Swickard: Roping Roy, The Wonderful Western Mascot

© 2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. - Sometimes things matter little in the grand scheme of things but matter much to me. Historical truth is one of those things. Last week Oklahoma State University and New Mexico State University got officially crossways over their mutual mascot Pistol Pete.
      Truth be known I know the story better than most since it is my article from the 1980s that touched this dispute off. You might wonder: why it took twenty-five years to come to lawyers? That is not what bothers me. For me the problem is: when NMSU was made aware they decided to lie their way out rather than be a stand-up institution.
      As to Pistol Pete, I thought years ago NMSU would say, "Whoops," and pick a better mascot such as my suggestion "Roping Roy, the Wonderful Western Mascot." Best I can tell the name is still open if NMSU can muster a "Whoops" about Pistol Pete.
      Pistol Pete is one of five historical issues I have had with NMSU over the years. One was NMSU celebrating its centennial on the wrong year. Seriously. Worse, they were two years off. The way I discovered it was that I was hired to write an article about how NMSU celebrated in the then year of 1988, along with 1938 and 1913. I was supposed to document how institutional celebrating changed over the years.
      To my surprise in the 1930s and the 1950s NMSU (known then by a different name) quietly moved their start date back a year each time. The undisputed fact is NMSU was started by Hiram Hadley, the first university president. And, he was in charge of the 25th year celebration which he held in 1915.
      That is a fact. He knew when the university started because he was there. And the 40th anniversary celebration was held in 1930. Nothing but facts. Both stolen years were done for a "Good reason" much like stealing Pistol Pete along with stealing "Crimson Pride" from the Crimson Tide. Not that it really matters. It just looks stupid.
       Another controversy involved the NMSU yearbook, The Swastika. In 1983 the "Flan hit the fan" about NMSU having a yearbook named The Swastika. I was the head photographer of the 1969 Swastika so I thought I knew all about it.
      The Albuquerque Journal's Impact Magazine hired me to cover the controversy. Seems the first yearbook in 1907 had no Swastikas in it, rather, the name was a Sanskrit word meaning "An auspicious beginning." Along the way Swastika symbols were added and when Hitler ruined the name most organizations quietly cast it off. Not NMSU. The made up a new history: it was a Navajo word meaning "Peace and harmony for all people."
      The Navajo Language Dictionary says it is a symbol with no meaning. The core issue is that no one thought of NMSU when they saw the Swastika. But there was a brisk battle between the people thinking they were supporting the Native Americans and people wanting to support the protesting Jewish community. After my story came out NMSU changed the name of the yearbook to the Phoenix, and killed the yearbook shortly thereafter.
      About that same time I noticed that the NMSU's War Memorial had one name that should not be there and was missing a very important name. It had the name of a graduate who was killed in the Pancho Villa Raid, but was not in the military so that name should not be there. And little Eugene Casey from the Class of 1898, who died in the Spanish American War was entirely left out. I was told it was too expensive to correct it.
      Finally, there is a Kent Hall on campus named for Harry Kent, a beloved president who had a credential problem that showed up his 14th year as president. The powers that be let him leave quietly and named a building for him.
      Each of these historical issues are not particularly egregious, but they do tarnish the reputation of a research university. Worse, in each case the NMSU leaders have known the truth but decided to lie rather than just say "Whoops" and then correct the issue.
      I like Roping Roy, the Wonderful Western Mascot.
Dr. Michael Swickard is co-host of radio talk show News New Mexico 6 to 9 a.m. Monday - Friday on a number of New Mexico radio stations and through streaming. Email: michael@swickard.com

APS considers asking state to reevaluate testing, evaluations

From KOAT-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Standardized testing and teacher evaluations in New Mexico schools have been at the core of controversy this year, and Albuquerque Public Schools may be joining other districts in holding off on both.
      Santa Fe and Rio Rancho public schools have both gone to the state asking for a delay in implementing new testing and evaluations. APS wants to find out if all of the testing is needed.
      “I think parents and teachers feel like there is too much testing going on,” said APS board member Marty Esquivel. “So what we really need to do is get to the bottom of what tests can we can pull back on that we have the authority to pull back on.”
      To do that, the school board will soon decide of having a resolution that delays data for the teacher evaluations for two years and holds of on some of the testing. The district will use the delay time to ask the state to reevaluate all of the testing.
      The APS board will consider asking for a delay next Wednesday. More

Army communications tested in New Mexico desert training

From the El Paso Times - by David Burge - DO√ĎA ANA RANGE COMPLEX, N.M. >> Tanks, Bradleys and other armored vehicles rumble through the desert north of the Fort Bliss Garrison.
      Soldiers hurry about, doing their daily duties while immersed in round-the-clock operations designed to replicate realistic combat conditions as closely as possible.
      It is all part of the twice-a-year Network Integration Evaluation which turns the vast Fort Bliss training area into a giant testing ground for the latest Army equipment used mostly for its communications and data networks.
      About 3,800 soldiers from Fort Bliss' 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division are participating in the exercise this month. The idea is to test network and communications equipment under austere conditions using real soldiers in the field, said Col. Jim Crider, deputy commander of the Brigade Modernization Command, which plans and manages the NIE, as it is more commonly called.
      Another 1,200 soldiers and Department of Defense civilian employees from around the Army also came out to support the exercise as data collectors and observer-controllers. New equipment is placed in Army vehicles and is used by soldiers. It is also jostled around as soldiers go about their combat missions during the exercise. More


Marita Noon: EU climate compromise ~ I will if you will

Commentary by Marita Noon - After the 2009 Copenhagen global climate conference failed to produce a legally-binding global treaty to replace the lapsing Kyoto Protocol, climate campaigners are eager to put some kind of win on the board. Therefore, despite threats to veto the deal and discussions that ran into the wee hours, the European Union’s agreement on a new set of climate and energy goals is being heralded as “a new global standard”—though it is really more “I will, if you will.”
      On Thursday October 23, 28 European leaders met at a summit in Brussels to reach a climate deal that would build on previous targets of a 20 percent cut in greenhouse gases, a 20 percent boost in the use of renewable sources, and a 20 percent increase in energy efficiency, from the benchmark year of 1990, by 2020.
      Prior to the meeting, countries such as Poland (which wanted to protect its coal industry) and Portugal (which has excess renewable energy that it cannot, currently, export to the rest of Europe) threatened to block the deal. Poorer states in Eastern Europe feared new cuts in carbon output would hurt them economically by slowing business growth. Industrialists complained that the new regulations would discourage business and investment in the bloc, at a time when its faltering economy can ill afford to lose it.
      In an interview with Reuters before the summit, Connie Hedegaard, European Climate Commissioner, declared: “There should not be problems that could not be overcome.” As predicated, a deal was struck—though the current team of commissioners steps aside in days and the new commission will have to finesse the implementation. Read full column

Ebola: NM not implementing mandatory quarantines

From KOAT-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Controversy is swirling around the East Coast after New York and New Jersey both implemented mandatory quarantine orders for anyone returning from Ebola stricken areas in Africa.
     Initially those orders included mandatory 21-day quarantines. They came after a doctor tested positive for Ebola in Brooklyn last week. Minnesota, Illinois, Florida, Maine, Maryland and Virginia have since implemented similar orders.
      New Mexico is not implementing mandatory quarantines for such travelers or health care workers however.
      Scrutiny surrounded them after Kaci Hickox was placed under mandatory quarantine. She arrived in New Jersey during the weekend after spending time in Africa. She’s since been released after threatening to sue New Jersey for infringing upon her freedoms. More

Kirk, Bairstow and Snell make the cut

From KRQE-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Three former Lobos have made the final cut, and are now imprinted onto the 2014-15 fifteen-man roster. Alex Kirk is now a Cleveland Cavalier. Kirk had a good showing in his pre-season debut. He appeared in four games and averaged 5.5 points, 3 rebounds, and a block.
     The Chicago Bulls now have not one but two former Lobos on their roster for the upcoming season. Tony Snell made the squad last year and even saw a good amount of playing time. This year the Bulls took on the 6’9″ center Cameron Bairstow. Bairstow was named to the All-MWC first team just a year ago. We will see how he fairs in the NBA
      Another former Lobo NBA hopeful, Drew Gordon, was unfortunately cut from the 76ers’ roster Saturday. More

Tribe's high court orders candidate off ballot

From KOAT-TV.com - FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. —A candidate for president of the Navajo Nation has lost another round in a language fluency dispute, all but ending his bid for office.
The tribe's high court on Wednesday upheld a ruling from a lower court that said Chris Deschene is not qualified to seek the top elected post because he doesn't speak fluent Navajo.
      But the high court didn't rule on the merits of the case. Instead, the justices dismissed it over lack of jurisdiction because Deschene did not include a copy of his disqualification order with his notice of appeal.
      Deschene has said he's proficient in the language.
       The Supreme Court says election officials must move up the third-place finisher from the primary election. It's unclear whether Navajos will choose a new tribal president on Nov. 4. More

Imus Ranch for sale with $32 M price tag

From Albuquerque Business First, by Gary Gerew Assistant Editor, Albuquerque Business First - Radio personality Don Imus is selling his 2,400-acre ranch east of Santa Fe.
      According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Imus said he is selling the property because he and his family believe they can support more charitable foundations with funds generated by the sale.
      The ranch was created 16 years ago as a recreational facility for children with cancer.
      The sale is being handled by Craig Huitfeldt of the Bell Tower Keller Williams agency in Santa Fe. The listing price is $32 million.
      According to the listing, the ranch, which is located about 45 miles east of Santa Fe, has more than 29,000 square feet of living quarters in 11 structures and an additional 35,000 square feet of barns, garages, greenhouses and sheds in another 10 different structures. More

Marita Noon: Shouldn't be we fighting a war on terrorism not on fossil fuels?

Commentary by Marita Noon - It's not just a war on coal, the Obama Administration is gunning for oil & gas too - “You are responsible for President Obama’s re-election,” I told 150 folks from the oil and gas industry —most of whom were conservative Republicans. I spoke to them on October 15 in San Angelo, TX. A reporter covering the eventwrote that I “stunned the crowd by telling them they were largely responsible for getting the president re-elected, and asking them if they knew how they had helped.” He continued: “The room was very quiet for several moments as Noon waited to see if anyone would volunteer an answer.”
      We know President Obama has been waging a war on coal—with tens of thousands of jobs lost due to his attacks since he was elected in 2008, but why has the oil and gas industry escaped the harsh regulations that have virtually shut down both coal mining and coal-fueled power plants? After all, we know his environmentalist base—with whom he is philosophically aligned—hates them equally.
      The reporter added: “Finally someone suggested it was job creation that Noon was alluding to.”
      The oil and gas industry has added millions of jobs to the U.S. economy in the past six years and represents the bright spot in the jobs numbers. Imagine where the unemployment numbers would be if the oil and gas industry had been treated as poorly as coal.
      While President Obama hasn't had an outright war on oil and gas, he surely hasn’t helped—and his surrogates have been out fighting on his behalf. Read full column

Dentists told to look out for Ebola symptoms

From KRQE-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The threat of Ebola in New Mexico is getting the attention of a lot of healthcare workers and now dentists. New guidelines have been released as to how dentists should handle patients. With hospitals tightening Ebola protocol, dentists are taking notice as well.
      “We see people all the time that may be sick and may not be sick.” Dr. Robert Gherardi, an Albuquerque dentist, said they’re always looking at a patient’s health. “I think dentistry has always been a little more aware of those things than the typical medical office.”
      Dr. Gherardi also explained that they will be asking more about travel history, if someone shows signs like a fever, coughing and body aches. With flu season fast approaching, anyone with those symptoms will likely be rescheduled.
       An infectious disease consultant for the American Dental Association says the extra measures will be around for a while. “I think people need to be rational, they need to be clinical, they need to be scientific and they need to be careful about unnecessary fear and paranoia,” Dr. John Molinari said. “Our chances of an Ebola patient coming into a dental office in New Mexico is pretty rare. Although, we have to be aware of it.”
      When asking about a patient’s travel history, Dr. Gherardi said his staff will also ask about travel to Dallas. Thomas Duncan, who was visiting Dallas from Liberia, an Ebola-stricken country in West Africa, died of Ebola at a hospital there. Two nurses who treated him are now infected.
       A lot of agencies are making changes to their policies when it comes to Ebola. The Albuquerque Fire Department is asking first responders to be extra cautious when dealing with someone showing signs of a fever. More