Obama wins, big snows and Spud succumbs
– 10 YEARS AGO – ‘Obama wins; now the work begins’
By Andy Dennison Nov. 6, 2008
Reporter Andy Dennison interviewed campaign workers for both the winner, Sen. Barak Obama, now President Obama, and the loser, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona. All were exhausted, but both looked ahead.
“America has spoken and we’re all Americans,” said Republican Party chairman Mike Dobbs. “The party leadership is meeting today to figure out what happened and where to go from here.
Meanwhile, Democrats were delighted, of course, since their candidate won. But it was also a historical win: the first African American elected U.S. president. “I’m exhausted,” said organizer Bonnie Golden. “It’s been a long three months. But, wow!”
New Mexico voters went overwhelmingly for Obama, 54 percent to 42 percent for McCain. It was the moment New Mexico flipped from red to blue, at least in a presidential election: four years earlier, New Mexico had narrowly re-elected President George W. Bush over his Democratic opponent, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.
– 25 YEARS AGO –
‘Ol’ man winter says ‘hi’ By Mike Stauffer
Nov. 4, 1993
OK, President Trump may say that climate change is a Chinese hoax, but something is going on.
Twenty-five years ago Taos skiers were dusting off their boards and boots on Halloween when a foot-and-a-half of snow fell in Taos Ski Valley, Angel Fire got 16 inches and Llano Quemado, south of town, got 14 inches.
This year, Taos got a delightful Halloween dusting, but the snow accumulation at Taos Ski Valley was only about 7 inches and less than an inch in town. And, last year was one of the worst snow years on record for Northern New Mexico.
The thermometer dropped that week in 1993, too, in a way we haven’t seen lately: On Halloween Taos recorded a low of 5 degrees. However, the high was about what we have now at 57 degrees.
According to the weather numbers reported in 1993, the town of Taos historically does not get much precipitation in town in November, an average of .77 inches between 1931 and 1983. However, the thermometer does usually take a tumble, with an average low of 20 degrees. We certainly aren’t there yet this year. Our lows are in the 30s.
– 50 YEARS AGO – ‘Spud Johnson succumbs’ Staff report Nov. 7, 1968
Richard Milhous Nixon may have been elected president this day in 1968—and won Taos County as well— but the more pertinent news in Taos was that Walter Willard “Spud” Johnson had died in a Santa Fe hospital.
Johnson is remembered today as a writer, editor, publisher and poet who knew many of the literary and art figures in Taos at the beginning of the last century. He was truly a Taos character. And, at one point he published a newspaper called The Horse
Fly and wrote a column under the same name for The Taos News and wrote a column for
The New Mexican called “The
Gadfly.” Today, The Horse Fly is a separate publication once again and not published by either the News or The New Mexican.
Oh, and Taos’ Spud Johnson has nothing to do with the Spud Johnson who played American baseball in the 19th century. That’s James Ralph “Spud” Johnson.
Johnson’s publishing career began far away from Taos when he was a student in 1920 at the University of California,
Berkeley, and his publication then was called The Laughing Horse. While at Berkeley, he also met his friend and partner, the poet and former UC professor Witter Bynner, who eventually moved to Santa Fe with Johnson.
The Laughing Horse made fun of most things academic and uptight. As a result of its irreverence toward the administration, printing excerpts from Upton Sinclair’s scathing indictment of American education called “The Goose Step” among other things. (In light of the sometimes violent demonstrations in the name of academic freedom at Berkeley in 1965, it may seem Johnson was way ahead of his time.)
The magazine even became embroiled in an obscenity case although apparently it was dismissed immediately by a police court. Nevertheless, the magazine was banned from campus in 1922 and one editor was expelled from school.
The object of the charges has a Taos connection. It was a review written by D.H. Lawrence in apparently unacceptable language that, while letters in the objectionaable words were lined out, still came through as inappropriate. He was reviewing a book by Ben Hecht, which had also been the focus of an obscenity suit by the federal government because it questioned current American morality in no uncertain terms.
After Johnson moved to Santa Fe and eventually to Taos, he continued to publish The Laughing Horse from time to time up until 1930 and then published one last issue in 1938. During those years he hung out with D.H. Lawrence, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Georgia O’Keeffe and all the Taos illuminati.
After his death, his papers and correspondence were donated to UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library and also the Yale University Library.
Obama supporters clap and throw up their arms after hearing Ohio election results in 2005 at Bareiss Gallery.
A young Taoseño holds an Obama poster.