis Glendinning: I live in the village of Chimayó, New Mexico. It is one of a number of villages, a village system, that was established in the 1700's and the 1800's. It was Spanish culture meeting an indigenous situation. But the people themselves were only partly Spanish. A lot of them were Mexican natives, and a number of Moors and Jews. Also there was intermarrying with Native people here in the Rio Grande Valley. And then there were also various people who were fleeing Europe, so there were Greeks, Irish, and other kinds of folk. What we call the result is Chicano, but it's a in fact a big mixture.

Each village has its own common lands that usually extend out from the village into the forest. So the setup is fairly archetypal the world around, and it's a setup of sustainable living with hunting, fishing, and small agriculture. I've been living here for more than twelve years.

AM: Can you tell us a little bit about the changes that have been happening recently in your village in terms of encroachments by the dominant culture?

CG: There's been a huge change. Such that the place is unrecognizable in a way because, in I'd say the last four years, around the turn of the millennium, the changes really started. And they all happened at once so it's hard to point to one thing. Before this, the old way was very much being lived and assumed. The old philosophy was part and parcel of every breath.

Then all of a sudden, we get the big freeway coming up from Sante Fe, we get the WalMart, we get the cell phones, we get the satellite dish. For the longest time it seemed like just one person in the village had a computer, and all of a sudden, computers became common. Right now we're just getting the Home Improvement, so when that thing opens it is going to be the end of traditional adobe architecture.

And also a lot of money that came in. So that there was new clothes, new cars, and everything changed.

AM: How are people psychologically reacting to some of the changes that you are seeing now?

CG: Well, it's very new, so that's hard to say. I think that that's something we can maybe talk about in ten years. I think that a lot of people are excited about the changes right now.

AM: Is mostly the young people who are excited about it, or is that something that spans across different ages?

CG: I think a lot of people are excited about it. For many young people, it's all they've ever known.

AM: What has the relationship of the people in your community been to the civilized people who have been increasingly encroaching over the last few decades?

CG: Well, one of the reasons why I really like living here - and I felt at home immediately - is because of the gut level mistrust of things that come in from outside.

An example is when some poor, unsuspecting bank - who did not realize that they were dealing with what we call El Norte - put an ATM machine in Chimayó.

It was out in a place that used to be a barn that had a kind of overhang. I can't think of the world in English but in Navajo it's cha-ah-o. It's got poles with a roof, cha-ah-o. A "carport"-type thing, I guess is the word. Only it wasn't made out of carport materials, it was made out of wood and brush from the forest. This was a place to where the horses from around in that area would always escape and meet with each other to hang out under the cha-ah-o. Well, this is the building where the bank decided to put the ATM machine. [Laughter]

They made that cha-ah-o thing the pull-up, so you could be protected from the rain or whatever. Not very much time went by before the guys in the village took their hunting rifles and shot the ATM to shreds. Just shot it to shreds! There was nothing left of it.

The bank just fled.

Another story is when the state come up here from the capital, Sante Fe, to put a dam in. And so they decided they were going to hire the local people from the village of Chimayó and also other villages nearby: Truchas, Córdova.

The people from the state said it was going to take about six months to do the project. Every day the guys would go up there, and this was just great, they had a job, they got money.

And they built things and whatnot, and at the end of the day they'd come back to the village and have dinner. Then in the dark of the night they'd go up there and burn down whatever it was that they'd built that day!

AM: Wow.

CG: There was a real distaste for anything coming in from the outside world. Which I'm very sorry to say has been seduced out of the people.

One of the first things that happened was that they brought in these cell phones, and they started putting towers up. It's not a tower that we have, a cell phone tower that spews microwave radiation out in 360 degrees. It's more like a relay, that's channeling radiation to the next tower.

It was put up right in our village. It's very obvious, and the act of putting it up was very obvious. But nobody did anything. I was the only one who seemed to be appalled at this thing. I had a lot of information on the health effects of microwave radiation. I can't fully explain what happened to that can-do attitude that was so prevalent before.

AM: So did you have television at this point? When the tower came in?

CG: Having technology was spotty in the beginning of my time here. Not everybody had a telephone. Very often if you called somebody you were calling the phone next door, and you would have to wait fifteen minutes while someone would go over and get them. Not everybody had a television. Not everybody had running water. Not everybody had a toilet. Certainly not everybody had a car.

I grew up in a time when the telephone numbers were things like "Fairmount one, oh-nine-hundred," "Yellowstone two, nine-five-seven-four," things like that. And then at a certain point, and I think it was in the seventies, they changed to all numbers.

I'm not bragging that this was a major Luddite act, maybe it was more an act of nostalgia on my part. But I thought, "Well, why don't we in our village," - because each village has its own unique telephone exchange - "why don't we go back to what '351' was before it got changed to all numbers?" I got these blank stares. All we really would have had to do was change the zeitgeist of three thousand people. But I got blank stares. It turned out that we didn't get phones in the village of Chimayó until the rest of the country had already changed to all numbers!

AM: I'm curious about some of the differences that you've observed from when you were - were you living in San Francisco before you moved there, or...

CG: I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and went briefly to college on the East Coast. Then I went to Berkeley and lived in the Bay Area for twenty years. Then I moved here. I moved to another village first. So I was living in another village for about seven years.

AM: I'm curious about some of the differences that you've observed between people living in the Big Cities and people living in the communities where you are. And, in general what do you think makes the dominant society, civilization, so distinct from sustainable and indigenous communities?

CG: That is an incredible topic. I don't even know if I can bring words to it. Every time I go somewhere, like the Bay area, I cannot believe it.

Somebody picks me up at the airport, let's say, who maybe I've known for a long time. They look at me, and the basic difference is that I'm wearing jeans and cowboy boots, but who cares? They look at me and I look like I'm the same person I was before. And so they start talking to me the way that they talk to each other. And I have absolutely no idea what are talking about.

I have to negotiate a massive cultural shift. Now often these are radical people with whom I agree on a lot of things, people who eat health foods and are against the war in Iraq, and are feminists and all that. But there's this bottom line difference in their set of assumptions and experiences. After two or three days I can figure out what's going on. And then I can participate in their world. But they can't know where I'm coming from.

It's been a really interesting education for me in terms of how Native people have to interface with people from the dominant society. Clearly Native people feel like they're not being understood. Where they come from - what they know - is a separate reality.

I've taken living here very seriously. I've taken it as seriously as anything I've ever done in my life. In many ways I've been assimilated into this world.

AM: I lived under a tarp in a forest defense campaign out in the woods for about six weeks at one point, and I and the other people who lived there noticed that whenever we went back into the city it was a completely different - and really very unpleasant - experience to be in that environment. And that everyone behaved in a completely manner than we did in our little autonomous collective. And I can only imagine the changes that would occur after decades of living outside of that.

CG: I can make a stab at explaining what some of these things are.

AM: Please do!

CG: One thing is that life here is face-to-face. You know everybody. And if you don't know everybody, you probably know their family. This is not mass society.

Your experience is your guide. It doesn't matter that people here don't read books, so much, that many people have not been "educated" in the way that the dominant society defines what education is.

People know about things based on experience, or based on what the culture has given them. Let's take something like "psychology." People's understanding of what the human psyche is capable of and how to deal with is is highly honed. But the understanding is not abstracted, or in the same language that you learn at psychology school.

When people talk about basic human knowledge, it's often explained in terms of stories. And that's the lifeblood of village life - the stories.

There are workshops and classes and conferences on story-telling in the dominant society, but still, in a way, it's a thing outside of ourselves. But when you are living in a culture where story-telling is the way information is passed around, it becomes second nature. It is how people know things.

There's something very human-scale about this, because that's the way that were created to understand life. There's something very handleable about it. And also there are things that emerge from that.

For instance, when story-telling forms the basis for how people know and think, there's a lot of room for people to be themselves. Out in the dominant society there are rules; you're allowed to have a tear, but you can't burst out crying. Or you can't get angry.

In this world you can be however you're going to be. Life is viewed as a process. So if one day someone's out there shouting and screaming and tearing down the fence, the next day it's back to normal. It's no big deal.

If such a thing happened in suburbia, it would be all shameful, and perhaps the family would be tainted for generations to come.

In the village life where everything hangs out and life is viewed as a process, there's no disaster if somebody has some kind of an outburst.

AM: That's great!

CG: And also, in the dominant society, there's an emphasis on achievement. Individual achievement. We might surmise that - with the loss of the connectedness to other people, to the tribe, to the natural world and to sustainable life in the natural world, with the loss of all that, and with an arising economic system emphasizing the survival of the individual or the nuclear family unit - then individual achievement becomes the meaning of life. I was dating a guy who was a local farmer, and I asked him, "What do you want for the rest of your life?"

And he said, "I hope that nothing happens."

I was dumbfounded!

I was thinking, "Well I'd like to write a whole bunch more books and have an impact, you know."

But that was his goal: he hoped that nothing would happen, that the seasons would pass and he would go hunting and grow corn and take care of his horses. But that nothing really major would happen.

AM: That certainly indicates how people in the dominant culture seem to be driven by a deep dissatisfaction about their own lives. Is there anything else you wanted to talk about in terms of the difference between the dominant society and indigenous societies?

CG: By the way, I would call the world of northern New Mexico "land-based". There are Native people who preceded these folks and still live here. Even though the Chicanos share a lot of survival practices, there is a difference in terms of length of time of being here.

I could go on and on. What it means to raise a pig and kill it, what it means to go hunting, what it means to grow corn and use every single part of the plant...

There is something here that's a problem, though, and the problem is called envidia, envy. Surely it exists out in the dominant society, but people there don't identify it as a problem. And I always think "Well, these folks here are so close to a survival that was communal." It's relatively recent that some people here got more than other people. And the dominant society came and dangled things - and so some people do have more than others: more acreage, more cars, a bigger TV, nicer cowboy boots, more cows.

In envidia, if one person rises above the others, then everybody gets upset about it. And this phenomenon is viewed as a problem. But I see it as an outgrowth of the fact that somebody could get a bunch of new stuff or could become more famous than the others - and that's a result of the brush with the dominant society. Envidia is a symptom, really.

AM: I'd like to ask about some of the psychology of people in the dominant society. We know that people have a lot of psychological defense mechanisms that prevent them from recognizing the severity of our situation and the damage that civilization is causing to the planet and to communities. And that society at large has it's own mechanisms to encourage this ignorance. You write about both of these in your book When Technology Wounds. So my question is what does it take to break down these barriers so that people can honestly perceive and recognize what is happening? Or, in other words, what will it take for the majority of people in the world to recognize the destructiveness of the dominant culture?

CG: That's the question, isn't it?

AM: [Pause] OK.

CG: [Laughter] One thing I've learned by living here is how I just responded to that question.

AM: Yes,.well, that's fair!

CG: Yeah, I'm sure I could spout off but I don't feel any reason to. We've been grappling with that problem for a long time.

AM: So, on slightly more practical note, I think that we'd agree that people in the dominant culture operate on premises that are both false and absurd. Premises like "Human beings are separate from or superior to the rest of nature," or that "Progress, capitalism and technology are both good and inevitable." And I hope that as industrial collapse progresses people will increasingly question these assumptions. So, on a more pragmatic note, how can we help people to reorient themselves away from these harmful assumptions and towards the assumptions of healthy, ecologically sane communities?

CG: One of my assumptions is that the dominant society is dysfunctional at every level and within every one of its structures. It doesn't serve people. It doesn't serve life. It doesn't enhance connectedness or beauty or spiritual meaning. It's not even sustainable. Which doesn't mean that the healing spirit doesn't find a way to express beauty or connectedness, or aid in a million ways. It does, that's what is so miraculous. But the basic morals that we're living in, the social structures, the architectural structures, the way the road is, the way the transportation is, the way you get money - anything that you could bring up is dysfunctional.

Good people have been trying on so many levels for the longest time. When I was younger I thought "Oh, well, here's the answer. Oh, here's the answer." I had that kind of an attitude about the things that I engaged in. Not to say that they weren't really good things, I always picked really good ideas and projects - but whatever it was it always remained as a small thing in the world of the dominant society. It always remained as an "alternative."

I still believe that - whether you are offering workshops to people on racism, or you're a masseuse, or you're demanding the return of land that was stolen, or you're doing natural childbirth, or you're growing your own food, or protesting the war, or you're dismantling the microwave relay stations - no matter what, it's all crucial.

Maybe I could divide the important effects into categories.

In one category would be challenging the dysfunction, saying "No," attempting to reveal it or bring it down.

On the other side would all the ways in which to say "Yes." All the ways to reconnect. All the ways to love. All the ways to enhance healing. All the ways to reach out to others, and support others in their struggles.

AM: You know that I'm writing about "collapse," and so I think a lot about people's context within the dominant society - and about how that's going to be lost for an increasing number of people. I'm trying to think about things that we can do for them if that's something that we want to do, or if that's an option that's open to us.

CG: I think we all had a chance to think about collapse in the year 2000. It was acceptable to think about it. Which is interesting. Because before that you would really be viewed as a wacko if you talked about such a thing.

"What if you don't have any electricity? And you don't have any gas in your car? And neither does anybody else?" That's really about all you have to think about to imagine it. And then you have to think about what you're going to do about that. Each one of us has a different situation.

My well is electric, so one of the things that I had to explore as 2000 was arriving was if I could get a handpump for my well. And it turned out it would have been a really stupid thing to do because it's seventy feet down. The other thing was the river was about an eighth of a mile away. And so I was thinking, how was I going to haul water from the river? Or go to the river to use the water?

But somebody who lives in an urban apartment has another challenge. And so collapse is going to be different in different places.

AM: Some of my friends find the idea of collapse really terrifying, and that's certainly understandable. I suspect that they might emotionally feel that prospect of collapse more deeply than I sometimes do. Do you have any thoughts or advice for people who find collapse really frightening, on how they can deal with those those feelings of fear, and then think about what they might have to do?

CG: I think that the act of thinking about what you need to do could help. Get practical about it. Put thought into creating a system for yourself. And that system might have to do with the other people in your apartment building. Or it might have to do with wheelbarrows. Or it might have to do with walking somewhere and meeting people. Or it might have to do with fish in the bay. Think it through. Where are you going to be? What are you going to do? Be practical. My sense is that people can prepare, but that a lot of the rest is going to be invented on the spot.

The system, as dysfunctional as it is, is keeping us alive, you know? It is what we know. The human psyche is, I believe, built to mirror the environment. We were built to mirror the sky, and the wind, and the seasons, and then to relate to them in their language.

As a psychologist, my practice is with post-traumatic stress disorder. Instead of mirroring the tribe and the human touch and the feeling of the wind and the animals, the psyche actually mirrors back the trauma, and becomes structured according to the trauma. Living in a society as we do - mass society, dysfunctional civilization - it's what we know, it's what we expect, it's how we believe that reality is. And so we have to inject ourselves with a different vision.

To begin with: how to get water. How to get food. How to deal with waste.

The puppy doesn't poop on the bed, you know. The teeniest little puppy knows that.

Back in the seventies and eighties, I was involved in the creation of a psychological process whose purpose was to get us out of denial and numbing about the nuclear arms race. It was called Despair and Empowerment, and it was a process for coming to terms with feelings so that people could face death. And therefore become active to stop the arms race. Maybe that same process could be applied to the current situation. But I'm feeling much more down-to-earth and practical about it. Today's challenge doesn't feel like a big psychological process. It feels like re-thinking how you are going to deal with water, food, and waste. And how your relationships are going to be arranged around those tasks.

AM: You talked about our minds mirroring back the world that's around us. I hope that as a lot of the industrial infrastructure and institutions are removed or become inactive, that people's minds will begin to mirror the localized communities they are creating, and begin to see the nature and living creatures and land wherever they are. How long does something like that take to happen? How long does it take for people to start to shift away from that institutionalized framework?

CG: [Pause] I don't think there's a single answer. People are going to go to what they know. For instance, I bet that a lot of people would end up hanging with the people in their churches, or their synagogues or their mosques or their sanghas. Other people might end up being in their apartment buildings. For some people it will just be completely, utterly chaotic. Some people may be caught in the subway. They may be far from home. They may have to deal with it where they are. What if you are an American soldier in Iraq, and for some reason the electricity stops working? Well, that's a different situation than me being in Chimayó. Some people will be in dangerous situations in terms of human contact. Some people will be in dangerous situations in terms of technology. They may be in danger because of something like in the BART system under the San Francisco Bay. And they are in a tunnel underneath water. You know?

AM: Yes.

CG: In the early days of the bioregional movement in the Bay Area, we were challenged to think about where we were. To think about "Where does the water come from?" Of course, people thought the water came out of the tap. "Where does it really come from? It comes from the Sierra Mountains." And to think about matters of sustainability, how the various Native peoples sustained themselves in the East Bay, in San Francisco, in Marin County. What were their ways? What kind of resources are there? In other words, basic questions of place. These are all good things to do.

When the Soviet Union broke apart in 1989 and Cuba was no longer getting aid they had to figure out how to survive. And now every single apartment in Havana has a garden.

During World War II, when all resources were being pinched inside the United States, there was a thing called the Victory Garden. It was viewed as patriotic for every single home to have a vegetable garden.

And then after the War, of course, the food corporations, and the unsustainable economy rose up again to make profit. And so then they pooh-poohed gardening and made going to the supermarket the new thing.

The other thing that you might want to have is medicine. I've always thought that the most valuable things that I have are my homeopathic medicines. Get your medicines together.

Speaking as a psychologist I'd say preparation will help people deal with feelings of fear.

AM: Ok, great.

CG: I'm sorry I can't give you more. I mean, we're just people! [Laughter] And we're dependent on this monstrous system. Most people are not in a good situation with this.

AM: Well, I think it's good for me actually, because it's helped to confirm some of the direction that I've already been taking, and the work that I've been doing on so far. I was worried, "Oh, I'm going to have to do all this elaborate research into psychology," to understand how people might respond in that situation.

CG: Crisis brings out the worst and the best. But nobody knows who's going to be which way, you know? Clearly there will be marauding people. Hungry, marauding people. Maybe with weapons. That will happen in some places. And in some places people will pull together.

Did you see the issue that Adbusters put out?

AM: I saw some content on their website, I haven't read the physical one. What did you think of it? You've read it?

CG: I actually have a piece in there under another name. It's smaller than I wrote it originally. I pretended that I was from suburbia. This exercise in imagination gave me an opportunity to think about what you would do if you were in that situation. I found myself thinking about systems that people could use. I had this idea of turning the football field into a massive community garden. And hauling water in different things that were made for other activities, like shopping carts and garbage bags and children's wagons. I imagined that the cheerleaders from the high school had gotten together and put what they knew about communicating in groups - which is an area of expertise for teenage girls - and they came up with a ritual that bonded everybody together.

But I also got a chance to think about the psychological stuff. There's a wonderful book written in the fifties by a psychiatrist named Martha Wolfenstein. It's called Disaster. There's an awful lot being written about post-traumatic stress in today's world because trauma is so prevalent in our lives at this point. But this was written earlier.

She'd done studies of communities that had gone through things like floods or fires, and she came up with an overview of what happens to a community when there is a disaster.

Even if it's non-violent, a disaster is a break with people's assumptions about reality - and where help comes from. Collapse of social and technological systems is clearly a case where we won't be sitting around waiting for the Red Cross to show up. The job of helping is going to fall upon us. To be the Red Cross, to be the police, to be the ministers, to be the mothers, to be the fathers, to be the ceremonialists, to be the farmers, everything.

If I can think of things that already exist, I would have to say that co-counseling would have a role to play.It was founded in the sixties, as a radical approach to psychotherapy. The idea was that you don't have to go to a therapist and you don't have to pay money. Co-counseling is a way for people to do it themselves. It's not "real" psychotherapy in the sense that you pay a psychotherapist is because a psychotherapist knows something about how psyches are structured; there is an expertise.

But there's an incredible wisdom to co-counseling in that it's two people talking to each other. Each one takes the agreed upon period of time to talk and express feelings, and the other one listens. And then you turn it the other way around.

Another thing is to create ceremonies to bind people together and give them strength. For some people it might be the ceremonies they've always used. For other people, it may be a process that emerges that's egalitarian and reflective of the new predicament.

AM: I also think of Augusto Boal's "Theatre of the Oppressed" - I don't know if you've heard or read much about that?

CG: Yes.

AM: It seems like some sort of theatre or drama or public performance can also be really useful for binding people together, and also for exploring feelings and relationships in a community.

CG: Yes. Great.

AM: Are there any other books or resources that you wanted to recommend or suggest?

CG: Well, my first book is called Waking up in the Nuclear Age, and that is a description of the psychological process that we developed in the 1980s. Another book with actual exercises in it is a book by one of my colleagues named Joanna Macy, Despair and Personal Power in the Nuclear Age. She collected various practices that many different people had come up with.

Again, I don't feel very highfalutin about this. I mean, in contrast to other times in my life when I felt like, "This will really work." We're talking about the breaking apart of mass society. By its nature it's got to be human-scale process. It comes down to who you are with and what you are going to do. So it's hard to be highfalutin about it because it just comes down to everybody's ingenuity and strength - wherever they find themselves.

NM Impeachment Resolution Officially On Agenda for Friday around 9:00 AM

The New Mexico Impeachment Resolution, SJR 5, will finally get its
hearing in the Rules Committee this Friday morning somewhere around
9:00 AM. The official agenda has been posted on the New Mexico
Legislature website and can be downloaded here:

Grant County Democrats on Senator Ben Altamirano's home turf in Grant
County recently strongly approved a resolution in support of
impeachment. The Silver City Sun News ran an article on the Grant
County vote which was excellent in all aspects except that it
suggested that the Resolution would have to be put to voters. Only
Constitutional amendments require a public referendum. See the article

The Santa Fe County Democratic Party recently sent a letter out to
their members and will be appearing at the Rules Committee hearing to
express their official support for the Resolution as well. Below,
please find the text of the letter.

To Santa Fe County Democrats,

State Senator John Grubesic of Santa Fe joined Senator Gerald Ortiz y
Pino of Albuquerque in sponsoring Senate Joint Resolution 5, Impeach
President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. The resolution is in line
with the Democratic Party Platform as established at the platform
convention in March of 2006 where impeachment was put on the platform
with thunderous applause by more than 95% of the 1200 delegates

We hope you will voice your support for the resolution by calling
President Pro Tem of the Senate Ben Altamirano and Majority Leader
Michael Sanchez to urge their support for the resolution. Their
support is necessary for passage. Call any legislator at the
switchboard: 986-4300. We also need Senators Rainaldi, Papen, Ulibarri
and Martinez of the Public Affairs and Judiciary Committees.

The resolution will probably come before the Rules Committee this
Friday, February 16th around 9:00 AM in Rm 321 at the Roundhouse. It
will be officially posted on the Rules Committee schedule at on Wednesday, Feb. 14th. We hope you will
make time to attend the hearing and voice your support for the

As the President ignores the American people and Congress on the
subject of Iraq and prepares for war with Iran, it becomes more and
more obvious that the duty of citizens is to impeach. The resolution
itself lists four charges, which under Jefferson's Rules of the House
can be transmitted by a State Legislature triggering Federal

1. Lying to Congress to provoke war.
2. Ordering warrantless wiretapping.
3. Ordering torture.
4. Ordering illegal detentions.

Any one of these charges is grounds for impeachment. In the case of
ACLU vs. NSA, federal judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled that the President
had "indisputably violated" not only the First and Fourth Amendments
of the Constitution, but also statutory law, the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act.

How long can we allow the Executive Branch to put itself above the law
before our cherished Democratic Republic is destroyed, taking the
world with it? Now is the time to act. Please attend the Rules
Committee Hearing this Friday morning around 9 AM and call Senator Ben
Altamirano and Majority Leader Michael Sanchez asking them to support
the Democratic Party platform and the welfare of the American people
and the world.


Connie Salazar, Chair Santa Fe County Resolutions Committee and Member
of the NM Democratic Party Resolutions Committee

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Impeachment Vigil Kicks Off

Vigil in support of Impeachment Resolution before the New Mexico Legislature;

When: Every day, Monday through Friday, beginning this Monday, Feb. 12 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.

Where: East side of Capitol Building in Santa Fe, Paseo De Peralta and Old Pecos Trail.

What: We will display banners and signs along the street and intersection supporting Impeachment and SJR 5. We will collect signatures on petitions supporting SJR 5 from lunch time pedestrian traffic coming to and from the Capitol. Blank Petitions, clipboards, and extra signs are available.

A dignified vigil and one on one contacts through the petition efforts will help move this important legislation forward. Please help as much as possible and pass the word to others. for further info; reply to this eail or call 867-4801

Friday, February 09, 2007

Land of Impeachment

Rules Committee Hearing Postponed Until Next Friday, Rally and Lobbying To Take Place of Hearing at Roundhouse Same Time.
Calls to Senator Altamirano and Sanchez Still Necessary and Helpful

After hours of back and forth, the previously scheduled Rules Committee hearing tomorrow, Friday, February 9th, 9AM was postponed one week by Chairwoman Linda Lopez. For information on why that happened, feel free to call her office at 986-4737. We encourage everyone to come anyway and lobby Senators personally, especially those from down South where we need the most support with Senators Altamirano and Papen. There are caravans already in motion, and we will all be here to greet them. The rally will again feature the Senate Sponsors Ortiz y Pino and Grubesic as well as citizen speakers.

A direct conversation with Senator Altamirano today indicated that he was not in fact against receiving phone calls, he just wanted people to know that he was not the one who gave the bill three committees. As it turns out, Senator Ortiz y Pino himself gave the bill three committees, hoping it would generate momentum going to the floor vote. Although it will take longer to move the bill, no one can judge the Senator's decision because the outcome is still uncertain. There is still plenty of time to move this bill if it gets enough support from the people. Don't be discouraged.

Also, it's time to engage the Republicans directly. We will need them to understand our position and have it explained to them in the light of day, so that even if they disagree, at least we discussed it as neighbors. Senators Rod Adair of Roswell and Kent Cravens of Albuquerque especially could use some respectful, informed discussion on the matter prior to the hearing. Call the Capitol Switchboard at 986-4300 for all contact information.

And keep the calls coming in to Senators Altamirano and Sanchez. As it turns out, neither is steadfastly opposed to the bill, and Altamirano is inclined to look favorably on it. They are listening to their constituents on the matter and that means its time to let them know how you feel.

by Leland Lehrman (505) 982-3609

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Resolution to Impeach President and Vice President, Friday, Feb 9th, 9AM Rm 321 at the NM State Capitol

New Mexico Resolution to Impeach President and Vice President in Senate Rules Committee Hearing this Friday, Feb 9th, 9AM Rm 321 at the NM State Capitol
Contact: Leland Lehrman, Impeach Bush and Cheney New Mexico, (505) 982-3609

Back on January 23rd, Senators Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D-Albuquerque) and John Grubesic (D-Santa Fe) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 5 , to Impeach President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. Along with six other Democratic Senators, including the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Cisco McSorley (D-Albuquerque), they charged the President with lying to Congress to provoke war, illegal spying on Americans, ordering torture and ordering illegal detentions in violation of statute and the Constitution. Over one hundred citizens assembled for the two hour press conference on that date, nearly half of whom spoke passionnately from the podium in favor of the resolution. New Mexico TV Station KRQE ran the story on the evening news including an interview with the Senator. (1)

Jack Cafferty of CNN covered the event and reported, "[Although] House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said impeachment is quote, 'off the table' not everybody is so sure about that," explained Cafferty. "Two New Mexico state senators have introduced a resolution calling on Congress to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney. The measure accuses Mr. Bush and Cheney of misleading Congress about the war in Iraq, torturing prisoners and violating Americans' civil liberties through the domestic spy program. One of the sponsors told a crowd of supporters 'We created a ripple. Your voice is going to turn it into a tidal wave hopefully.' Well the way it works is that a state of course, cannot mandate impeachment of a president but the impeachment charges can be forwarded to the House of Representatives.... The fact that the issue of impeaching a sitting president is being discussed seriously in a state legislature like New Mexico's speaks volumes." (2)

Now, the pro-impeachment Senators will meet their first challenge in the Senate Rules Committee on Februrary 9th at 9AM in Room 321 of the New Mexico State Capitol Building. Organizers expect a huge turnout at the hearing and have fielded expert witnesses, veterans and religious figures to testify. Groundswell support for impeachment has begun as the President ignores the nation and elections regarding the war in Iraq and hostility towards Iran. According to Newsweek, 51% of Americans believe impeachment should be either a high or medium priority.(3) Over the past weekend, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. interviewed Sean Penn who made the case for impeachment on Air America (4) and four pro-impeachment editorials appeared in the Santa Fe New Mexican 's Sunday editorial section (5).

Three citizen editorials (6) ran alongside that of James Bamford, NSA chronicler and plaintiff in the ACLU lawsuit against the NSA and the Administration over warrantless wiretaps. Bamford pointed out that one of the central charges against Nixon was illegal wiretaps on seventeen phone lines, and that the Bush Administration is guilty of thousands of such wiretaps. Entitled, " Bush Is Not Above the Law," (7) Bamford's editorial spelled out the case against the Administration:

"Last Aug. 17, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of the United States District Court in Detroit issued her ruling in the A.C.L.U. case. The president, she wrote, had "undisputedly violated" not only the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution, but also statutory law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Enacted by a bipartisan Congress in 1978, the FISA statute was a response to revelations that the National Security Agency had conducted warrantless eavesdropping on Americans. To deter future administrations from similar actions, the law made a violation a felony punishable by a $10,000 fine and five years in prison."

He concludes, "To allow a president to break the law and commit a felony for more than five years without even a formal independent investigation would be the ultimate subversion of the Constitution and the rule of law."

Although the Bush administration is making some half-hearted attempts to negotiate with the Judicial Branch regarding their illegal programs, the New Mexico Senate has begun formal impeachment proceedings citing Jefferson's Rules of the House which allow impeachment charges to be transmitted by a State Legislature . (8) If the Resolution passes in New Mexico, and these charges are brought before the United States House by any one single Member, a mandatory debate of one hour on the subject is prescribed by the rules of parliamentary procedure. The resolution is then assigned to the US Judiciary Committee. Rep. John Conyers, the current Chair of Judiciary, pointedly declared at the recent antiwar demonstrations in DC that Congress can fire the President. (9)

It may be that a Resolution from a State Legislature is all that's necessary to trigger federal impeachment proceedings. In New Mexico, it's the official policy of the Democratic Party. (10)

(9) (in the video) &

Monday, February 05, 2007

City Slinkers

Clues from other than human neighbors on how to exist in a world gone mad . . .

Why are coyotes, those cunning denizens of the plains and rural west, moving into urban centers like Chicago and Washington, D.C.?

Ken Ferebee was one of the first to notice. He's a National Park Service biologist assigned to Rock Creek Park, a 1,755-acre swath of woods, ball fields and picnic areas in the heart of Washington, D.C. Since 2004, he'd observed that deer killed by cars were mysteriously being dragged away, and he’d heard strange yips and yowls. Then, a year ago, he saw a coyote dart across a road just after dawn.

The coyote, that cunning canine of wide-open spaces, has come to the nation's capital. And to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities. In fact, coyotes have spread to every corner of the United States, shifting their behaviors to fit new habitats and spurring researchers to cope with a worrisome new kind of carnivore: the urban coyote.

In a clearing near the edge of Rock Creek Park, Ferebee stomps through dense thornbushes and peeks under the roots of a fallen tree at a coyote den. He says it probably sheltered newborn pups a few months earlier. Ferebee says that largely because of their taste for livestock, "Coyotes have a bad rap, like wolves." He stoops to look for coyote scat. "We’re not going to catch them," he adds. "I don't see it as a bad thing for a park. I see it as good for keeping animal populations in control, like the squirrels and the mice."

Coyotes originally inhabited the middle of the continent, between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River, and Alberta, Canada, and central Mexico. In 1804, Lewis and Clark dubbed the animal the "prairie wolf." In 1823, naturalist Thomas Say gave it the Latin name Canis latrans, or barking dog. One of its most celebrated traits is its trickiness; coyotes have been outsmarting trappers for centuries. Recently, biologist Jon Way, who has been studying the predators in Massachusetts, set a trap near the Boston Airport. Coyotes somehow snagged the rib meat put out as bait without getting caught. In the Navajo version of the creation of the world, old men had just finished embroidering the sky in brilliant patterns when the trickster Coyote ran across their work, scattering the stars.

The coyote's craftiness made the animal a notorious pest to Western sheep farmers and, occasionally, cattle ranchers. In the mid-19th century, cowboys carried sacks of strychnine in their saddlebags to inject into animal carcasses, to poison the coyotes that scavenged them. A 1927 Literary Digest article said Kansas ranked the coyote "in the category of evils alongside beer, cigarettes and Wall Street." Ranchers and hunters, as well as a federal agency called Predator and Rodent Control—a forerunner of today's Wildlife Services—trapped, shot and poisoned more than a million coyotes in the 1900s. It’s still one of America's most hunted animals; in 2003, Wildlife Services killed 75,724 of them.

Yet the coyote has persevered. By the end of the 20th century, the animal had colonized the tundra of Alaska, the tropical forests of Panama and the urban jungle of New York City. (The only major landmass in the eastern United States where you can't find the coyote is Long Island, although they have been spotted trying to swim across Long Island Sound.) How has the coyote pulled off this extraordinary feat? "I guess if you wanted to use one word, it'd be 'plasticity,'" says Eric Gese, a predator ecologist at Utah State University. Coyotes can live alone, as mated pairs, or in large packs like wolves; hunt at night or during the day; occupy a small territory or lay claim to 40 square miles; and subsist on all sorts of food living or dead, from lizards and shoes, to crickets and cantaloupes. Although their native diet consists of small rodents, Gese has seen a pack take down a sick elk in Yellowstone National Park. "Coyotes are without a doubt the most versatile carnivores in America, maybe even worldwide," says Marc Bekoff, an animal behaviorist who has studied them for 30 years.

People unwittingly helped coyotes flourish when they exterminated most of the wolves in the United States. Coyotes became top dog, filling the wolf's ecological niche. Deforestation and agriculture opened up previously dense tracts of forest, and human settlements, with their garbage, vegetable gardens, compost piles and domestic pets, provided food.

The expansion of coyotes into urban areas, though, is recent. Until the 1990s, the farthest that coyotes had ventured into Chicago was to forested reserves near the city limits. But "something happened," says Stan Gehrt, a wildlife biologist at Ohio State University, "something we don't completely understand." Within ten years the coyote population exploded, growing by more than 3,000 percent, and infiltrated the entire Chicago area. Gehrt found territorial packs of five to six coyotes, as well as lone individuals, called floaters, living in downtown Chicago. They traveled at night, crossing sidewalks and bridges, trotting along roads and ducking into culverts and underpasses. One pair raised pups in a drainage area between a day care facility and a public pool; a lone female spent the day resting in a tiny marsh near a busy downtown post office. Perhaps most surprising to Gehrt, Chicago's urban coyotes tended to live as long as their parkland counterparts. No one knows why coyotes are moving into cities, but Gehrt theorizes that shrewder, more human-tolerant coyotes are teaching urban survival skills to new generations.

In Southern California, where coyotes have been living among people since the onset of urban sprawl after World War II, the animals have become more numerous in the past 20 years or so. There have been at least 160 attacks on people in the United States in the past 30 years, most in the Los Angeles County area. The majority were bites, often inflicted while people were protecting their pets. One coyote attack, on a 3-year-old girl playing in her front yard in Glendale in 1981, was fatal. Afterward, residents of the Los Angeles suburb started a campaign to educate people about not feeding coyotes or leaving pet food and garbage unsecured. That, plus an intensive trapping program in the neighborhood, cut down on the coyote population.

The coyote's affinity for life in the big city has surprised many researchers. But odder still is the coyote's propensity for breeding with wolves. Canine species within the genus Canis, which includes coyotes, wolves and domestic dogs, are capable of interbreeding, but they usually stick with their own kind. The "coywolf" hybrid is larger than a purebred coyote. It is found in northeastern Minnesota, southern Ontario and southern Quebec, Maine and New York. Researchers recently studied the genetic profiles of 100 coyotes killed by hunters in Maine. Of those animals, 23 had some wolf genes. Most crosses occur between male wolves and female coyotes. Some of the hybrids go on to mate with other hybrids, creating what one researcher calls a "hybrid swarm" that has the potential to evolve into a new species. Eastern coyotes are heftier than those in the West: one coyote in Maine tipped the scales at 68 pounds, a far cry from the slim 15-pounders in the Great Plains. Researchers don't know if the larger Eastern coyotes carry wolf genes or have independently evolved a larger size. Or they may just have a richer diet, with plenty of access to deer.

Should the urban coyote be viewed with trepidation? "Some people have fears that kids are going to be the next ones to be eaten," says Way. "I tell them coyotes have been at the edges of their neighborhoods for years." Way emphasizes coyotes can be an asset to urban ecosystems, keeping a check on deer, rodents, Canada geese and other animals that thrive on the suburbs' all-you-can-eat buffet.

At his office in Rock Creek Park, just out of range of the park's eerie coyote choruses, Ken Ferebee flips through photographs of the capital's coyotes, taken by a motion-sensitive camera installed in the park. He pauses at one arresting shot: two burly coyotes stare into the camera, heads tilted, yellow eyes glinting. Their expression and confident stance defy the stereotype of a cowardly varmint always running the other direction. These coyotes look curious, fearless and eager to explore the big city.