Update - Make it 25 Killed in Juarez Not 24

From the El Paso Times - Mexican authorities continued investigating the wave of violence in Juárez during the last 24 hours. Twenty-five people have been killed, including a woman early Friday morning. The woman was gunned down in her house. Her husband and 12-year-old son were injured during the attack, Chihuahua state police officials said. The outbreak may be tied to some messages left on two walls allegedly by the Juárez drug cartel. The graffiti warned that La Linea would attack families of Sinaloa drug cartel members if a kidnapped child was not returned. The messages were signed with the name Diego. Read more here:

David Corn - To Democrats......Don't Panic

David Corn
Last time we chatted (see here and here), I noted that Democrats and progressives were becoming rather impatient with President Obama, fearing he was leading his party to a historic defeat in November that would result in the Republicans probably gaining control of the House and possibly even the Senate. Obama seemed to have been piddling about regarding the No. 1 issue: the economy. And a whiff of panic was in the air. Scratch all that. Everything is fine now. Dems are doing just great. Obama's on a roll. Okay, I'm being a bit facetious. But maybe the gloom -- or that high level of gloom -- was premature.
Part of that panic was caused by a Gallup poll showing the GOP with a 10-point lead over the Democrats. This made it seem that 2010 was going to be 2012 -- as in the disaster movie -- for the D's. But as Bruce Drake points out, a Gallup survey that came out this week had the Democrats and Republicans tied. Big difference. Meanwhile, Obama on Wednesday delivered a rock-'em/sock-'em speech outside Cleveland that demonstrated he can still come across as a decisive fighter.


Coffee Shop Philosophers

Del Hanson
Recently I overheard two well-meaning gentlemen chatting at a coffee shop, both discussing their impressions of the sad state of affairs in our public schools. One said, “There just isn’t any discipline. Those kids just run wild all day. They are rude and inconsiderate. We send them to school and look what they get. They get to learn how to be jerks.” The other fellow sipped his coffee and nodded in agreement, “They’re ruining society,” or something to that effect. I wasn’t sure who the “they” was in that statement and I wanted the first guy to take the time to walk into my wife’s first period English class and chat with a great group of young people, who most assuredly do not run wild all day. I have been around students all my life, and the image presented by movies, the media, talk-shows, and bloggers isn’t reality. It isn’t even good fiction. It is conformed, shaped and molded to meet the needs and inadequacies of the persons perpetrating the misstatements.
Schools reflect society, not the other way around. While these two gents are entitled to their opinion, which was for the most part wrong, it would nice if people who run for office and/or inundate the airwaves or column space with incomplete or wrong information would get out and personally visit the schools, walk the campuses, and talk to students. What a novel idea. But that takes time and initiative, and a sound byte is worth a thousand truths. While there are some who think it is the schools who shape society, a few of us tenaciously hold to the idea that parents interacting with their children in family units shape society. Schools can have a mighty effect, but it is not they who are the engine of decency. Anyone knows how difficult it is to manage a birthday party of six ten year olds. It can be hell. Now try it on a daily basis with twenty-seven excited, exuberant fourth graders. Their teachers deal with it every day. Oh, they can manage a degree of decorum and hold the lid on, but they don’t have time or resources to raise the children, too. Far too many parents expect the teacher and the school to raise their kids for them. Many pairs of adults are very good at birthing children, but a disturbing number are lousy at actually raising them.
Allow me to insert a disclaimer. There are many caring, involved, and intensely nurturing sets of parents or single parents who do a wonderful job of raising and loving their children. I have personally interacted with them and they made all the difference in the success of their kid’s life. And God Bless them! However, for many parents, school is a government sponsored day care system which provides special activities and programs for their offspring. The dichotomy of both extremes in classrooms makes the job of teacher much more difficult than merely dispensing information for the endless series of standardized tests.
Speaking of society, just today I browsed several prominent blog sites on which participants can comment on a topic and to each other in almost real time. The rudeness and incivility is almost beyond comprehension. Grab the kids, secure a loan from the bank to pay for it, and take them, if you dare, to a college basketball game in most large arenas. The environment isn’t usually the model for decorum and politeness. Flip through the channels and watch daytime television, if you can suppress the gag reflex long enough. Guys and girls, and guys and guys, and girls and girls, and unknown beings with unknown beings cavort unmarried under the sheets with reckless abandon. Go to a political “town hall” meeting or watch as immigration marchers file by restless, angry groups of protesters and step back behold the incivility of the moment. It is ugly. It is rude. It is our American society in which our students who sit in rows, packed 30 to a room in many cases, are immersed. Students reflect society, not the other way around. Because politicians and concerned American citizens in coffee shops cannot readily effect changes on society, but can, however, write and pass laws or at least gripe about education, they focus their attention on schools. Like the extinct Dodo bird on the island of Mauritius, mainstream education stands motionless and clueless as the arms and clubs of our civilized society beat it to death, without it putting up a fight. So back to our gentlemen at the coffee shop, whose concerns and misconceptions are played out in thousands of other klatches across the country on any given morning. To them, children in school are molded and shaped by their teachers, who often lead them dangerously away from the tight path planned by their loving parents.
Were it only so, it would be easy to fix. The truth is that most teachers do a near miraculous job of teaching the standards and benchmarks, preparing students for infinite batteries of mind-numbing, fact-regurgitative exams, all the while trying to provide a modicum of love, empathy, and guidance (without actually touching the child, mind you) to needy kids--their kids, for seven hours a day. Society has thrust upon the shoulders of teachers the responsibility to raise children as well as instruct them. There aren’t the resources or the minutes of a day for a teacher to fulfill that charge. But it makes for great fodder for animated discussions at the coffee shop. Just who will raise them, then? We have abrogated that responsibility to the I-pod, cell phone, and the television, but we can always blame the schools.


