New Mexico Casinos report slower tourist season

From the Santa Fe New - by Steve Terrell - The recession has been tough on all kinds of businesses, and local Indian-owned gambling casinos haven't been immune. True, the statewide net win for the most recent quarter was slightly higher than last year's total for the same period. But two of the four casinos in the Santa Fe/Española area reported weaker numbers for the recent tourist season compared with year-ago figures. Under compacts between casino-operating tribes and the state of New Mexico, the state collects a share of the take from slot-machines. One tribe reporting smaller numbers is Pojoaque Pueblo north of Santa Fe, home to the massive Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino, which has experienced financial problems. At least three times in the past year, Pojoaque missed making $11 million payments on bonds it issued for financing. State Gaming Control Board records show Pojoaque's net wins for the third quarter of 2010 were just over $13.3 million. The net win is the amount gambled on slot machines minus the amount paid in cash and noncash prizes as well as fees. That's down nearly 6 percent from the third quarter of 2009, for which the pueblo reported more than $14.1 million in net wins. The third quarter includes the months of July, August and September. Pojoaque Gov. George Rivera, who couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday, in May told The New Mexican that the pueblo was trying to negotiate a restructuring of its payments to bondholders. Read more

Martinez says layoffs are on the table

From the New Mexico Independent - By Trip Jennings - Republican Governor-elect Susana Martinez said Wednesday that layoffs of state workers isn’t her first option, but she acknowledged that the possibility isn’t off the table. “I would like not to have layoffs,” Martinez said Wednesday at an Albuquerque news conference. “People are already in furloughs in state government. We have to make sure we are providing the necessary core services and so I would never say they are off the table. Fixing New Mexico’s state budget will dominate the legislative agenda as Martinez and state lawmakers learn to work together starting in January to close a $260-million gap in the 2012 budget after the state already has cut costs and raised revenue during previous legislative sessions. Martinez made promises on the campaign trail that might prove difficult to keep. The governor-elect promised not to raise taxes in her first year at the same time she promised not to cut two of the largest areas in the state budget — public education and Medicaid, the government’s low-income health insurance program. Education and Medicaid make up 60 percent of the state budget. Martinez said Wednesday that there were 3,000 vacant state jobs around New Mexico state government. But it was unknown how much of a savings New Mexico would net from eliminating those positions because it’s unclear how many of the vacant jobs are actually funded. Read more

Three Teams To Join WAC -

University of Denver, Texas-San Antonio and Texas State will join the WAC in 2012-13 to offset the departures of Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada to the Mountain West, multiple sources told  Read more here.

Food versus fuel: rising grain costs show folly of continuing federal ethanol subsidies

From the Houston Chronicle - One of the most politically charged decisions the lame-duck Congress will face when it reconvenes is deciding whether to extend subsidies for corn-based ethanol. As rising prices for grain set off alarms among ranchers, consumers and environmentalists, ethanol lobbyists are counting on their generous contributions to key legislators to protect their reserved seats at the governmental feed trough. Several key subsidies — including high tariffs on imports of foreign ethanol and tax credits for ethanol blended into gasoline — are set to expire at the end of December. Congress must decide whether to continue down a track of underwriting food for fuel that resulted in the conversion of 25 percent of the U.S. corn harvest in 2007 to ethanol, a share that experts say will steadily rise in the coming decade along with oil prices. The only thing "green" about ethanol is the material that goes into making it. Large quantities of fresh water are required for its manufacture, and corn production requires high levels of fertilizer that are transported by the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in oxygen-starved dead zones. Ethanol delivers less than half the energy of conventional gasoline per gallon. In a world where millions are starving daily, the use of foodstuffs for fuel additives is a short-sighted solution to energy independence. The United States is by far the major global exporter of corn, and for decades a glut of those yellow kernels stacked up in Midwest granaries. Now America has little available for export. Acreage for growing more corn is in short supply, and failed harvests of wheat and soybeans in Asia this year are pushing up competition for available U.S. farmland to grow those crops. The competing demands on corn inventories — to feed fowl and livestock, fill boxes of packaged cereals on store shelves, and as feedstock for ethanol — have contributed to jumps of 70 percent in the value of corn futures over the past few months. Read more

Blowback Against TSA Grows

From the Personal Liberty Digest - by Bob Livingston - The blowback against the increasingly invasive Transportation Security Administration porn show/grope fest at airports is growing — finally. First it was a lone pilot who objected. ExpressJet Airlines pilot Michael Roberts chose to go home rather than be subjected to a full body scan or TSA sexual assault-like “enhanced body pat-down.” Now the president of the Allied Pilots Association, which represents 11,500 pilots, has urged members of the union to revolt against the use of backscatter radiation machines. In a letter published in the Atlantic, Association President Captain Dave Bates writes that “…the practice of airport security screening of airline pilots has spun out of control and does nothing to improve national security. It’s long past time that policymakers take the steps necessary to exempt commercial pilots from airport security screening…” Read more

Martinez Interview to Air Thursday

Susana Martinez
News New Mexico recorded an interview with Governor-Elect Susana Martinez on Wednesday morning after the show. The interview will be aired Thursday morning November 11th during the 7:00am hour. Martinez discussed a wide-range of issues including her plans for eliminating the pending $260 million budget deficit facing the State of New Mexico as well as the recent highly controversial election day enactment of a "cap and tax rule" by the Richardson administration's Environmental Improvement Board.


What's So Great About America

Andrew Ferguson
From the Weekly Standard - Marco Rubio will have to write a new speech sooner or later, but he shouldn’t hurry up on our account. We still enjoy the one he’s been giving all year. He delivered it again to a national television audience on Election Night, after walloping not one but two formidable opponents in his campaign for a vacant Florida Senate seat. Along with his gift for wooing voters, the speech has made Rubio, according to a chorus of news accounts, a “rising star”—even, said one Vanity Fair writer who should know, a “matinee idol.”
Marco Rubio
Republicans might want to ponder why. The theme of the speech, and the source of its power, is American exceptionalism. “It’s sometimes easy to forget how special America really is,” Rubio says. “But I was raised by exiles .  .  . by people who clearly understand how different America is from the rest of the world.” Rubio’s parents, who fled Castro’s tyranny, taught him this difference by their words and by their example. Read here:


Boehner to Eschew Pelosi Mode of Transportation

From - House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday he intends to take commercial flights home when he moves up to speaker in the new Congress. “Over the last 20 years, I have flown back and forth to my district on commercial aircraft, and I am going to continue to do that,” he told reporters. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, took heat in 2007 when she started flying an Air Force jet that could go nonstop back to her congressional district in California. Read here:

Initial Jobless Claims Hit 4 Month Low

From Bloomberg - The number of Americans filing initial jobless claims last week fell to the lowest level in four months, reinforcing evidence the U.S. labor market is healing. Applications for jobless benefits declined by 24,000 to 435,000 in the week ended Nov. 6, lower than the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The total number of people collecting unemployment insurance fell to the lowest level since November 2008, and those receiving extended payments also declined. Read here:

LC Sun-News Publisher Quits After 90 Days

The Las Cruces Sun-News publisher's job continues to be a revolving door. The most recent departure from the job can now be attributed to Jim Maxwell who resigned abruptly and effective immediately. According to a Sun-News report Maxwell said, "I miss my family. While I love southern New Mexico, I'm thinking of moving to the coast to be closer to them." Maxwell had been the newspaper's CEO for ninety days replacing Ann Reed. Prior to his position as Sun-New publisher, he was group publisher for Texas-New Mexico Newspaper Partnership's community publications in Ruidoso, Farmington, Silver City, Deming, Carlsbad, and Alamogordo. Maxwell's boss, Sergio Salinas who is publisher of the El Paso Times said, "Las Crucens deserve quality news, information and service. Our commitment remains steady. A new publisher will be announced shortly."


Bingaman Cited in Leaked White House Memo

Jeff Bingaman
Sen. Jeff Bingaman was cited as a reason against pulling funding for a federal-loan guarantee program according to a leaked memo from the Barack Obama administration. The Wall Street Journal reported that the memo warned against pulling the funding because it would upset Bingaman, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The memo cited a $1.3 billion loan for a wind farm project in Oregon that the federal government would provide a partial guarantee for. Read here:
Share/Bookmark - Two More Dems Support Cervantes

Donna Irwin
From - Two more Democratic House members said Tuesday that they want Rep. Joseph Cervantes to become speaker, even if he has to form a coalition with Republicans to make it happen. Reps. Dona Irwin of Deming and Mary Helen Garcia of Las Cruces – Cervantes’ aunt – said in interviews with that they hope the Democratic caucus will agree to replace current Speaker Ben Luján with Cervantes, D-Las Cruces. Both said they are willing to back a coalition with Republicans if the Democratic caucus refuses to act. Read here:


Google's "Ties" to Obama to be Probed?

From The Hill - As House Republicans plan an ambitious oversight agenda for the next session of Congress, a watchdog group is calling for a probe into a company that it says is far too cozy with the Obama administration: Google. The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), a group that advocates for a smaller and more ethical government, wrote to leaders of the House Oversight Committee this month urging them to investigate a major privacy breach by Google. It wants to know if the company's ties to the administration helped it dodge penalties after the incident. Read here:


Harbison: Thanks to Our Veterans!

Jim Harbison
We should all take this opportunity to pay tribute to all the veterans that for more than 250 years have been defending this Nation from “all enemies, foreign and domestic”. Throughout our history they have unselfishly offered not only their service and their lives, but also their loyalty and dedication to preserving our unique form of government. The strength of this nation is built on the blood of its patriots and while all veterans may not be heroes they are all patriots.
The United States, including all its faults, is still the best country in the world thanks to the dedication and sacrifices of the past and present members of the U.S. military. They have been willing to risk their own lives to secure the freedoms that the rest of this nation enjoys. Military service requires individuals to suspend or sacrifice some of the normal rights and freedoms enjoyed by their civilian counterparts. For example, they do not have the same levels of freedom of speech as evidenced by the recent firing of General Stanley McCrystal. There are also restrictions on many activities or freedoms that do not apply to non-military personnel. These restrictions and depravations still do not discourage their service or dedication to preserving our Nation.
Often living in unfathomable circumstances, frequently without the basic necessities, routinely working 24-hours per day in the most inhospitable environments, they continue to serve the people of this great country. They have experienced situations and the most traumatic events that are beyond the imagination of most of us. Too many of them live with the daily horror of seeing their friends and companions suffer devastating injuries and horrific death. Many suffer from life changing wounds and yet our society fails to address their needs. Unfortunately many suffer the indignity of inadequate or even denial of promised medical care. Too often they have difficulty in finding a job and some employers are apprehensive about hiring a veteran because of potential post traumatic stress issues. Most of us cannot even begin to understand what they experienced or the nightmares that may haunt them forever. Veterans often experience long periods of separation from their families, put off getting married or having children, or going to college. In many cases their lives are put on “hold” until they complete their military service.
They return home to America only to find their government indifferent and the promises made by the Congress are worthless. They did not challenge or question the government’s commitment to them when it sent them to foreign or hostile places. Perhaps it was because they believed their leaders were men of integrity and therefore did not doubt the promises made by the various government officials and agencies. Far too often they are either ignored or undermined, by the very Congress that sent them into harm’s way in the first place. Some in society choose to punish the veterans for the unpopular decisions made by Congress to engage in wars. We need to acknowledge that the veteran was a servant of this nation. Remember war is “Political Power by Force” and the veterans had no choice in the war they would be forced to fight - that decision was made by Congress. We owe an eternal debt to our veterans for their constant vigil and commitment to preserve our freedoms and maintain our form of government. Since the founding of this country our veterans have always put the Nation ahead of their own needs and have sacrificed their lives and fortunes to secure its future. Be sure to thank all the veterans you know and let them know you appreciate their service.


SF cops vote no-confidence in city hall

From - SANTA FE - Members of the Santa Fe police officers union are expressing no confidence in the city manager and a deputy city attorney amid complaints about City Hall favoritism and interference with the police department's internal affairs. City administrators say they take Monday's union vote seriously, but they stand behind actions that have riled rank-and-file members of the department. Ninety of 100 voting officers in the 130-member Santa Fe Police Officers Association checked the "no confidence" option on a ballot in regard to City Manager Robert Romero and Deputy City Attorney Mark Allen. Union president Allan Lopez says six officers turned in ballots but abstained, and four voted "yes confidence." Read more

Obama Speaks Where Ahmadinejad is Adored

President Barack Obama was scheduled to spend his Wednesday in Indonesia visiting Jakarta's massive Istiqlal Mosque and then giving a speech on the "pluralism and tolerance" of his host country at the University of Indonesia. It is both ironic and instructive that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad not only made the same stops on a trip to Indonesia four years ago, but was greeted, according to press reports, as a "rock star." At the university, Ahmadinejad gave a speech that cast doubt on the holocaust, predicted the destruction of Israel and yearned aloud for a day when the entire world would submit to Shariah law. Later, he told a group of Indonesia's top clerics that every young Muslim man was an "atomic bomb."

Mahmoud Amadinejad

When Ahmadinejad attended the Friday prayer service at the Istiqlal Mosque, the congregation greeted him with a chant of "God is great" and a crowd gathered outside sent him off with a lusty cheer of "Fight America, fight Israel." In an Oct. 28 White House briefing, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes set the stage for Obama's Indonesian trip by announcing that the president would first visit the Istiqlal Mosque and follow that visit with a speech to the Indonesian people that would "talk about some of the themes of democracy and development and our outreach to Muslim communities around the world, while also speaking of Indonesia's pluralism and tolerance, as well." Read here:


Williams: The Worry Over Trade Deficits

Walter Williams
From - At the recent Group of 20 (G 20) meeting, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner called upon the largest industrialized economies to get their current account balance -- whether a surplus or a deficit -- below 4 percent of their gross domestic product by 2015. Four countries have current account surpluses exceeding 4 percent: Saudi Arabia (6.7 percent), Germany (6.1 percent), China (4.7 percent) and Russia (4.7 percent.) Countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia that are "structurally large exporters of raw materials" would be exempt from the 4 percent limit, so the pressure of the U.S. proposal falls mainly on China and Germany. Our annual trade deficit of $500 billion is less than 4 percent of our GDP. Read here:


Jackson: Do You Hear What I Hear?

Harry Jackson Jr.
From - Last week’s election results were historic. John Boehner’s teary-eyed victory speech was very appropriate because he had just observed a modern day miracle. Boehner lives in the world of political reality. He is not a wimp. He is rough and tumble, professional politician. Nonetheless, his heart was moved by the surprising change in the nation’s political cycle. The 60 seat congressional swing in favor of the GOP, along with 17 state legislatures changing from Democratic to Republican, has definitely been a loud statement of displeasure by the American people. Just as surely as the nation voted to give President Obama a chance to bring change in 2008, the midterm vote clearly repudiated both the priorities and tactics of the administration. Read here: