It's Cens-Mas!

From The Census Bureau today released the official reapportionment figures from the 2010 Census, which will determine (1) what states gain and lose House seats and thus will be prime targets for redistricting and (2) what states correspondingly gain and lose votes in the Electoral College for 2012. By and large, the news was good for the GOP. For the immediate impact, I’ll focus on the Electoral College, although it’s worth noting how many of the redistricting states - especially the two biggest gainers, Texas (+4) and Florida (+2), and one of the two biggest losers, Ohio (-2) - are now under heavy GOP control (and the GOP just recently took control of the NY State Senate, assuring a place at the table in the other state losing more than one seat, as NY is also -2). Here are the other states gaining or losing one seat. Gaining a seat: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington More here


Obama's Political Arm Vows to Revive Dream Act

From President Obama's political arm vowed to revive the DREAM Act on Monday after the Senate jettisoned the issue in a weekend vote. Mitch Stewart, the director of Organizing for America (OFA), the president's political arm within the Democratic National Committee (DNC), sought to reassure liberal and Hispanic voters that they would look to pass the immigration bill again in the future. "This fight isn't over -- and when it comes up in the next Congress, we need to be on the record saying that Republicans can't hold reform hostage to political games," Stewart wrote. More here

Dem Rep. Tells Russian Media US is a "Banana Republic" Without Wealth Redistribution

From Without more redistribution of wealth, the United States of America is on the road to becoming a “banana republic,” warns Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. In an interview with Russia Today, Congresswoman Schakowsky claims that the American middle class is disappearing because the federal government is failing to effectively redistribute wealth. Among her top concerns: extending Bush-era tax cuts for all income levels: Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t “banana republics” tend to be found in parts of the world where government become too involved — whether voluntarily or by force? And isn’t free enterprise one of the best ways to deter such concentrated government power? Video and more here


Martinez picks Florida reformer to be education secretary

From NM - by Heath Haussamen - Gov.-elect Susana Martinez has nominated a woman who implemented education reforms in Florida to be New Mexico’s next public education secretary. From the press release: Hanna Skandera “served as the deputy commissioner of education under (Florida) Governor Jeb Bush, where she promoted and implemented middle and high school reforms that instituted greater accountability, incentives for high performance and the end of social promotion. As a result of the education reforms put in place in Florida, reading scores improved dramatically across ethnic groups, with Hispanic students outperforming all students in 31 other states,” the release states. Skandera has also served as a senior policy advisor for the U.S. Department of Education and undersecretary for education for the State of California. Read more

Tea Party Express and CNN Alliance

From They say that opposites attract — but this opposite? Call it a tempest in a teapot or call it a gathering storm (you decide the cliche) but the planned Cable News Network presidential debates with Tea Party Express are already raising more eyebrows than Jack Nicholson as The Joker. Yes, the network and the supposedly grass roots organization are teaming up to stage 2012 presidential debates and the chattering classes are working over time. Most guffaw-inducing comment so far: A Salon blogger criticizes the mating for a lack of “basic standards of journalistic ethics.” More here

Why Obama Surrendered the Missile Shield

From Documents from the State Department published by WikiLeaks show that the Obama administration surrendered the missile shield previously planned by the Bush administration to Europe because of Russian demands, not because of any supposed intel reports. The original missile defense scheme was devised by the Bush administration, which persuaded Poland and the Czech Republic to authorize missile defense systems (ten unarmed interceptors and a radar) to be deployed on their soil. In April 2008, Bush outmaneuvered Vladimir Putin by obtaining an endorsement of this scheme from all NATO allies before the Russian leader reached Bucharest for the NATO-Russia summit. More here

Florida model could shape N.M. reform

From the Santa Fe - by Robert Nott - NewsNM note: this article ran November 22, 2010 but since we are talking about the Florida reforms for education it is good to revisit this article. Matthew Ladner made it clear that legislators have to fire a lot of bullets at the target of education in order to score some successes. Ladner, vice president for research at Phoenix's Goldwater Institute (which he called a free-market think tank), presented a study on Florida's K-12 program to the Legislative Education Study Committee in the Capitol a couple of weeks ago. I wrote about his presentation in last week's column. Among Florida's reforms, initiated over a decade ago, are an A-to-F grading system for schools, a voucher program for special-needs kids to attend private schools, financial incentives for public-school success and recruiting teachers from alternative-certificate programs. Sen. Stephen H. Fischmann, D-Mesilla Park, invited Ladner to speak at the session. "I was supposed to be part of what was to be the 'new liberal' crowd coming into the Legislature," he said with a hearty laugh by phone. "We're elected to get results and put some good policy in place." "Though a Republican governor is coming in, and Ladner is from a conservative think-tank organization, good results are good results, and I don't care where they come from." Fischmann said New Mexico can't try to copy Florida because the demographics of the states are too different. But he likes a lot of the Florida ideas, including the emphasis on reading (if students in Florida can't demonstrate proficient reading skills by the third grade, they are held back). Read more

You Know Your State Has Been Mis-Managed When ....... 60 Minutes Comes Calling

Steve Kroft
Capitol Report New Mexico - You know you are not getting the best effort from the stewards of your state's treasure when......Steve Kroft of CBS's 60 Minutes decides to come calling and ask you what you have been spending your citizens hard-earned money on.  Wanna know why states like New Mexico are

a) in budget crisis mode and
b) why the economic hole is so deep?
Steve Kroft of “60 Minutes” has a insightful overview here that includes the massive problem of state pension plans for public employees that will only get worse unless states make some drastic changes: See video here:

Border Danger - Delivered by Our Elected Officials

Westerner - by Steve Wilmuth - As Americans watch the Lame Duck Session of Congress, there is little evidence that the Democrats recognize the mandate shot across the bow of party leadership on November 2nd. That leadership trudges ahead with the agenda that does nothing for what ails us. Heart Landers have little faith that “right decisions” will be made and less faith that they would be enforced if they were made. Americans who live on the border and face that real world challenge look to their front and realize that there will be no real federal intervention unless more American blood is spilled.

Those same folks look over their shoulders and view the antics of Congress with hardened skepticism and distrust. Empty suits and collegial expression are what we have come to expect. From Brownsville to the Pacific Ocean, the southern border is on fire. Every American city that faces the border has ongoing reminders that a war is being waged across from them. In Matamoros across from Brownsville there were over 100 people killed recently in a two day stretch.
Across from El Paso in Juarez, the most dangerous city in the world, weekend death counts no longer make the news unless they reach double digits. In the San Diego Sector of the Border Patrol, human and drug smuggling activities are increasing relative to the entire border on a rate of increase that is only matched by the Tucson Sector where the most dangerous border in the world now exists. Read full story here:


Once Upon a Time in America, Not Long Ago

Debra Saunders - Once upon a time in America, when George W. Bush served as America's 43rd president, Democrats criticized the Bush tax cuts, especially for the wealthy. This month, President Obama called a measure extending all the Bush tax rates "a win for our economy" -- after excoriating liberal critics of his compromise tax package as "sanctimonious."

Once upon a time, Democrats trashed Bush for pushing tax cuts during a time of war, and Democrats slammed Bush for not demanding that Americans sacrifice to win the war on terror. This month, while U.S. troops serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama added more tax cuts to the Bush mix. Once upon a time, Democratic candidates promised that if they won the White House, they would shutter Guantanamo Bay, then referred to as a "recruiting tool for al-Qaida." In January 2009, Obama signed an executive order to close the detention center within a year. Today it's still open.
Once upon a time, Democrats argued that if they were in charge, Washington would pass "comprehensive immigration reform." Candidate Obama promised to make passage of an immigration bill a top priority during his first year in office. For two years, the Dems ran the White House, the House and the Senate -- and a bill never passed because they never really pushed it. Clearly, the leadership figured out that immigration is an issue that works best for them if left hanging.
Once upon a time, Democrats used Bush's poor poll numbers as proof that he was a bumbling dolt who couldn't manage the economy. Now, they use Obama's poor poll numbers as proof that Bush was a bumbling dolt who couldn't manage the economy.
Forget the Gallup poll that shows Congress with its lowest approval rating ever -- 13 percent. Chalk that stat up to anti-incumbent fever. Just two years ago, the Dems would boast that if they ran U.S. foreign policy, there'd be lots of smart dialogue and the world's tin-pot dictators would respect the U.S. president. How's that working in Iran and North Korea. 
The Democrats used to say that universal health care would be cheaper. That was before SEIU 1199 announced it would drop dependents' health care coverage in part because of the "Obamacare" requirement that plans cover members' children up to age 26. Once upon a time, Obama told America that if he were president, he would focus on winning in Afghanistan and thus prevail in the war on terrorism. Sunday on "Meet the Press," Vice President Joe Biden declared, "We're going to be totally out of there come hell or high water by 2014."
Monday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was forced to do a what-the-vice-president-meant-to-say clarification as he explained that 2014 would bring an end to the U.S. "combat commitment in Afghanistan."
Candidate Barack Obama had a grand time slamming the same Bush policies that he now maintains. And when the criticism gets too nasty, no worries: He always has golf.


Balderas and Lyons.....He Said, She Said

New Mexico State Auditor Hector Balderas and State Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons seem to have differences of opinion. The Balderas office spent untold hours and resources investigating decisions made by the State Land Commissioner's office over the last two years. The inquiry came after members of the New Mexico House of Representatives requested Balderas do an audit. Balderas final findings are finally in and they seem to lead to most observers towards a new level of ambiguity. The 71 page auditor's report can be read by clicking the highlighted link. And both of outgoing State Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons' responses......... #1 and #2 can be perused here. If you combine all three of these documents you will find there are nearly 170 pages of information.
Rebecca Vigil-Giron
After our first look and read of some of the facts and particularly the interpretations in dispute, we think this looks like a case of He Said, She Said. Will New Mexico Attorney General Gary King do anything to follow up on inferences made by Balderas? Don't bet too much on it. He's busy trying to get indicted former Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron to trial as her successor prepares to leave office.


John Hawkins: Top 20 Stories of the Year

John Hawkins
Townhall - Christmas is coming and it won't be long after all the gifts are opened and our bellies are full that we will start thinking about the start of 2011. Inevitably this time of year we begin to see articles regarding the passing of another year into the history books. We ran across the first of what will be many 2010 - year in reviews. This one is written by one of our favorite columnists, John Hawkins. In it he created his own list of the top twenty stories of 2010. Read the list here:

GOP Trying to Shed Earmark Addiction

From Townhall - When Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill recently went to war over the budget, press coverage suggested that pork-barrel earmark spending is still a bipartisan problem, that after months of self-righteous rhetoric about fiscal discipline, both parties remain equal-opportunity earmarkers. It's not true. A new analysis by a group of federal-spending watchdogs shows a striking imbalance between the parties when it comes to earmark requests. Democrats remain raging spenders, while Republicans have made enormous strides in cleaning up their act.
In the Senate, the GOP made only one-third as many earmark requests as Democrats for the still-unpassed 2011 budget, and in the House, Republicans have nearly given up earmarking altogether -- while Democrats roll on. The watchdog groups -- Taxpayers for Common Sense, and Taxpayers Against Earmarks -- counted total earmark requests in the 2011 budget. Lawmakers made those requests earlier this year, but Democratic leaders, afraid that their party's spending priorities might cost them at the polls, decided not to pass a budget before the Nov. 2 elections.
In early December, they distilled those earmark requests -- included many, threw some out, combined others -- into the omnibus bill they hoped to pass before adjourning for Christmas. Even though united Republican opposition stopped the bill, looking back at all the original earmark requests says a lot about the spending inclinations of both parties. Read full column here:


Las Cruces Mayor to Appear on NewsNM

Ken Miyagishima
Always an enjoyable and engaging guest, Mayor Ken Miyagishima will appear on the News New Mexico show that this morning at 8:00am. We will discuss pending and future issues at the federal and state level that affect all municipalities in the state. This old picture of the mayor (left) comes courtesy of his older brother Jim.


Sowards to Appear on NewsNM

Greg Sowards
Las Cruces businessman Greg Sowards, who announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat held by five term Democrat Jeff Bingaman will appear on News New Mexico at 7:30am this morning on News New Mexico. Sowards, well known in Southern New Mexico as "short, bald, and honest," will discuss his ideas for representing the state in Washington D.C. Visit his website for more information here: