Swickard: The right way to deal with feral animals

© 2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. My mother rescued a half-starved feral cat one time. He seemed like any of her other rescued cats but even after neutering he was anti-social with the other cats. Also he had a great desire to mark territory pungently which he did. She had to cage him where he lived out his days. At no time during his years with us was he able to join her other cats.
      There were always about six cats, all inside cats, living in our house. They came into our lives one by one, a rescue here and there. And then there was that feral cat named “Yoohoo” who could not live with domesticated cats.
      My mother almost taught her cats to use the human toilet instead of the litter-pan. She lacked just one hold-out, a black female named Witch. We kids had to make sure we left the seat down and the lid up. But that knucklehead Witch would not do it. 
      I would have drop-kicked Witch through the goalpost of life and then had five cats with no need for kitty-litter. Not my dear mother who shrugged and went back to full-time kitty-litter for six cats. Anyway she was always going to have kitty-litter around because of Yoohoo.
      Certainly on ranches and farms the most damming comment for man or animal is, “He’s undependable. That was Yoohoo. Some days he was almost pleasant. Most days he was not. But he was always undependable.
      I was thinking about my brush with a feral cat this week because city leaders in several communities have struggled with the problem of feral cats. These non-domesticated cats live away from humans and prey mostly on wild birds and other small animals. Some people even put out feed which makes the problem worse. Read full column


National story about Susana Martinez recordings

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez
From KOB-TV.com - By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - The world of New Mexico politics is buzzing after a left-wing publication’s release of audio recordings of private conversations between Gov. Susana Martinez and some of her top assistants.
     “Mother Jones” magazine features an aryticle suggesting that Martinez is the next Sarah Palin – a volatile and divisive political figure. The Governor says the tapes are stolen, and that they come from a debate preparation session four years ago, when she was running against Democrat Diane Denish.
     Here’s the juicy stuff: the recording catches Martinez reviewing a videotaped debate with Denish. First you hear Denish saying “ my opponent – she’s not being straight with you.” Then you hear Martinez say “ I’m so tired of that little bitch calling me a liar.”
     Martinez does admit she used the “B” word, and says she has had to “fund the cuss jar a few times” in her life.
     Democrats are slamming Martinez hard for her remarks. She is already using the “Mother Jones” article to raise contributions for her re-election campaign, calling it a “desperate attack” and a “smear”.
     Right now Martinez, the nation’s first Hispanic female governor, is riding high in the national Republican Party, with some serious discussion about her as a possible vice presidential candidate in 2016. More


New Mexico to receive new veterans cemeteries

From KOB-TV.com - By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - New Mexico is finally in line for four new veterans cemeteries in far-flung corners of the state. Here’s the deal. We have two national cemeteries already. One of them is filling up rapidly and the other is a long way from just about everywhere but Silver City. Just about everybody agrees we need more, especially veterans and their families.
     The big one is in Santa Fe it’s just about full to capacity. The other one is way down near Silver City at Fort Bayard and it’s smaller. The U.S. Veterans Administration wants states to run their own veterans cemeteries, but they’ll help set them up. Gov. Susana Martinez announced down payments on four new ones Tuesday afternoon.
      “We are a very large state and no one should have to drive more than 75 miles to visit their loved ones,” Martinez said at a gathering at the Veterans Memorial in Albuquerque’s Southeast Heights. “To all of the veterans and current servicer members here today, thank you for your service. Thank you every day for your sacrifice.”
     The proposed cemeteries are in Carlsbad, Fort Stanton, Gallup and Angel Fire, which is already home to the nation’s first Vietnam veterans’ memorial. Well, they don’t have them yet, exactly. The state has $600,000 for down payments. If the feds approve, they’ll pay the rest – about 90 percent of the total price, and then the state will manage and maintain the new cemeteries. Gov. Martinez said New Mexico will be in line for even more veterans cemeteries after the first four are established. More

Group of judges suing Gov. over pay raise

A group of New Mexico judges are seeking to overturn a veto by Gov. Susana Martinez that denied them an eight percent raise. 
The judges filed a lawsuit Monday against Martinez in New Mexico State Supreme Court to reverse the governor's line-item veto. 
Martinez said last month she vetoed the proposed raise because she felt an eight percent salary increase was too much. The Republican said she might have supported a 3 percent raise like all other state employees but lawmakers didn't give her that option. 
Attorney Ray Vargas, who is representing the judges, says Martinez "ignored the system of checks and balances" when she vetoed the raises for judges. 
The governor's office says Martinez has to right to veto any line item.


Gov. has raised 1.5 million for re-election

Gov. Martinez
Gov. Susana Martinez has raised $1.5 million for her re-election in the past six months, giving her big fundraising advantage over Democratic challengers. 
 Martinez reported cash-on-hand of $4.2 million as of last week. Monday was the deadline for candidates to file campaign finance disclosures with the secretary of state's office.
 Five Democrats are running for their party's gubernatorial nomination in the June 2 primary election. 
Santa Fe businessman Alan Webber was the leading Democratic fundraiser. He collected about $837,000 in cash and in-kind contributions. That included $450,000 in personal loans and contributions. Webber's campaign reported a cash balance of nearly $440,000.


Court recognizes Fort Sill Apache as NM tribe

New Mexico's highest court has ordered Gov. Susana Martinez to recognize the Fort Sill Apache as a New Mexico tribe. 
The state Supreme Court unanimously made the decision Monday after hearing from lawyers in the case.
 Tribal chairman Jeff Haozous told reporters after the ruling that state recognition will give the Apaches a "seat at the table" with New Mexico's other 22 tribes and pueblos. The governor must invite the tribe to a yearly tribal-state summit. The federal government designated a 30-acre parcel in southern New Mexico as the tribe's reservation in 2011, but the Apache governmental offices are in Oklahoma
There's a restaurant and smoke shop on the land near Deming, but tribal efforts to open a casino have been blocked. 
The tribe acquired the land in 1998.


Abengoa Solar: Obama’s green energy projects fail, even when they are successful

From the Daily Caller - by Marita Noon, After a public meeting on Tuesday, April 15 in Palm Desert, California, the California Energy Commission (CEC) will vote, on Wednesday, in Sacramento on whether or not to re-permit a 500-megawatt solar thermal project that has been on hold since December. At that time, the commission indicated that it would deny the proposed BrightSource Energy and Abengoa Solar project based on “visual impacts to a network of trails, petroglyphs and other tribal sites stretching across the desert in eastern Riverside County.”
     Since December, the companies have done additional environmental impact studies and proposed mitigation. Apparently believing the votes are there, the companies have pushed for the commission to make a decision. Abengoa insiders have reported that the project is a go.
      While the CEC is concerned about visual impacts, and local tribes worry about the project due to potential artifacts that may be present, American taxpayers should be opposed to the cronyism, abuse, mismanagement, and violations involved in one of the companies: Abengoa — which received $2.8 billion in taxpayer funding.
     This report will expose one of the largest recipients of Obama’s green energy funding: Abengoa — which if not stopped, will get even more taxpayer dollars. On April 2, 2014, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, said: “the department would probably throw open the door for new applications for renewable energy project loan guarantees during the second quarter of this year.” Read the entire story

Crews make progress on Bensen fire

NewsNM:Swickard - seems to me that every resource should be put on the Bensen Fire rather than let it burn 20 percent contained. This is how the really big fires in the last couple of years got out of control... they wree slowly burning for several days and then gusty winds made the difference. Put this fire out now. From KOB-TV.com - By: Jeffery Gordon, KOB.com Firefighters have made some progress on a fire burning in the Lincoln National Forest. The Bensen Fire is now 20 percent contained.
     The fire has burned nearly 100 acres since it started last Thursday. No structures are threatened but they are making sure that the flames do not spread to the Sunspot Observatory. The structure is about 3 miles west of the fire.
     Meanwhile, the Elkhorn fire burning in the Gila National Forest is now 100 percent contained. More


Swickard: Cow flop lessons apply to ObamaCare

© 2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. As I wrote last week, I have had trouble with my new “healthcare.” It reminds me of something my brother did to me when I was five. Bill is three years older and when we were young that was significant.
     One day he and a friend were jumping off of one side of a barn into plowed ground. It was a fall of about six feet. After I watched a while I asked: did it hurt when he landed.
      He and his friend got an odd look on their faces. He put his hand on my shoulder as a sign of trust. “Yes,” he said, “It sure does hurt unless a person knows what to do so it does not hurt.”
     Wow, to be able to jump off things and it not hurt. I asked him for the secret. He leaned closer and said confidentially, as if he was about to impart something important, that if I kept my eyes closed real tight, it would not hurt.
      Double wow, so that was the secret. I was always trying to find the secret to things. And I had just found out how to jump off things without it hurting. My brother and his friend stood by the side of the barn in disbelief as I climbed to the top of the one story barn, firmly closed my eyes and said, “Oh, boy!”
     First off, I was not going to waste this secret going off the side onto plowed dirt, no; I jumped off the front of the barn with an air of pleasant expectation, like trying a new flavor of ice cream. Very quickly I learned what a credibility gap is all about. I did not break anything, but for a time I was not sure.
      Luckily I hit in the middle of a pile of cow flop which I would have missed if my eyes had been open. The good news is the cow pies broke my fall a little, but I would not recommend cow flop as a pillow, even if it is relatively soft when you jump off a barn.
     What made matters even worse was that I went into the ranch house crying and trying to wipe the cow flop off of me. Heads would roll if I had anything to say about it. I had the intention of getting my brother in big trouble for the dirty rotten trick he had pulled on me. Then it happened. 
     The first adult seemed slow to understanding why I was crying and fussing while covered with cow flop. Suddenly the first adult got the story and I am sorry to say laughed. I guess it just came out.
Further, I am sad to say that instead of sympathy which I deserved, instead of the kindness for my misfortune, instead of going out there and swatting my brother as he surely deserved. 
     Instead, the first blabbed to the rest of the adults and they all laughed. It was cruel cow-flop laughter and I remember it started with that same expression that had been on my brother’s face.
     In fact, about all I got from the fall into the cow flop was a close look at that expression. I remember it well even now. When I see that expression I keep my eyes open. Read full column


Group protests Dona Ana sheriff's deputies acting as immigration cops

From the Las Cruces Sun-News - By James Staley - LAS CRUCES >> Holding large signs with messages predominantly in Spanish, dozens of people gathered Tuesday morning in front of the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office to protest an agency they say oversteps its law enforcement duties.
     Officials from the Border Network for Human Rights organized Tuesday's demonstration because of "documented patterns of immigration enforcement during traffic stops," according to a news release from the organization.
     As the demonstration came to a close, BNHR organizers delivered to DASO 10,876 signed copies of a petition urging Sheriff Todd Garrison to take four steps, which included instructing deputies to stop asking about immigration status or for Social Security numbers during routine traffic stops.
     DASO spokeswoman Kelly Jameson said deputies don't ask such questions in those situations. "We don't act as federal immigration agents," Jameson said. "We uphold the laws we are sworn to enforce."
     She said a person's immigration status "is none of our business," but that deputies do have to record traffic infractions, and that includes logging the identity of any person they pull over. So, they will ask for driver's licenses — which undocumented people can get in New Mexico — or other forms of ID to make sure the person has no warrants.
     Jameson said if deputies have to call Border Patrol during a traffic stop, it's because there is an issue with immigration documentation. Deputies aren't trained, as Border Patrol agents are, to inspect such documents, she said.
     But to many in the crowd Tuesday, deputies too often blur the line between local and federal law enforcement.Many signs referred to "polimigra," blending the Spanish words for police and immigration. More