The always wait until next year NMSU football program

Afternoon football at NMSU without many fans early or at all
© 2015 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.   As I have done for most of fifty years I have New Mexico State University Football Season Tickets. Over the years there has been a complete lack of Aggie success. NMSU has not gone to a post-season Bowl since Eisenhower was president.
            This has not been due to individual players or coaches, nor has luck played a part. But there have been questionable leadership decisions that are keeping the Aggie football program from being competitive.
            Today’s collegiate teams require a large fan base. NMSU has had no success filling the stadium. Each new coach strides into Las Cruces a conquering lion and slinks out of town a slaughtered lamb. It is the administration that chases the fans and dooms the coaches.
            The faithful season ticket holders are a small loyal group. Otherwise the stadium seats are empty except if local high school teams are playing and then the stadium fills up.
            The question each year: will this Aggie football team finally be successful? Then in October the faithful are forced to say, “Just wait until next year.”
            That said, I have enjoyed moments in many of the seasons, and have gone decades repeating “wait until next year.” I have liked many Aggie players, coaches and some college administrators.
            The exception was the late 1980s, when I looked like a dog chewing hot pitch as I left the stadium. During that stretch the Aggies had four wins and 40 losses.
            I believe that the reason for the lack of success is that for four decades NMSU has been selling losses. Playing powerhouse teams for money when NMSU has no real chance of winning began as a temporary tactic to cover a budget shortfall but continues even now. Some teams try it a few years and give up. Not the Aggies.
            On September 5th the Aggies take on the Florida Gators for money, rather than competition. Then October 10th they take on Ole Miss again for money not competition. NMSU doesn't have any chance to win.
            NMSU's money-game record is horrible. And it isn't just the seventy or now eighty or a hundred sold losses that hurt. The Aggies play powerhouse teams that are much bigger. Aggie players are often hurt thereby causing the team to lose games later in the season that could have been won.
            The rest of the 2015 NMSU Football schedule looks playable. Some of the games can be won if the team doesn't get devastated playing the much bigger teams for money.
            I'll be there cheering but I am angry that the team gets beat up and has two losses outside of their own making. Football programs are judged by their win/loss records with no asterisk for money games. There is never a time when the NMSU football program should sell a loss.
            Selling football losses to support high salaries castrates the program. All NMSU has gotten over the decades is the need to sell even more losses. I have complained in my columns about this for thirty years. I am told every time that I just don't understand. Yep, I don't, even though I have a Ph.D. in Educational Administration.
            NMSU’s primary goal should be to fill the stadium for every home game. How do you do that? By playing teams NMSU can beat. And becoming Bowl Eligible. This isn't Rocket Science.
            Every year I am painfully aware of the near-empty stadium toward the end of each season and sometimes from the get-go. Each successive athletics department has reasons why filling the stadium cannot be done. Year after year, decade after decade comes a long litany of people who do not fill the stadium for every game.
            Collegiate Football is part of the institutional identity. Those who say NMSU can do without football are not viewing students, town residents and alumni as consumers. The university must have a viable football program. The Aggies must concentrate on playing teams they can beat and break the Bowl Game curse.
            NMSU needs to develop an effective process of moving from mediocre to good to great. Teams like Boise State have done that. Start smart and small. Build the program not by selling losses. Every great team fills their stadium.

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The movement to ban all air conditioning

Passenger side air conditioning in 1953 for my aunt and uncle
© 2015 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  For most of our country's history what we wanted was fine if we worked for it and did not cheat anyone. But now we are talking about changing the debate to: you should only have what you absolutely need, not that other stuff you want.
            Take money. the Socialists among us talk constantly about the fact that people don't need as much money as they have. This is especially so for those who have money left over at the end of the month. Shouting about income inequality there is a move to take from the rich and give to the poor until everyone, regardless of how hard they work, has the same as everyone else.
            But there is something worse. Money is one thing, air conditioning is another. A headline caught my attention: New York University Professor Wants Government To Stop Us From Using Air-Conditioning. Gosh! And the professor thinks he has a good reason to get the government to take all of our A/C units away from us.
            Sociology professor Eric Klinenberg wrote an op-ed in Time magazine entitled, Air-Conditioning Will Be The End Of Us. He is concerned American's power use for air-conditioning will increase the effect of Global Warming and of course Global Warming is just about to extinguish the human race.
            He is not alone. Several people I have spoken with agree A/C is not needed by most people, it is only wanted. Count me as wanting A/C in the New Mexico summers. Do I need it? No, but this is America where I should be able to live as I desire, not as the Socialists desire me to live.
            I have lived in the heat quite a bit of my life, some of the time with just shade and cool water as my only relief from hot days. During the summers of my youth I lived on my grandfather's ranch and there was no A/C. He said, "If you work in the sunlight, the shade will be cool enough."
            Back then all of our vehicles had the open window air-conditioning: roll two windows down and drive. When I came to college in 1968 I did not have a car so I walked to campus, about a mile each way. I did so in the heat, cold and gloom of night. There wasn't rain and snow because this was New Mexico.
            Even when I got my first car all it had was windows to lower the temperature. The truth is that most of us did not have what is now considered a necessity, air-conditioning. I have lived in houses without A/C and we just sweltered in the heat but survived.
            So the Socialists among us are right, A/C use in this nation is because we Americans want it. Socialists think they can end this danger to the planet. The problem will be when the government decides that not enough of us are voluntarily casting off this want and they mandate the end of citizen owned air-conditioning. How will Americans take losing something they really want?
            I owned a weekly newspaper when President Jimmy Carter was trying to push Americans to be hotter in the Summer, colder in the Winter. My shop was visited by an inspector who marveled that it was 60 degrees in the building so we were good Carter people.
            Actually I didn't own the building and it had no insulation so 60 was as warm as I could get it. Then the inspector looked for our piece of paper that was supposed to be on the wall saying we supported people being cold in the Winter.
            I deadpanned, "We burnt it." He was aghast and started filling out a replacement certificate. When he handed it to me, I said to my print shop foreman, "Dame fuego" - give me fire - so Pete threw me his lighter. I lit the certificate as the government worker sputtered inarticulately. He never came back.
            When the government takes all of our A/C units away from us, I wonder if we sheep will continue to vote as we have in the past. Or will there be a tidal wave of sweat sending different leaders into office? Yep.

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Swickard: Getting swats at school

Back row middle left - Kindergarten graduation, what a relief!
© 2015 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  This last week has been the start of another public school year. I remember well my very first day in public school. Quickly I was put in the corner for misbehavior. I thought I was sent to school because they needed help running the joint. Not so.
            They were alarmed that I said, "Hey!" often to get their attention. "Wait your turn, Michael," I was told. Within minutes I found that liquid doesn't flow up a rope. The people at school didn't want help. Shuckins. The Ayatollah Kindergarten decided drastic measures were needed. She called my parents.
            They were relaxing at home and were chagrined that they needed to come discipline me. I was glad to see them. I explained that the place needed help running and that was what I was doing. I noticed my parents were trying not to smile. They tried "The Kindergarten knows better than you" but I wasn't having it.
            Weekends were better since I didn't have to deal with short-tempered school teachers. The worse part of it was I was in an experiment where kids had to go to Kindergarten two years. It was a two tough years of me putting up with those Michael-aversive people.
            They thought the purpose of kindergarten was to give them a job and to reign in boisterous boys. Every morning of those two years my teachers took their bossy pills and thought I should do what they commanded. I thought them wrong and we fought to a draw.
            Then there were those public school years afterwards. Along the way school leaders decided my brains were in the seat of my pants and to get my attention they should give me swats. I do have to say I never got an educational swat after high school.
            It seems to me that the public schools spent untold hours swatting me and it had no real effect upon me ever. I always vowed to make no sign that they had hit me. So I refused to be intimidated by the swat paddle which upset the sadistic teachers.
            Mostly what they were able to do was cause me to view school as a gang of thugs beating up small children. While the swats have stopped in today's public schools, the thuggish behavior continues with teachers being intentional mean to small children. It is considered rigor but we know what evil lurks in some hearts.
            I did get swatted the last week of public school a few days before graduation. Two friends and I were making noise in the hallway as we left the school. A teacher came out of her room to quiet us. We blew raspberries and the assistant principal grabbed us. He said, "Three swats or you do not walk at graduation."
            I got four swats instead of three because I said rudely to the poor man, "Knock yourself out Clyde, I don't care what you do because in a couple days I'm outta here." Then I laughed at him again but he had administered ten swats and was sweating profusely. He was all stroked out and had to sit down. We laughed.
            We made lots of racket leaving the school and everyone ignored me. Fast forward eight years and I was teaching at Albuquerque High School when some graduating seniors were making lots of noise in the hallway. I stepped out and said, "Hey, glad you are still around. I enjoyed all of you this year. Wherever you go I will always be your friend."
            One of the noisy kids started to smart off to me but several others hushed him and the group walked over and shook my hand and just said, "Thanks." And I have seen some of those kids over the years. We always smile when we see each other. I never believed in being a jerk to the students. Even if it got me fired I would never swat a student. Not ever.
            Too many adults in the public schools carry big sticks and speak with loud voices. They judge and push the students while students count the hours until they leave school forever. We adults could do better if we were better human beings.


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Swickard: NMSU students becoming more quiet

Michael Swickard on NMSU Student Radio 
© 2015 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. 
"The college that does not feel the need of a medium for the publication of its various doings and saying must be a very quiet sort of place with students who never play pranks and teachers who cannot appreciate a "break" when it is made." In the first New Mexico State University yearbook, 1908
             There has been an announcement that NMSU's student newspaper, the Round-Up, will terminate weekly editions and settle into deep obscurity as some kind of monthly magazine. Perhaps that will still let students get paid but it serves little other purpose in keeping student media on campus.
            A student newspaper is a vibrant alive burr under the saddle of the administration and focus of many conflicting views. It breathes and snorts and fires the imagination. Or, it did in the past.
            Some of us who are former staffers of the media at NMSU are saddened by this action. I was on my high school newspaper and yearbook in Alamogordo as a photographer and when I came to NMSU in the fall of 1968 I continued student photo journalism.
            My father, a photography instructor for the Air Force taught me well all phases of photography. My first year at NMSU I worked with the Round-Up, became the Head Photographer of the yearbook, worked on the student radio station and got in on the ground floor of the television efforts.
            I was even elected to the NMSU Student Senate from the College of Arts and Sciences to protect the budgets of the three media: the newspaper, yearbook and student radio station. Myself and Brad Cates were the two real conservatives in the Senate. Brad was later elected Student Body President.
            In October of 1969 Harvey Jacobs, Journalism and Mass Communications Department Head called me to his office. He almost single-handedly built the NMSU media program and wanted me to do him a favor.
            Justin Weddell, Class of 1908 was the driving force in starting both the student newspaper and the yearbook. He was getting a special honor for Homecoming and would be arriving from Chicago. Someone needed to show him how the campus had changed. As someone who worked with the student newspaper and yearbook, I was given the opportunity to spend the day with Weddell.
            As luck would have it, I respected Harvey Jacobs and it was the very first thing he had ever asked me to do so I was in for the day. Weddell was eighty-two and still in fairly good health. We walked around with him saying, "Our student dorm, The Klondike was over there until one night when it burnt down."
            His Senior Thesis was The Art of the Southwestern Indian which he mentioned. I asked if he had gone to see the pictographs at Three Rivers. He had several times. I smiled and mentioned that my grandmother had taught school in that one-room school in 1908. He did not remember her directly but remembered the school.
            We had a pleasant day and then it was time for him to join other graduates for the Homecoming festivities. He held my hand a few moments and said, "Don't let them kill what the class of 1908 started." I promised to fight for the media. Already, even in 1969, student newspapers and yearbooks were thought to be out of date.
            The Round-Up essentially quitting the news business would not have surprised Justin Weddell since students no longer read newspapers. They skim electronically and stories over fifty words are in danger of being ignored.
            I do not mourn for the Round-Up, I mourn for the learning opportunity that the editors and news producers had in putting out the paper. It came out twice a week in my era and once a week currently. That required writers to be on deadline and editors to manage their time effectively.
            Publishing once a month is like not at all. The NMSU students have gotten quiet as they are surrounded by their electronic world. I am not as old as Justin Weddell was when I spent a day with him. Still, it was forty-six years ago and I'm no Spring Chicken. We are and were Round-Up dinosaurs remembering a better time.
 Email: drswickard@comcast.net 

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Swickard: Good bomb or bad bomb?

Enola Gay, the B-29 bomber is in in the Smithsonian
© 2015 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.
            In the 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy was told by Glinda, "The Munchkins want to know, are you a Good Witch or a Bad Witch." Until then Dorothy and the viewing public had thought all witches were bad. But The Wizard of Oz revolves around Good Witches and Bad Witches.
            That lesson might translate to other things in our world. August 6th is the 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan. It followed the July 16, 1945 detonation of a 20 kiloton nuclear device at Trinity Site, New Mexico, and was followed by the detonation of a second atomic bomb over Nagasaki, Japan.
            A few days later Japan unconditionally surrendered. World War Two was over. It remains the most deadly war of all time in our world. About three percent of the world's population died in the conflict and that number might be low. In raw numbers the estimate is sixty million people died.
            And for the most part the dying was over after two atomic bombs forced Japan to surrender. Especially in the last thirty years there has been a fierce debate about those actions. Usually it is an explosive argument when people discuss using two atomic bombs to end World War Two.
            Perhaps we should ask: were they a good bomb or a bad bomb? Like witches we automatically assume all atomic bombs to be bad. Were they, are they?
            Certainly they have the liability of injuring people with radiation long after the war has ended. But the official position of our country and our politicians is that injury by radiation does not matter at all. How do I know that? I am a Downwinder injured by the Trinity explosion which injured thousands of other New Mexicans but our government and politicians are still seventy years later ignoring our injuries.
            The question most people ask: Did the nuclear bombs really end World War Two? The day of surrender Emperor Hirohito broadcast, "The enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, not only would it result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization."
            It was very chaotic in Japan. Some members of the Japanese Military did not want to surrender but they revered the Emperor. Japan was in essence a dictatorship not of the Emperor but the Military. The Emperor was truly a figurehead and General McArthur who ran Japan in the first five years after the war's end understood this and allowed Hirohito to have a post-war figurehead role.
            For several years I lived in Japan and heard several Japanese say that they had been ordered by the military to sharpen broom handles and they were supposed to try to stab invading Americans when they landed. They were grateful the war ended for whatever reason. They did not wish to die needlessly.
            Further, I drink coffee with a man who was on a troop ship to Japan and was going to make the first of two major landings. He says the reason he is still alive and had a career as a high school teacher is that the war ended suddenly. He is a supporter of the use of atomic weapons.
            Seventy years later we can inspect the plans that were in effect for the invasion to end the war. Operation Olympic was to be on the Southern-most Japanese island of Kyushu November 1, 1945 while Operation Coronet the invasion of main island Honshu south of Tokyo was scheduled for four months later.
            The pentagon planning paper was called Operation Downfall. It projected millions of deaths. But we and the Japanese were spared that holocaust of death.
            Can atomic bombs be good? Yes, when they end a dictatorship and allow Japan to become a democracy. I told this to a clerk in a store recently. She said she could not believe atomic bombs to be good. I replied, the use of force, the use of good atomic bombs allows you to reject the truth.

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Swickard column: Between the ears safety

© 2015 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  "Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands." Jeff Cooper
             As a nation we are collectively being intentionally stupid about the safety of our citizens for political reasons. Places where the military are not allowed a means to protect themselves are in the news, but for the wrong reason. The issue is not if individual military members are armed or not. It is that sign, Gun Free Zone, deliberately telling people of evil intent or mental illness that those people stand no chance against a gunman.
            Gun Free Zone signs say to some people that No One Can Shoot Back. Telling people of evil intent or mental illness that our military and school children have no means of defense is insane. It makes them targets while also not giving them a defense.
            The danger of attack in our society comes from two major groups: people of evil intent and people who are mentally ill. Our society is caught in a dilemma. We have plenty of laws against people taking guns to certain places. But they are just words and not actions. People prohibited from having guns get them anyway.
            We are told if all guns were banned in America there would be no guns on the street. That is beyond stupid. The reason five military servicemen were killed a week ago was they and everyone around them followed the law while the perpetrator did not.
            Remember that we made drugs illegal and yet illegal drugs are easily obtainable in every community. We arrest and incarcerate drug violators all of the time and still the drugs flood our towns. Having laws against guns does not and will not stop their use by criminals and people with mental illnesses.
            The only way to stop a person with a gun and murderous intent is someone else with a gun who will defend the defenseless. George Orwell wrote, "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
            We cannot reason with people of evil intent or mental illness, we must respond to force with force. The police cannot ever respond to violent attacks on our population in time to prevent them. They can end the carnage but precious minutes go by as they travel to the area where people are being attacked. The only logical answer is that some of the people be able to respond instantly.
            Now I do not want to see lots of open carry firearms because that means that the person who intends to defend the defenseless is apparent to someone of evil intent. Rather, I like conceal carry and making sure that someone coming to military facilities, public schools or churches does not know who may be packing.
            The defenders of Congress, the Supreme Court and the President of the United States work very hard at not disclosing their strategy for defense. It is multi-layered and robust. The primary defense of these people is between the ears and not in the hands.
            Let me ask you: is the President that much more important than a class of first graders in your local elementary school? Both the President and the innocent children deserve our best defense. But defending children has been hijacked by political operatives who wish to impose gun control on the population as a whole. They unintentionally sponsor domestic terrorism in our public schools by taking away all semblance of defense.
            Yes, the police can come within fifteen minutes and take a report but the need is for people to be armed and ready every second. Most of those armed and ready people will never be called upon because people of evil intent avoid places where those people will shoot back.
            That leaves the mentally ill who have watched hour after hour of coverage when someone shoots up a military facility or a public school. They may attack regardless of if there is a defense. Then the defense need to work and work very effectively.
            Our safety really does rest between the ears of our leaders. Only they can remove the Gun Free Zones and replace them with effective defensives.

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Swickard: New Mexico Downwinder justice denied

© 2015 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. 
"Justice delayed is justice denied." William Gladstone
             A group of New Mexicans have a legitimate suspicion that they were injured by the actions of our government years ago but no one today cares. I am one of them. We are called Downwinders since the suspicion is that our injury is from the downwind residue from the first nuclear explosion.
            That twenty kiloton nuclear explosion was in a remote area of New Mexico seventy years ago this July 16th. The scientists wanted to be sure the device would explode correctly when dropped over a Japanese city.
            The implosion-design plutonium device at Trinity Site was similar to the bomb detonated over Nagasaki, Japan August 9, 1945. In the seventy years since that nuclear test our world has changed dramatically and yet some of that 1945 world perhaps stays with us Downwinders.
            We suspect we are survivors of invisible pollutants from that nuclear explosion leading to our health problems. For me it was an aggressive form of thyroid cancer. Around Chernobyl it is called Radiation Induced Thyroid Cancer.
            The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident injured many people downwind of the area, however, there are robust efforts underway to identify and help those injured by the radiation. In our country our government has no interest in the radiation injury to New Mexico Downwinders. Does anyone doubt that the atomic explosion polluted New Mexico?
            Years ago one politician stated, "We beat the Japanese, what do you want?" He seemed mad that I was bringing up stuff from years ago. Politicians and journalists alike are not interested. I have written these issues in columns several times to the yawns of our leaders.
            Worse, we Downwinders are dying out. Our movement is like the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) founded in 1868 with their membership limited to Union military in the Civil War. Five US Presidents were GAR members. Then Albert Woolson, age 109, died in 1956 and then there were no longer any GAR members.
            The same will happen to the New Mexico Downwinders. One of us will be the last one alive and then the movement will end. Will we Downwinders find justice in our lifetime?
            The problem is we do not know for sure. Suspicion is not proof, but we have a right to be suspicious. Our government has not done what was done in Europe after Chernobyl where they studied carefully the people who thought they might have been sickened by the release of radiation.
            I appreciate that U. S. Senator Tom Udall held a meeting a couple weeks ago in Tularosa and New Mexico Representative Steve Pearce and I have spoken several times. But another day goes by, another week, another month, another year, and some more of us Downwinders have died.
            Why do I think it was the radiation release from the Trinity explosion that caused my cancer? Research is compelling around Chernobyl that a very aggressive form of thyroid cancer is tied to the radiation. I had that very aggressive form and was lucky that I noticed the tumor early and it was removed within ten days of diagnosis or perhaps I would not be here today.
            Again, suspicion is not proof but my government has not done anything to help Downwinders find out if our health maladies are tied to Trinity Site. These maladies are not cheap. We are out lots of money and there are quality of life issues.
            Our government is quick to throw money at other countries and other maladies in our country, why not this? Or even come up with the cost of looking at this issue. Because there is no political advantage and our people in government must always gain a political advantage.
            This issue will go away if politicians and government leaders can ignore us long enough. There is only one group who can bring justice to us if they will work at getting to the truth of the radiation.
            Journalists can continue to ignore us or they can put it on the front page until our government comes to its senses and acts responsibly. That is the role of the media in a perfect world. Justice delayed is justice denied.

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Environmentalists and energy advocates agree: Ethanol reform now

Commentary by Marita Noon - We all expect to pay a price for missing deadlines—fail to pay a ticket on time, and you may find a warrant out for your arrest. But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can apparently miss deadlines with impunity.
      For the past two years, the EPA has failed to meet the statutory deadline under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), requiring the agency to tell refiners how much ethanol to blend into the nation’s motor fuels.
      In November 2013, the EPA attempted to announce the proposed 2014 blend levels, which by then came months past the legally mandated deadline. The EPA surprised and pleased RFS opponents when it utilized its authority by taking market conditions into consideration to adjust levels. The agency set the proposed 2014 standard to a level lower than 2013’s, even though the law requires increasing amounts. Ethanol producers, expecting the usual uptick, loudly opposed the reduction. They made so much noise, the EPA agreed to reconsider. To date, the 2014 standards have not yet been announced.
      Then, on November 21, the EPA announced it would make a decision next year on how much ethanol refiners had to add to gasoline this year. Yet, if refiners don’t meet the unknown requirement, they get fined. That’s akin to handing out the class syllabus after the students have failed the final exam.
      With the goal of reducing foreign oil imports, Congress enacted the RFS in 2005 and revised it in 2007—which also provided incentives to America’s fledgling ethanol industry. At the time, gasoline demand was rising to an all-time high and oil imports comprised more than 58 percent of U.S. oil consumption. No doubt Congress believed it was saving American consumers from their addiction to oil.
      Then the world changed. The U.S. economy plunged into a terrible recession, unemployment soared, and gasoline demand fell sharply. Meanwhile, advanced drilling technologies, including the long-used hydraulic fracturing and newer horizontal drilling, began producing oil and natural gas from U.S. shale formations—previously uneconomic to develop—leading to America’s 21st-century energy boom.
      Today the U.S. stands as the world’s largest natural-gas producer, projected to pass Saudi Arabia as the number-one oil producer. With crude-oil supplies flooding the market, prices have been cut in half. Although fears over foreign-oil dependence have abated, the U.S. remains stuck with an outdated, unworkable, and even harmful—to vehicles, engines, and the environment—ethanol mandate. Read full Marita Noon column on Breitbart.com
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Swickard: Being superstitious about rain in New Mexico

© 2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.   Christmas time is magical with the Christmas superstitious advice, "You better watch out, you better not cry, better not pout, I'm telling you why..." It is a belief in goodness and the hope Santa can see goodness in each of us. The main point of the season in my family is the birth of Jesus. But we also enjoy Santa.
      As a child I understood the birth of Jesus, but to me the Santa story had to be taken entirely on faith. As a child I started my lifelong superstition that I somehow had control over things that were beyond control.
      This fall I have a dilemma. My windshield wipers are just barely working but I have a good reason to not change them. No, I am not cheap, this is more important. It has to do with the bountiful rain we are receiving this fall.
      It seems there are two types of people: those who confess to being superstitious and those who won't admit it. I identify with a scene in the movie, Bull Durham when the character played by Kevin Costner says, "I told him that a player on a streak has to respect the streak... You know why? Because they don't happen very often."
      Like everyone I have good days and challenging days. When I have two good days in a row I am on a streak and I try to remember how I got on the streak. So my windshield wipers are really worn out. I still see to drive in the rain but normally I would change them in a heartbeat. But months ago I noticed they were marginal because, surprise, it rained.
      The superstitious part of me noticed when it rained two days in a row. I knew I should go put on a new set of wipers but gosh that rain was sure nice. So for all of these months the windshield wipers have languished. But the rain is wonderful.
      I might get help from Superstitious Anonymous, but it is still raining. When the rains stops as we know it will, then I will have new wipers. I park when it rains now. No Santa, don't bring me wipers, we are on a streak. Merry Christmas. Read the full column

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State senator wants to help students pay loans

Senator Jacob Candalaria
From KOAT-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —New Mexico students default on their college loans more than students in any other state. Now, a state senator wants to help combat that problem this legislative session.
      Jacob Candalaria is a state senator from Albuquerque. He said this is a difficult problem to tackle in the Land of Enchantment. “We actually see a lower percentage of students in New Mexico borrowing money than the rest of the country,” Candalaria said. “The problem is once they do borrow money, they’re more likely to be unable to pay it back.”
      Candalaria is the youngest state senator in New Mexico. He’s a second-year law student at the University of New Mexico. As a student himself, Candalaria said he listens to his peers worry about student loans.
      National numbers reveal New Mexico has the highest percentage of student loan default rates. The national average is 13.7 percent. New Mexico sits close to 21 percent. So the senator is proposing a state-based tax credit for students. It would offset some of the costs of paying back student loans after college.
     The Department of Education released the national default rates in September. The study looks at the rates from 2010. More
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