Mexico: Soldiers Kill 25 in Gun Battle Near Border

From the Longview TX news-journal.com - by Mark Walsh, Associated Press - MONTERREY, Mexico — A shootout between soldiers and suspected drug cartel members in northeastern Mexico left 25 purported gunmen dead Thursday, the military said. A reconnaissance flight over Ciudad Mier in Tamaulipas state spotted several gunmen in front of a property, according to a statement from Mexico's Defense Department. When troops on the ground moved in, gunmen opened fire, starting a gunbattle that killed 25 suspected cartel members, according to the military. The statement said two soldiers were injured but none were killed. Earlier, a military spokesman had said the shootout happened when troops on patrol in the town of General Trevino, in neighboring Nuevo Leon state, came under fire from a ranch allegedly controlled by the Zetas drug gang. Read more
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New Arizona Motorcycle Seat


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Mexico drug war: the new killing fields

The UK Guardian Rory Carroll reports from the centre of drug cartel violence that claimed 28,000 lives - Picture on left - The bloody footprints following one of thousands of murders.

The events which have no name scythe through the valley like invisible reapers. They slice east to west, west to east, a homicidal pendulum. No one sees anything. The pair of human heads left in a coolbox on the corner of the plaza? A mystery. The 18 houses burnt in a single night? An enigma. The doctor and his family who disappeared? A rumour. This much residents do tell you: Juárez valley stretches along the Rio Bravo and used to grow cotton. It roasts by day, shivers by night. Lob a stone over the river and it lands in Texas. Beyond that, conversation tends to dry up. Of the slaughter, of the reason this has become one of the deadliest places on the planet, residents have little to say. At most they refer to "the situation", "the things happening" or, simply, "it". Read more

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Environmental "Improvement" Board - Holding a Hearing

EIB Greenhouse Gas Proposal
Have you had enough of crazy radical environmental regulations that amount to nothing more than nonsensical intrusions into your life and many millions of dollar in mandatory waste? Unfortunately, what the New Mexico State Legislature won't pass into law because even it has more common sense than the EIB, can be done by aggressive over-reaching internal policy initiatives.
If you think the infusion of dumb ideas into public policy in our state have to end eventually........think again. On Tuesday, September 7, 2010 from 12:00 pm – 6:30 pm the Environmental Improvement Board will offer local citizens an opportunity to provide public comment in Las Cruces on the New Energy Economy and New Mexico Environment Department’s Greenhouse Gas proposed rules. If you are wondering about the details of the latest insanity read here: The hearing officer will take comments on both proposals on the same day and will bring a court reporter so that the full board does not have to travel, but can read the transcripts. You can rest assured every whacked out clueless job killing anti-business activist in the area will be on hand to make silly comments that infer these new regulations won't move New Mexico one step closer to California-style bankruptcy. Clear thinking citizens with the time to fight the lunatic ideas might want to plan to attend and let your voice be heard before another nail is driven in our economic coffin.

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Kathryn Lopez - The Great Restoration

Kathryn Lopez
We are not the ones we have been waiting for. That was the takeaway message of the recent Restoring Honor rally on the National Mall. Unless you where on a strict no-media diet in the run-up to Labor Day this year, you saw a lot of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin in the coverage of the rally. But the rally Beck organized and where Palin appeared, which honored wounded military heroes, actually had very little to do with the two media darlings. In many ways, I wondered if the title was off. "Restoring Humility" could have been more accurate. It's exactly the right message -- at any time, and especially now. The humility aspect is somewhat foreign to politics, which initially proved confusing to many people. Was this supposed to be a political rally, or a Protestant revival? No one showed up to campaign. No one even claimed God's mandate for his own agenda. Instead, people talked about grace and decency. And Beck talked about something every political pollster and campaign adviser probably advises against: sacrifice. And then it was over. So on the Monday night after the Mall rally, radio host Mark Levin did what needed to be done. He hit the airwaves and properly closed the affair: "Any society that is not rooted in God-given natural law is a society that will ultimately destroy itself. No question. It is a society that will become tyrannical. It is a society spiraling out of control -- like our society. The Founding Fathers knew this." Read more here:
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More Than A Healthy Stock Market?

NewsNM - Yesterday the Labor Department announced that the nation's unemployment rate jumped to 9.6%. In his national address this morning President Obama tried to deflect mounting criticism of his administration's economic polices. President Obama said,“So this Labor Day, we should recommit ourselves to our time-honored values and to this fundamental truth: to heal our economy, we need more than a healthy stock market; we need bustling Main Streets and a growing, thriving middle class.”
We need MORE than a healthy stock market? This seems to infer that we actually have a healthy stock market. We don't. Is a healthy stock market important? It is critical. It was the healthy stock market that produced the ballooning capital gain tax revenues that flooded the Clinton Administration's treasury department. Those revenues allowed Clinton to take credit for balancing the federal budget. Of course when the stock market retreated dramatically the final year of the Clinton presidency, the resulting revenue trough and return to budget imbalance landed in the lap of his successor. Neither Clinton nor Bush ever reigned in the kind of spending increases that kill stock markets. But during his window of time in the spotlight, Clinton enjoyed a "healthy stock market." Is this simple truth forgotten. It would seem so.
If America wants more jobs and prosperity it will have to be accompanied by a healthy stock market. Unfortunately, with national economic confidence incinerated one has to wonder why would the president make the statement, "We need more than a healthy stock market." Was this chide an intentional slap against people with retirement accounts? These folks are praying for a return to decent returns on their holdings. Was it a scoff at retirees living on their investments? Was it a smack at public and private pension funds everywhere that fund monthly checks to beneficiaries out of their investments? Does Washington realize that with the Federal Reserve making sure its monetary policy allows the federal government to borrow trillions of dollars at bargain basement interest rates, that all citizens with savings including the "middle class" are getting hosed? We think not.
Who knows what the thought processes are inside the heads of those composing these canned dumbing down messages that come out of Washington. A few things seem increasingly clear. With no management experience, no business experience, and even precious little political experience in the White House, it looks like investors are going to have to wait a little longer for Washington to differentiate between the trailer and the engine.  

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As the Secretary of State Turns

Mary Herrera
The soap opera in the Secretary of State office in New Mexico continues. From NMPolitics.net -Two new media reports indicate trouble in Secretary of State Mary Herrera’s office, with one quoting former employees about the issues in her office and the other citing e-mails that indicate that some office employees were being paid by taxpayers while they worked on Herrera’s campaign. The Rio Grande Sun came out with the report about the e-mails. From the article: Read more here:
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Forced to be foolishly fuelish

Shuckins! At my gas station this week was the dreaded note on the pump: “This gasoline now contains ethanol.” I have changed stations several times this last year to keep from buying E10, gasoline laced with 10 percent ethanol. This move to ethanol laced gasoline is political in nature. I have three major objections to being forced to use E10. First, the BTU (energy) content of E10 is not as high as regular gasoline, so I surrender gas mileage. I already drive carefully and under the speed limit to boost gas mileage so this will not “break the bank” in my life. However, I do not want to spend money foolishly fuelish. Read more here:

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The Income Dilemma

Jim Spence
“The Income Dilemma” - by Jim Spence - As of late August, a three-year U.S. treasury note was being offered to income investors at a yield to maturity of .72%. However, this rate is misleading. The yield to maturity rate is BEFORE federal income tax. Persons falling in the maximum tax bracket next year (barring congressional and presidential action) will net an investor .44% after tax on a three-year treasury note. The investment income/retirement math on this proposition is pretty simple. If you want to play it safe (a three year T-Note is relatively safe) and you can live on $36,000 a year in interest income, all you need is $5 million dollars worth of three year treasury notes and you will be right where you want to be.
What is an income investor to do? Interest rates on shorter-term instruments are even lower. Interest rates on long term bonds, though higher than on three-year notes, come with serious market value fluctuation risks should rates rise again anytime soon. What is an income investor to do?
Seeking higher income streams can be a dangerous proposition; reach for too much yield and the chance of getting burned grows exponentially. If there is one thing we have learned over the last 27-plus years of experience, it is that what appears to be a reliable credit risk can change rapidly. The bankruptcy of General Motors serves as a chilling reminder of what used to be solid. History is littered with the bankruptcy filings of formerly healthy companies.
What about stocks? Thirty five months ago the S & P 500 Index stood at 1,561. Today the widely followed benchmark hovers just north or south of 1,050. This translates into a 32% decline in three years. What is an income investor to do?
There is plenty of talk around these days about just how risk-averse investors are. This is certainly reflected in bond prices up and down the maturity spectrum. For many years we have been perfectly willing to buy bonds in intermediate and even longer term maturities. Up until now this strategy of going out on the maturity spectrum has been reasonably successful. Nothing ever stays the same forever. For almost our entire career, interest rates have come down from the secular peaks of the early 1980’s. Unfortunately, for conservative income-seeking investors, the current interest rate environment is not conducive to respectable rates of return AND price fluctuation safety. Intermediate and long term bonds issued by entities we deem to be safe, are no longer available at what we feel are reasonable prices. Accordingly it will be our strategy to be patient in this environment where bonds are concerned and also actively seek alternative ideas where income streams are higher.
We have always made it our business to keep informed of the fundamental conditions affecting dividend paying common stocks. Though our emphasis has been more acutely sensitive to durable competitive advantage and growth characteristics (when it comes to common stocks), we believe the current interest rate environment has created pricing imbalances in the financial system that may require us to alter our strategies for income investors. While it is undoubtedly true that dividend paying stocks carry risks, we are moving closer to the conclusion that the opportunities in interest bearing instruments are so limited that dividend paying common stocks require our utmost attention. We simply cannot force ourselves to lock in pathetic rates of return on bonds and take the risk of severe price declines prior to maturity. Stay tuned.
Jim Spence has been in the investment business since 1983. He serves as portfolio manager for Spence Asset Management, Inc.in Las Cruces, New Mexico

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Richardson: Cannon in "good shape" for next BRAC

From the Clovis News Journal - Gov. Bill Richardson believes New Mexico always needs to be ready to defend itself for a Base Realignment and Closure round, but Cannon Air Force Base is in good shape. Regarding Cannon Air Force Base, he thought the transition to Air Force Special Operations Command will serve the base well when an inevitable BRAC round comes. “There will be another BRAC round,” said Richardson, who took part in the state-wide effort to save Cannon from a 2005 closure recommendation. “I believe Cannon Air Force Base is really strong. It’s increasing jobs in the area, it’s going to have more functions, it’s growing. I would say the Air Force and the military will recommend it not be shut down. We have four bases in New Mexico, so we have to remain vigilant.” Read more
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Dawgs Go To 2-0 Beat Cibola 21-14

LCHS beat Albuquerque Cibola 21-14 at the Field of Dreams last night. The Dawgs got a big game from Xavier Hall who carried the ball 25 times for 167 yards including the winning 72 yeard touchdown run midway through the second quarter. Coupled with a stubborn LCHS defense that shut out the Cougars in the second half, the efforts were good enough for the Bulldawgs to rack up their second win of the season. It looked like a shootout from the start with Cruces taking a 21-14 lead to the half. The Cougars scored on a 90 yard kickoff return early in the second quarter and then another touchdown a few minutes later. But the Cibola offense was stymied by the Bulldawg defense time and time again in the second half. The Cougars were able to make only two first downs after intermission. Other than giving up a huge passing play early in the game, which did not lead to points the Bulldawgs played great defense all night. The good news for the Bulldawgs was they were able to establish Xavier Hall as a second big offensive threat in game two of the young season. This came after quarterback Jeremy Buurma had a big week last Friday night against El Paso Eldorado in the season opener. The win leaves LCHS as the only unbeaten team in the city. Onate fell for the second consecutive week Thursday night at the Field of Dreams and Mayfield lost a controversial heartbreaker in overtime against Montwood in El Paso on Thursday.

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Commentary: Mexico needs our help, not our troops

From McClatchy.com - By Andres Oppenheimer of the Miami Herald - The escalation of drug-related violence in Mexico — including the mass execution of 72 migrants last week — is moving a small but growing number of U.S. foreign policy hawks to call for a radical solution: send in the U.S. Army. I'm not kidding. At first, I thought it was a joke, or the kind of overreaction that is most often confined to the blogosphere. But, increasingly, populist local U.S. officials are seriously talking about sending in U.S. troops to end the drug-related violence that has cost 28,000 lives in Mexico over the past four years, and that occasionally spills over to the U.S. side of the border. Read more
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Dems have few options on economy

From the Politico - by Ben White - With another tepid jobs report in the books Friday, Democrats desperate for quick policy action to boost the economy face an excruciating dilemma, experts say. The few things that might pass Congress — such as a payroll tax holiday or extended research-and-development tax credits — won’t work, or at least not before November’s midterm elections, when Democrats face potentially devastating losses. What to do? If you’re President Barack Obama, you go out and talk about the economy — in Milwaukee on Monday, Cleveland on Wednesday and at a White House news conference Friday. He’s expected to propose some new business tax breaks next week, including possibly a payroll tax break and R&D credits, but the White House said no final decisions have been made. Read more
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Holloman chimps heading for new lab tests in Texas

From the New Mexico Independent - After ten years of retirement at Holloman Air Force Base, more than 100 U.S. government-owned chimpanzees who were used for decades in NASA and federal medical studies, are now heading to a government lab in San Antonio, Texas, for new tests of experimental hepatitis C and hepatitis B vaccines, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday. Animal rights groups oppose the move and want Congress to enact an outright ban on federal chimpanzee research. Gov. Bill Richardson and U.S. Sen. Tom Udall oppose moving the chimps to Texas. Richardson met with NIH officials last month to lobby for the chimps’ continued retirement in Alamogordo, according to the Los Angeles Times. Read more
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Martinez has high hopes for repeal of medical marijuana

From the New Mexico Independent - by Trip Jennings - Republican Susana Martinez has said she would work to repeal New Mexico’s medical marijuana program if she’s elected governor. But undoing the state’s three-year-old medical marijuana law would represent a major undertaking. There are only two routes — through the Legislature or voter referendum — and neither would be easy. If elected governor, Martinez could appoint a secretary of health hostile to the program, officials said. Because governors control executive branch agencies, the state’s chief executive could direct an agency to make regulations so strict that they effectively stop a program’s day-to-day operations. Martinez didn’t answer our questions about whether she might choose such an option if elected governor. Read more
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