Green Power All about the Green

From the Rio Grande - By Lou Mattei, SUN Assistant News Editor - More than six months of negotiations between the Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative and Jemez Pueblo collapsed last week as the Co-op’s Board of Trustees rejected a final offer to purchase renewable power from a planned solar energy plant on the Pueblo. At the heart of the two sides’ inability to strike a deal was a dispute over the value of the Co-op’s expired and soon-to-expire easements through Pueblo land. The value of those easements was built into the Pueblo’s proposed price for the Co-op to purchase the solar energy.  Read more

Governor-elect outlines possible cuts to education

From - by Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - New Mexico's Governor-elect now wants to cut public school budgets without any cuts in classroom spending - but the state's largest school district says it can't be done. Susana Martinez has modified her campaign promise not to cut school spending at all, after learning of a much larger than expected budget deficit projection right after the November election. The Republican insists cuts must be made in administrative spending, but Albuquerque Public Schools finance officials are circulating documents that show there's not enough money in administration to make the cuts they believe they'll be required to make. Read more

Rates set to jump for Oregon customers in January.

From Oregon - By Ted Sickinger, The Oregonian - Come New Year's, better strip the lights off the house and the Christmas tree ASAP. Customers of Pacific Power will see their electric rates spike 14.5 percent in January. The increase comes in a one-two punch: an 8.4 percent general rate increase state utility regulators approved Friday, and a 6.1 percent increase for increased power costs they are expected to approve Dec. 28. Both take effect Jan. 1. Meanwhile, customers of the state's largest electric utility, Portland General Electric Co., will see a lesser, but still significant, rate increase of about 3.9 percent. Read more

N. Korea: We're Gonna Give You "One More Chance"

Fox News - UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council failed to take action to defuse tensions between North and South Korea on Sunday and diplomats blamed China for refusing to condemn the North for two deadly attacks this year that helped send relations to their lowest point in decades. At the end of an emergency meeting called by Russia that lasted eight hours, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said the vast majority of the 15-member council was insisting on "a clear-cut condemnation" of North Korea but there was no unanimity.
Although diplomats from some countries still need to consult their capitals, Rice said "I think it's safe to predict that the gaps that remain are unlikely to be bridged." Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin agreed that "we were not successful in bridging all the bridges," but he expressed hope that continued diplomatic contacts "will result in a successful conclusion." The council meeting took place as South Korea's military prepared to conduct one-day, live-fire drills by Tuesday on the same front-line island the North shelled last month as the South conducted a similar exercise. Read full story here:


FCC: What Shall We Ruin Next? The Internet?

Wall Street Journal - by Robert McDowell - Tomorrow morning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will mark the winter solstice by taking an unprecedented step to expand government's reach into the Internet by attempting to regulate its inner workings. In doing so, the agency will circumvent Congress and disregard a recent court ruling. How did the FCC get here? For years, proponents of so-called "net neutrality" have been calling for strong regulation of broadband "on-ramps" to the Internet, like those provided by your local cable or phone companies.
Rules are needed, the argument goes, to ensure that the Internet remains open and free, and to discourage broadband providers from thwarting consumer demand. That sounds good if you say it fast. Nothing is broken and needs fixing, however. The Internet has been open and freedom-enhancing since it was spun off from a government research project in the early 1990s. Its nature as a diffuse and dynamic global network of networks defies top-down authority. Ample laws to protect consumers already exist. Furthermore, the Obama Justice Department and the European Commission both decided this year that net-neutrality regulation was unnecessary and might deter investment in next-generation Internet technology and infrastructure. Read full cdolumn here:


Apparently, Dems Are Building Rail Runners Everywhere! - by Debra Saunders - In the last decade, the symbol for profligate federal spending was the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" -- a huge proposed span that would link the town of Ketchikan, Alaska, population 7,500, to an airport on Gravina Island. Powerful Alaska Republican lawmakers tried to stick American taxpayers with a huge chunk of the tab for this dubious project.
This decade, the symbol for federal pork-barrel excess may well be Trains to Nowhere -- and if Democrats get their way, those boondoggles could span the country. At least in blue states. Last month, voters in Wisconsin and Ohio elected Republican governors. Rather than just talking about spending less, both Ohio's John Kasich and Wisconsin's Scott Walker had pledged, if elected, to reject funds earmarked for high-speed rail projects in the 2009 Obama stimulus package. Kasich said he would say no to $385 million for a train connecting Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. Walker said he would reject $810 million for a train from Madison to Milwaukee. Read full column here:


Chapman: American Education - Curbing Excellence

Townhall - by Steve Chapman - America's primary and secondary schools have many problems, but an excess of excellence is not one of them. Not only do our weak students fare poorly in international comparisons, so do our strong ones. Mediocrity is the national norm. The very best students are the ones most likely to do things of great benefit to the rest of us -- cure malaria, devise revolutionary inventions, start the next Apple or plumb the secrets of the universe. But we don't always put much importance on helping them realize their full potential.
A case in point is Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Ill., a racially and economically mixed suburb of Chicago that is home to Northwestern University. It recently decided to eliminate a high honors freshman English course aimed at challenging the top students. Henceforth, these youngsters will be grouped with everyone else in a regular "honors" class in humanities. Next year, the same may be done with biology. Your kid is an honor student at ETHS? Heck, everyone is an honors student at ETHS. It's hardly the only school in America where grouping students according to their ability is in disrepute. There is a widespread impulse to treat all kids as equally able and willing to learn. But the results often fall dismally short of the hopes. Read full column here:

Baum: What's Behind Hating Extension of Tax Rates?

Caroline Baum
Bloomberg - “Odious” is how senior adviser David Axelrod described President Barack Obama’s acquiescence to extending tax cuts for the rich as part of a deal struck with congressional Republicans.........Certain household chores -- cleaning the toilet, for example -- are odious.
Filling out health insurance forms is another repugnant task. Spending hours on the phone with HP tech support in India ranks high on the odious list. But being allowed to keep money you earned? What is it about tax cuts for the wealthy that so galls the Left? I can’t answer definitely because I don’t share the antipathy. My hunch is that folks who abhor tax cuts for the rich see the economic pie as a fixed quantity. Your gain is my loss. A tax cut, exemption, credit or deduction for you means nothing for me. It’s a zero sum game, except it isn’t. Read full column here:


Obama Administration Purchases Google "Obamacare" Search Results

Sounds like propaganda....From the Type in a search of “ObamaCare” into Google — the world’s most popular search engine — and the results may surprise you. According to Politico’s Ben Smith, the Obama administration has purchased top billing to divert internet surfers away from antagonist websites to a new “sponsored link” — the Department of Health and Human Service’s (HHS) “We are using a bunch of search term[s] to help point people to Part of our online efforts to help get accurate information to people about the new law (i.e. also use Facebook, Twitter, blogs and webcasts),” an HHS official confirmed by e-mail. The ad buy represents a kind of recognition that the Administration has, to a degree, lost a battle over defining its terms, and that “ObamaCare” — coined and used largely by detractors of the plan — is in wide circulation. A search for the term on Google yields 2.5 million results. More here


Assange: Poetic Justice for the Accused Rapist

AOL News - One of the two Swedish women accusing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of sexual assault said she had "the worst sex ever" with him, according to police documents leaked to a British newspaper this week. "Not only had it been the world's worst screw, it had also been violent," said the woman referred to as "Miss A" in documents published by the Guardian that give the full details of the allegations of rape and sexual assault against Assange for the first time.
Julian Assange
The statement contradicts in part what Miss A., previously identified by many major U.S. media outlets as Anna Ardin, 31, said to the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet last summer. "It is quite wrong that we were afraid of him. He is not violent and I do not feel threatened by him....," Ardin said. "The responsibility for what happened to me and the other girl lies with a man who had attitude problems with women." Read full story here:


Explanations of Record Cold in U.K. - Is This Science or a Big Push for Socialism?

News New Mexico Notes - Only the radical environmental movement could argue with a straight face that record COLD temperatures are caused by "global warming." That settles it. Stop taking in temperature data. If the temperatures readings are lower, it is obviously because of "global warming." And God help us, if the temperature data goes higher, well of course that is because of "global warming" too. It is a wonderful framing of the scientific discussion that results in a coin flip. Data does not matter. Big government is given permission to make energy more expensive to "save the planet."
The Mirror - It could be the coldest winter since 1963, with temperatures forecast to plummet to minus 23C. There are warnings of severe weather across 10 regions this weekend and the cold spell could last until mid-February. It follows last winter's severe weather, which brought the country grinding to a halt. Is this the beginning of the kind of extreme weather we've been told to expect as the climate changes thanks to man-made greenhouse gases? Or is it just the notoriously unreliable British weather?
Here, two of the country's leading weather experts give their views. YES - By Dr Liz Bentley, of the Royal Meteorological Society and founder of The Weather Club. QUESTION: What's happening to the weather? Last winter was the coldest since 1978/79 and looking at the current spell, we could be in for another one. ANSWER: "It may seem contradictory to link this with global warming, but there is growing evidence to show that we can expect a temporary period of colder winters as the climate warms." Read full story here:

So-Called "Dream Act" Dies in Senate

Washington Times - In a final showdown on immigration legislation, the Senate on Saturday blocked a bill to grant legal status to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant children and young adults, likely taking the issue off the table for several years. Known as the DREAM Act, the bill would have immediately legalized many illegal immigrants between 16 and 30, and would have offered a path to citizenship to some of them. It was halted by a Republican-led, bipartisan filibuster, with senators saying they think voters want to see border security before any legalization. "You're wasting your time," Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said. "We're not going to pass the Dream Act or any other legalization program until we secure our borders." Read full story here:

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Repealed

Col. Victor Fehrenbach
Washington Times - Setting the stage for a major social change, the Senate voted Saturday to overturn the military's policy banning openly gay and lesbian troops, know as "Don't ask, don't tell," sending the repeal to President Obama for his signature. The 65-31 vote, with eight Republicans joining Democrats, marks the beginning of the end for the 17-year-old policy, though the Pentagon and White House will need to make certain certifications before the ban officially is repealed. "We inexorably move to equality," said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat. "Sometimes it's painful, sometimes it's difficult, sometimes we take two steps forward and one step back, but as the great scholar de Tocqueville wrote when he visited America in the 1830s, the thing that separates America from all the other countries of the world is equality always prevails." Read full story here:

With Border in Chaos, Napolitano Proclaims "Environmental Justice" a Priority

From It is now day three of the hunt for one of the suspects in the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano visited border areas Thursday as part of a previously scheduled visit to the region. Napolitano’s team referred requests for comment to the FBI. That wasn’t obvious to several law enforcement officials in Arizona whom J-Nap refused to meet. Nor is it obvious given the warped priorities she laid out a recent White House environmental justice conference. Yes, environmental justice. More here


Aggie Women Fall At Arizona 71-59 Report - The New Mexico State Aggie women's basketball team continued their tough non-conference slate on Sunday afternoon in Tucson where they fell to Arizona 71-59. The Aggies trailed by 12 points in the second half but crawled back to within just four with just under four minutes left to play before Arizona would pull away in the final two minutes. Click here to read more.

Aggies Hold Off Pacific 69-64 For Third Consecutive Victory Report
The New Mexico State men's basketball team picked up its their consecutive victory defeating Pacific 69-64 on Saturday night in the Lou Henson Classic. With legendary head coach Lou Henson on the bench with the Aggies, the young team playing without five of the players who led them to victory over Pacific in last season's Bracketbusters matchup, earned their first come-from-behind victory this season overcoming a five-point halftime deficit. Click here to read more.

Chavez: Don't Play Politics on Afghanistan

Linda Chavez
From - There are few areas in which I believe President Obama has earned high marks, but his decision to send more troops to Afghanistan last year is one I supported. Now, a new U.S. military assessment of the progress made in Afghanistan suggests that the 30,000 additional U.S. troops deployed in 2009-2010 have made a difference in southern Afghanistan, especially in Helmand and Kandahar provinces. Unfortunately, those additional troops may begin to be withdrawn next July, which could not only set back current progress but subject our remaining troops to greater danger -- simply to fulfill a political promise.

South Tower WTC
Throughout the 2008 presidential campaign, then-candidate Barack Obama harped on the failure of the Bush administration to rout al-Qaida in Afghanistan. Iraq, he claimed, was the wrong war -- the bad war -- while Afghanistan was the good war, one that was in our national interest. I believed at the time that his intent in focusing on Afghanistan was more political than strategic. He wanted to avoid being labeled simply anti-war and weak on defense, as Americans have come to regard many Democrats over the years. But candidate Obama also needed the support of anti-war elements within his own party to win the nomination, which meant he had to promise that any commitment to Afghanistan would be short-lived. Read full column here:

Profiling: American as Apple Pie

From Profiling is an essential part of organized life, and it is accepted as normal in most circumstances. It all depends on who is being profiled and who is protesting. Selwyn Duke recently discussed demographic profiling in an AT article where he correctly pointed to the fact that police for years have had a much keener interest in young people, particularly males, than in any other demographic group. Duke's premise -- that the process is purely and simply demographic profiling grounded in the legitimate stereotype of the reckless, risk-taking young male -- got me to thinking that such profiling (yes, even racial profiling) is rampant in our society. In fact, such profiling is practiced daily throughout the country by the risk managers and actuaries of insurance companies for a variety of coverages. More here


Protecting the Victim's Franchise: Meeks Says Minority Contracts Should Only Go To Blacks

Greg Meeks
From the “The word "minority" from our standpoint should mean African American. I don’t think women, Asians and Hispanics should be able to use that title,” he said. “That’s why our numbers cannot improve — because we use women, Asians and Hispanics who are not people of color, who are not people who have been discriminated against.” More here


Elmo Pushes White House Propaganda

From And nobody has a problem with using a beloved children’s character to push for Democratic legislation?… “And because of this new law that was passed, we’re going to make sure that all food in school is healthy, nutritious and delicious.” Video here Picture compliments of


The Day Our House Burned Down

Eight years ago yesterday our house was virtually destroyed by an electrical fire in our son's bedroom. What follows is an account of the day after. The first thing we did was meet the fire investigators at the house so they could show us how they had determined the origin of the fire. As we drove up to the driveway of the house we began to gain a sense of the destruction. Soot from the fire had deposited itself above the side door entrance to the house. It was a black layer that was baked into the stucco from the top of the door to the top of the exterior of the house nearly sixteen feet off the ground.
As we approached, we saw that the side door was covered in a black oily film. We would become very familiar with that black oily substance in the weeks and months ahead. When we entered the house we were expecting the worse. We got it. The place gave us the same feeling we would have gotten if we had encountered the dead body of a friend of the family. It was dark in the house because all of the windows were coated with oily soot. One of the first things the fire department did was cut off the electricity and gas. There were no lights to turn on to get a better look but we could see as well as we wanted to see. We had just re-painted and installed new carpeting throughout the home the previous summer. There was at least ¾ of an inch of standing water in most of the front of the house. The carpet was a gray paste from the ash.
The stick of the artificial Christmas tree Kristi had decorated was still standing, but the branches had melted and sagged. Priceless hand-made Christmas tree ornaments, made by Kristi’s grandmother out of real goose eggs more than fifty years earlier had crashed to the floor and broken as the branches drooped. Presents still under the tree were covered with melted plastic. The brand new Lazy-Boy sectional furniture units we bought recently were black instead of tan. Everything in the entire interior of our home was coated with a film of oily black soot.
We slowly headed down the hallway to Davey’s bedroom where the fire started. In the hallway picture frames had crashed to the floor and the contents were charred beyond recognition. Eighty percent of the door to Davey’s bedroom was charred to the point of disintegration though what was left was still hanging on its metal hinges. The devastation in Davey’s bedroom was shocking. His bed, cabinets, entertainment unit, clothing, and electronic components were strewn together in a macabre heap. The mass contained items that were melted, charred, or so covered with oily soot that they were unrecognizable. Not a single personal item from my son’s room was salvageable. He had suffered a complete loss of every material possession he had except for the clothes on his back and the things he had left in his car.
The fire investigator pointed to an electrical outlet in the southwest corner of the bedroom and began to explain how they knew it was an electrical fire. I did my best to stay with him during his explanation, but my mind was racing. It was like a war scene. Fortunately, nobody had perished. Only “things” had been destroyed. I reminded myself of the pact I made with the Lord on the way to the house when I didn’t know whether Davey was safe. Now it was time to accept reality. As my mind drifted back towards the words of the fire investigator, he was asking me a question about something. This was towards the end of his explanation of the fire’s origin and the nature of determining fire origins. I must have had a dumb look on my face. He repeated the question and I answered it. I don’t remember what it was.
We went to the first spare bedroom, which was on the street side of the house. The window had been bashed in by firemen during the fire fight. The door to this bedroom was charred too though not like the one across the hall on Davey’s bedroom. Chards of glass both large and small were spread all over the king sized bed in the room. Again soot was everywhere and there were Christmas gifts still in plastic from the store. They were melted to the bed spread. A bookcase containing video-cassette tapes of our favorite movies had the remnants of a melted plastic frame on the top of it. The video-cassettes were covered in soot and warped. Next we went to my nephew Jack’s bedroom, which was also on the street side of the house. The window had cracked from the heat but had not been broken by the firemen. Everything in Jack’s bedroom was covered in soot. His computer was partially melted. Down the hall we went to the first bathroom. The door to the bathroom was in nearly as bad a shape as the door to Davey’s bedroom. The door to the furnace closet was burned badly too.
The first bathroom had suffered severe heat and smoke damage. Next came the den, which is in the middle of the house. The den contained a love seat, couch, sewing closet, computer desk, a sewing desk, a television, and our home desktop computer. The casing of the computer monitor was warped, as was the television. The on-off switches in the entryway to the den were melted and the plastic from the switches and covers had run down the walls like candle wax. There were two ceiling fans in the den. The heat was so intense in there that the fan blades had drooped. Instead of the fan blades spreading out horizontally they were nearly vertical. Our initial inspection continued into the back portion of the house where the master bedroom and bathrooms were. The smoke damage was incredible. Everything, even in the very back of the house in the utility room, was covered in an all too familiar layer of soot. I opened drawers to my dresser. The steamy oily smoke had penetrated the drawers. The clothing in the drawers was black.
All the clothing items in the closets were covered with soot. Everything we touched resulted in soot on our hands. The oak furnituree had a layer of soot baked into the surface. The walls were black. The bathroom fixtures were black. Our washer dryer and deep freezer in the utility room were black. Our books were black. Everything was black. We returned to the living room. My 60-inch big screen television was melted. The screen looked like a gigantic waffle. Video-cassettes on the top of the speaker units were melted to the surface. The kitchen was in similar condition. In the pantry, which bordered Davey’s bedroom, five-pound bags of sugar had been solidified into blocks of a glass like substance by the intense heat. The skylights in the front and center of the house had either shattered or bubbled up like chewing gum. It was cold and dark inside the family home that morning as we surveyed the damage. Signs of Christmas were everywhere, but the signs were gray and black instead of red and green. Things were either, melted, warped, or covered in soot.
After twenty-minutes in the house the toxic air was more than we could take. There was so much soot in the house it was thick in the air. A wave of nausea came over us and we went outside. We were homeless. It was time to find lodging. It would be eighteen months before we rebuilt our home. Eight years ago today I was on the phone. It was five days before Christmas. For the first time in decades I was looking for a house to rent.