Another 24 People Murdered in Juarez - Yesterday

According to the El Paso Times, twenty-four people were murdered last night in yet another horrifying round of violence just forty miles south of Las Cruces. Apparently between about 6:30 and 9:30pm Thursday night, the soaring death tally rocketed higher. In five separate incidents just across the border, gunfire broke out and dead bodies were strewn everywhere.
Earlier this week we posted a story on News New Mexico of a column written by Bill O'Reilly in which he pointed out how under-reported all of this violence occurring just across our border is in the national press. It is News New Mexico's intent to make sure this terrible situation  is not UNDER-reported here.
The violence is rooted in a battle for control of drug and human traffic to the U.S. And sadly, in the U.S. Senate these days there is a wide and sweeping new proposal made by.......get this....our own senators. This proposal by Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall goes much farther than simply insuring open spaces. It creates a safer haven for illegal border crossings in Southern Dona Ana County! How? By making use of the 1964 Wilderness Act. What will happen if this law passes? The proposed new law will severely restrict the mechanized patrolling activities of our Border Patrol.
No doubt drug and human cartels just south of the border are licking their chops at the possibility that New Mexico' U.S. senators are going to open up a softer spot on their own border. How can this happen? So far there has been far too little resistance from local citizens in the form of vociferous objections to the bone-headed legislation that can make this possible. The plan begins with a careful disguise. The law was given a noble name; the "Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Wilderness Act."
Can Dona Ana County citizens end the horrible violence in Mexico? This is doubtful. Can citizens take actions that make it far less likely these conflicts will spill across the border into the place where we live? We think so. It will being with placing telephone calls Senator Jeff Bingaman's office 202-224-5521 and let him know there is a big difference between open space and wilderness and you understand what those differences are. For more information simple search for border stories on this site. The senator's email address is bingaman.senate.gov


Lambro - Another Half-Baked Idea

Donald Lambro
WASHINGTON -- President Obama's latest cooked-up economic plan calls for spending more than $50 billion on public works projects, raising taxes on small businesses, and a dubious package of tax credits that even his advisers say will not create new jobs anytime soon. Did I mention that to pay for the tax credits, he intends to close a bunch of so-called business tax loopholes -- a political process that I think will let Obama and his party in Congress pick the winners and losers in our economy? Read more here:

Linda Chavez - Same Old Same Old

Linda Chavez
The president was in full campaign mode this week as he delivered a stump speech on the economy in Cleveland. But the magic is gone. He's no longer the silver-tongued orator who could make us feel good about ourselves and the prospects for our country -- which was key to his victory in 2008. Now he's just another partisan hack blaming the other party for his own failure of leadership. Instead of changing his tone and rhetoric, the president should be focused on changing his policies. But he seems incapable of any new thinking on what to do about the ailing economy. His only solution is to spend more. He's now touting a new economic stimulus: $50 billion in supposed infrastructure spending, which he's coupled to some targeted tax breaks for businesses. But few people -- including those vulnerable members of Congress in his own party -- are buying his plan, for good reason. Read more here:

State Republicans Optimistic

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Dianna Duran
From the New Mexico Independent - About two dozen Democratic legislators face GOP challengers this November. Fewer than 10 Republican lawmakers confront similar prospects, fending off Democratic challengers. It’s a ratio that causes Republican House Minority Whip Keith Gardner to smile. Two years after Democrats rolled to victory at the Roundhouse, adding to majorities in the state House and the state Senate, signs are pointing to a year that favors the GOP. Republican Susana Martinez leads Democratic Lt. Gov. Diane Denish in the governor’s race, according to recent polls. And GOP Sen. Dianna Duran could have the best shot in 80 years for a Republican to win the Secretary of State’s office.
So forgive Gardner for thinking his party could make some gains in the New Mexico House of Representatives. “There could be some wonderful surprises,” Gardner said. “We are poised to make significant gains.” The disparity between targeted Democratic and Republican seats signals an opportunity for state Republicans to seize on the momentum this election cycle and regain legislative seats it has lost in recent years. Currently, Democrats have a 45-25 advantage in the state House. And some Republicans are talking about the possibility that voter discontent could help the party significantly narrow that margin. Read more here: