CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) — Gunmen barged into a bar in the battered border city of Ciudad Juarez and opened fire late Thursday, killing seven women and one man, authorities said. Three other people were wounded at the "Las Torres" bar and were in critical condition, said Arturo Sandoval, spokesman for Chihuahua state prosecutors. Sandoval said investigators were still trying to determine who was behind the attack. Ciudad Juarez is the center of a fierce turf war between the Sinaloa and Juarez drug cartels, and has become one of the world's most dangerous cities. More than 3,000 people were killed last year in the city of 1.3 million residents across from El Paso, Texas. Meanwhile, a shootout between troops and armed men killed nine people in a central Mexican state that his seen a rise in drug violence, the government said Thursday. Read full story here:
Many of us in New Mexico have fond memories of the Gila as a weekend paradise. We have spent Friday nights after work driving to our favorite spot, unloading the kids, camping out, telling stories, and making memories before piling back into the minivan, pickup, or station wagon on Sunday. Our schedules don’t allow us to spend days or weeks hiking in, but open access has always made this a treasure to be enjoyed by all. Now, the Forest Service wants to take away that freedom. Numerous New Mexicans have been contacting me—by email, phone, Facebook, meetings, and when I visit their hometowns—to tell their stories. They tell me of a friend or family member who will lose access to their favorite corner of the world. They tell me of their memories of the Gila, and their hopes for future trips. They tell me that to preserve these, the proposed closures must be stopped.
Some, like Reverend Mike Skidmore from Truth or Consequences, simply love escaping with their loved ones into the Gila. For Rev. Skidmore, the Gila is a place to enjoy nature and “get away”—an experience he has shared with his children, grandchildren, and even members of his congregation. He fears that road closures will force everyone to the same crowded campsites, ending the days of quiet refuge and fellowship he always found there. Others have expressed concern for the elderly and disabled. The joys of the forest should be available to everyone, not just those with the physical ability to hike miles with a heavy pack. Charlie and Paula Stevens have camped in the Taylor Creek Canyon together for the past 35 years. The couple explained that as they grow older, they will become unable to access their spot without roads. Restricted access could bring their lifelong tradition to an end. This sort of discrimination against the elderly and disabled is unacceptable.
Some worry about their families. Butch Morgan, a local small-business owner, shared his disappointment that his eleven grandchildren could be unable to experience the forest the way he did when he was their age. Restricting access could mean that fewer families have the time or ability to make memories in this splendid forest. Those who live in the Gila, including ranchers and farmers, are deeply concerned. Roads throughout the Gila connect them to their livelihoods, their homes, and their backyards. Still others worry about safety. I share their concerns: any time roads are closed, it is important to ensure that emergency personnel will not be impeded. When addressing public safety, minutes count. I will continue to ask questions and hold the Forest Service accountable to ensure that no time is lost. I share the concerns of my fellow New Mexicans, and will fight for their access to our national treasures. But I can’t do this alone. Attend local meetings. Call your friends and newspapers. Express your concerns to the rest of our congressional delegation, and to the Forest Service. Together, we can defend the freedom to enjoy the Gila for generations to come.
Townhall - Presidents Obama and Bush the Younger have one striking similarity: self-assurance. After speaking with both men recently, I am firmly convinced that they are convinced their policies are/were right for the nation. Let's take Bush first. The Iraq War has cost America more than $750 billion since it began in March 2003. So far, more than 4,400 Americans have been killed in that country, in addition to the approximately 32,000 who have been wounded. Many of those wounds are life-altering. Yet Bush thinks the great sacrifice was worth it because Saddam Hussein is dead and Iraq is on the road to democracy. There is not an argument in the world that could dissuade Bush from this belief. It is likewise with Obama. He sincerely believes the country was on the verge of another Great Depression when he took office, and that the massive federal spending he has championed prevented economic catastrophe. Again, there is no way anyone is going to persuade the president otherwise. Read full column here:
Townhall - A week after Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday celebration, comparisons between presidents Obama and Reagan continue. The conversation began when Obama praised Reagan in a USA Today op-ed. He commended Reagan’s leadership, his confidence in and optimism for America, and his great ability to communicate his vision for the country. Reaganites like myself appreciate these sentiments. But so far, the differences between the two presidents are still huge. Begin with the economy. Reagan and Obama both inherited deep and brutal recessions. But the first six recovery quarters look completely different for each president. So far, real GDP has averaged only 3 percent annually for Obama. Employment as defined by nonfarm payrolls has increased by a paltry 121,000. On the other hand, going back to Reagan’s first six recovery quarters, real GDP averaged 7.7 percent annually while nonfarm payrolls rose by 5.3 million. Read full column here: