Alb Officers Ask Council To Bring Back Take-Home Cars

From - The Albuquerque police union showed up in force to a city council meeting on Wednesday night to express the displeasure of a new rule that forbids officers from taking their cars home if they live more than 11 miles away from the Big-I interchange. "I currently feel like I'm being forced not be a cop," Lt. Jan Olstad said. On Wednesday, several officers wore shirts that said "A Berry Bad Mistake," referring to Mayor Richard Berry. "I drive to work and directly to work. I do not stop and I don’t take any enforcement action. If something happens to my vehicle, State Farm has me down as a non-state vehicle, and I'm not covered," Olstad said. Union members said the new policy makes it more difficult to do police work on their way to and from their shifts. Keeping those police cars in house could help the city save at least $600,000. The savings come from reduced maintenance and fuel. Read more

This day in New Mexico History - January 24

This day in New Mexico History: January 24, 1930 - While a young researcher working for the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, Clyde Tombaugh was given the job to perform a systematic search for Planet X predicted by Percival Lowell. It was hard work. Tombaugh used the observatory's 13-inch astrograph to take photographs of the same section of sky several nights apart. It was an unheated observatory in the dead of winter. He then used a blink comparator to compare the different images. He went grid by grid looking at every point of light. When he shifted between the two images, a moving object, such as a planet, would appear to jump from one position to another, while the more distant objects such as stars would appear stationary. Tombaugh noticed such a moving object in his search, near the place predicted by Lowell, and subsequent observations showed it to have an orbit beyond that of Neptune. This ruled out classification as an asteroid, and they decided this was the ninth planet that Lowell had predicted. The official discovery was made on Tuesday, February 18, 1930, using images taken this day in 1930. The name "Pluto" won out over numerous other names suggestions partly because it was named after the Roman god of the underworld because he was able to render himself invisible and partly because Percival Lowell's initials PL formed the first 2 letters. Lowell had died 14 years earlier. The name Pluto was officially adopted on May 1, 1930. On August 24, 2006 the International Astronomical Union reclassified Pluto, grouping it with two similarly sized "dwarf planets" rather than with the eight "classical planets". Tombaugh Elementary in Las Cruces is named in his honor. I still call Pluto a planet and you can, too.

Lawyers Gearing up to File Lawsuits Seeking Damages From “Global Warming”

From -In related news I just filed a class-action lawsuit against the Tooth Fairy. (AFP)— From being a marginal and even mocked issue, climate-change litigation is fast emerging as a new frontier of law where some believe hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake. Compensation for losses inflicted by man-made global warming would be jaw-dropping, a payout that would make tobacco and asbestos damages look like pocket money. Imagine: a country or an individual could get redress for a drought that destroyed farmland, for floods and storms that created an army of refugees, for rising seas that wiped a small island state off the map. In the past three years, the number of climate-related lawsuits has ballooned, filling the void of political efforts in tackling greenhouse-gas emissions. Eyeing the money-spinning potential, some major commercial law firms now place climate-change litigation in their Internet shop window. Seminars on climate law are often thickly attended by corporations that could be in the firing line — and by the companies that insure them.

Obama Administration Creates Billion Dollar Government Run Drug Company

From - The Obama administration has become so concerned about the slowing pace of new drugs coming out of the pharmaceutical industry that officials have decided to start a billion-dollar government drug development center to help create medicines. The National Institutes of Health has traditionally focused on basic research. But the drug industry's research productivity has been declining for 15 years, "and it certainly doesn't show any signs of turning upward," said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the institutes. The job of the new center, to be called the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, is akin to that of a home seller who spruces up properties to attract buyers in a down market. In this case, the center will do as much research as it needs to do so that it can attract drug company investment. "None if this intended to be competitive with the private sector," Collins said. "The hope would be that any project that reaches the point of commercial appeal would be moved out of the academic support line and into the private sector." More here

Nunez Likely to Become an "Independent"

Andy Nunez
In an interview with News New Mexico on Sunday morning, Representative Andy Nunez of Hatch clarified his intentions on the possibility of changing his party affiliation. Nunez said he was almost certain that he would make a change. However, he said he was leaning towards not changing to the GOP, but instead joining the ranks of those who “decline to state.” In New Mexico “declining to state” is as close as one can come to being identified as an “INDEPENDENT.” Because the basic assumption of New Mexico law and the rules of the legislature are so steeped in the idea of party caucuses, the state does not even bother to formally recognize the term, “independent.”
Governor Martinez
Nunez also indicated during our interview that Governor Susana Martinez had called him over the weekend and requested a meeting on Monday morning in Santa Fe. It is not known whether the Governor wanted to make one final last minute pitch to convince Nunez to join the GOP, or simply to gain further insights into how she can better work with both parties in the Roundhouse.

James Madalena
To most observers Nunez appears to be the primary sacrificial lamb of the power politics divide in the Democratic Party that unfolded in Santa Fe over the last few weeks. For Nunez it seems clear that after several years of Speaker Ben Lujan effectively killing many of the agriculture bills introduced by Nunez during his tenure as Ag Chair, Nunez felt he had little to lose by reaching across the aisle in the speaker contest. Accordingly, Lujan stripped Nunez of his Ag chairmanship in the aftermath of the speaker vote last week. That punitive Ag chairmanship removal action came after Nunez (the house member with perhaps the deepest agricultural background), backed Joseph Cervantes as a replacement for Lujan. In Nunez’ place Ben Lujan named retired Jemez Pueblo member James R. Madalena as Ag Chair. Madalena, who is not a farmer or rancher, surrendered his committee chairmanship of the House Energy Committee to Representative Brian Egolf of Santa Fe. Egolf, a lawyer, is widely known as staunch opponent of the biggest breadwinner the state budget has……..the oil and gas industry.
Brian Egolf
Perhaps by the time Andy Nunez appears as a guest on News New Mexico at 7:00am Thursday morning, he will have officially changed his voter registration to “decline to state.” During the course of the week News New Mexico will run additional stories documenting the enormous dictatorial power that can be exercised by a Speaker of the House in New Mexico, as well as some of the personal experiences Nunez himself shared with us regarding life in the legislature under the heavy hand of Ben Lujan.


GOP Investigating Obamacare Waivers

From -The Obama administration hit back at House Republicans’ plans to investigate implementation of the healthcare reform law. Republicans on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday asked the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide detailed information about groups requesting and receiving one-year waivers for the reform law’s ban on annual coverage limits. More than 200 groups, unions and businesses have so far received waivers from the requirement. Republicans say the waivers are proof of the reform law’s flaws and are Democratic gifts to union allies who supported the law.
More here

More Record Cold

Spence Notes - Science places heavy weighting on data and data points. Data is revered because it is all about facts rather than conjecture. Data is not biased. Data is empirical. There is a considerable debate going on in the political arena these days. Some argue ardently that while drastically higher fuel prices might reduce living standards, it is a necessary sacrifice as part of a comprehensive plan to combat "global warming." People who argue otherwise are labelled as "deniers" and "skeptics." Those labels are mindful of the dreaded "heretic" label of the inquisition. Below are a few new data points. Facts and data supporting data are very stubborn things.
Northlands News Center - Temperatures have been reported as low as -46 degrees for International Falls, Minnesota beating the previous record set in 1954 of -41F. A Extreme Cold Warning, Wind Chill Warning and Advisory expire today at 10am. Frostbite times in Duluth have been hovering around 10-15 minutes today with the cold snap.Temperatures this afternoon will be in the negative single digits for Highs. Here are some of this morning's lows collected from the National Weather Service in Duluth, MN: -46 INTERNATIONAL FALLS , -43 EMBARRASS, -43 BIGFORK, -43 ASHLAKE, -43 EFFIE, -40 BIRCHDALE, -38 CRANE LAKE, -37 MINONG, -37 HILL CITY, -36 LONGVILLE, -36 PINE RIVER, -36 SEAGULL LAKE, -36 ELY, -36 WRIGHT, -33 GRAND RAPIDS, -24 DULUTH.

Bingaman Sees Continued NM Gain From Federal Money

Jeff Bingaman
From -New Mexico will continue to receive an economic boost from federal spending despite expected cuts by Congress in governmental programs, U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman said Thursday. The New Mexico Democrat delivered the message to lawmakers during a speech to a joint session of the House and Senate. The Legislature has been using federal economic stimulus money to balance the state budget. That money is drying up, but Bingaman said some federal spending is likely to grow in the future, including for military bases in New Mexico and at Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories because they are part of the nation's nuclear weapons complex. New Mexico has long been a big winner in federal spending, receiving $3.34 for every $1 in tax payments from the state, according to the Congressional Research Service. "So with regard to federal funding for New Mexico, the news is good," Bingaman said. "Federal funding streams strongly support our economy today. Federal dollars do create jobs in New Mexico. Anybody who views the facts has to conclude that. In the future, that federal funding and that economic support, in my view, will even increase."

Democrats Quickly Pivot to 2012, SEIU-Obama Aide Moves to DNC

Patrick Gaspard
From -Having written about the SEIU’s other man in the White House, Patrick Gaspard, on numerous occasions, this news comes as no surprise. Following the November election, the Democrats are moving quickly to ensure that a repeat “shellacking” doesn’t happen in 2012. In so doing, the DNC is tapping Gaspard, the former political director of New York’s powerful SEIU 1199, to go help the DNC prepare the Democrats’ strategy. Via the Blaze: In another major shakeup signaling the Obama camp is preparing to launch the president’s reelection campaign, Democratic National Committee DNC chairman Tim Kaine announced Thursday that executive director Jennifer O’Malley Dillon will leave the party to serve as deputy campaign manager, and White House political director Patrick Gaspard will move in to replace her at the DNC.  More here

Finding The Right Priorities In The Money Wars

Michael and Conrad
Michael Swickard - Consider the manual typewriter. This fine technology did not need electricity to function and was “portable.” Newsrooms were full of the clatter of the typewriters when I was just starting in the news business. Some newspaper workers talked about getting to work on the “clackers” because of the sound that surrounded them. These seemingly old men all smoked, cursed, had a bottle of stimulant they consulted regularly in their desk drawer, and were at times cranky while pounding out stories on deadline. When I broke into newspapers (while still in high school) I started as a photographer and back-up typesetter on an old hot-type system. I think I could still set type, even though the last time I did Lyndon Johnson was president. I was thinking of this technology in the midst of the current budget debates in Santa Fe about what is needed and what is merely wanted. I suspect in the coming weeks the debate will be about how much money, at a minimum, it takes to run the state of New Mexico. When I talk about the “old days” with manual typewriters there may be a temptation to ask, why did we replace the manual typewriter? Simply, it was nothing compared to a computer. On a manual typewriter you had to listen for a bell to know when to hit the return and type on the next line. Typewriters were slow but very dependable. You rolled the paper into it, sometimes putting two pieces of paper with a carbon layer. No, the carbon used did not cause global warming then or now. Mistakes were quite a problem so the advice was not to make typing mistakes. Yeah, sure.
Compared to the computers I use today to research and type my column, my old typewriter is ever so very primitive. My mother bought this old Underwood Typewriter I have in 1940 and it still works today, but I find myself only mildly amused looking at it. At one time I could not do without it, but now it is more a decoration than anything else. Read rest of column here:


State of the Union Speech: A Call For More Spending

Pulaski Note: More spending on education, infrastructure, renewable energy and research sounds very similar to the failed stimulus. From -President Barack Obama will call for new government spending on infrastructure, education and research in his State of the Union address Tuesday, sharpening his response to Republicans in Congress who are demanding deep budget cuts, people familiar with the speech said. Mr. Obama will argue that the U.S., even while trying to reduce its budget deficit, must make targeted investments to foster job growth and boost U.S. competitiveness in the world economy. The new spending could include initiatives aimed at building the renewable-energy sector—which received billions of dollars in stimulus funding—and rebuilding roads to improve transportation, people familiar with the matter said. Money to restructure the No Child Left Behind law's testing mandates and institute more competitive grants also could be included. While proposing new spending, Mr. Obama also will lay out significant budget cuts elsewhere, people familiar with the plans say, though they will likely fall short of what Republican lawmakers have requested.  More here

Left Wing Climate of Hate and Assasination

Casey Brezik
From -Successful propaganda is composed of equal parts deception and suppression, and the apparatchiks in the mainstream media are much better at the latter. They may have erred in pushing the Arizona assassination attempt beyond its ideological limits last week, but they succeeded brilliantly a few months earlier in suppressing news of a nearly lethal attempt by a genuine leftist. In September 2010 Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was scheduled to speak at Penn Valley Community College in Kansas City. At some point, wearing black clothes and a bullet-proof vest, 22 year-old Casey Brezik bolted out of a classroom, knife in hand, and slashed the throat of a dean. As he would later admit, he confused the dean with Nixon. The story never left Kansas City. It is not hard to understand why. Knives lack the political sex appeal of guns, and even Keith Olbermann would have had a hard time turning Brezik into a Tea Partier. More here

Noam Chomsky: The Republican Takeover of Congress Is “Death Knell of the Species”

From the -MIT professor of linguistics Noam Chomsky warned the end is near. In an interview with the Nation magazine and On The Earth Productions earlier this month, Chomsky, known for his distinct left-of-center philosophy, commented on the emotion in the electorate.“There’s other factors like the anger, and the fear and hostility in the country about everything carries over to this,” Chomsky said. “So if you look at polls, everyone hates Congress. They hate the Democrats. They hate the Republicans even more. They hate big business. They hate banks and they distrust scientists. So why should we believe what these pointy-head elitist are telling? We don’t trust anything else. We don’t trust them.”He explained those feelings led to November’s election results, and would have serious repercussions for civilization. “All of this combines the latest election a couple of days ago,” he continued. “You could almost interpret it a kind of a death knell for the species. There was an article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, you know – not a radical rag exactly.  They’re running through the new Republicans coming to Congress and they’re worried about them.” Video here

Grubesic: Advice for the Governor

John Grubesic
Capitol Report New Mexico - Motivation for writing was easier when I was in the Roundhouse. Ninety-five percent of the people in that building think that they are the most important people in New Mexico (myself included). Ninety-six percent of the people outside of that building would have a tough time naming who represents them in Santa Fe and 97 percent don’t care. Being in the building provided ample opportunity to observe and participate in the hijinks. Being an outsider, it is tough to stay interested, but this latest batch in the bin can still provide entertainment. What a week! We had the State of the State, the un-coup and the committee shuffle. Read full column here: