Public Unions: Let Everyone Else Tighten Their Belts!

(CNN) -- Sixteen Wisconsin state senators -- 14 of them Democrats -- did not appear at the capitol Thursday for a scheduled vote on a bill that would strip teachers and other public employees of most of their collective bargaining rights and increase their contributions for benefits, lawmakers told CNN. The bill cleared the Joint Finance Committee Wednesday night on a 12-4 vote and was intended move onto the state Senate Thursday for a vote, but the absence of so many senators left that vote schedule in question. Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller said he and fellow Democrats left Madison because they were "trying to allow opportunity for democracy to work." Read full story here: News New Mexico


Identification Required for "Just About Everything"...but

On a straight party line vote (7-6), Democrats in the New Mexico House of Representatives killed a bill introduced by Dianne Hamilton of Silver City that would have made it much more difficult for anyone or any group of people to commit voter fraud in the state. Despite the fact that polling has repeatedly revealed overwhelming support for protecting legitimate voters from the possibility of widespread fraud through the requirement of photo I.D.'s, Democrats held firm. Some observers speculated that when a huge crowd of concerned citizens showed up yesterday in Santa Fe, mostly in support of the proposal, and the hearing and vote was postponed so that a larger room could be used, a few Democrats might give in. However, when it was all said and done, the bill met the same fate as many reform proposals made by the GOP in this legislative session.
Dianne Hamilton
“Those thousands of New Mexicans who want voter photo ID should take a good look at those who voted against it today,” said Rep. Dianne Hamilton (Silver City, Dist. 38.) “I’m not finished with this fight,” she continued “New Mexicans have to show a photo ID for so many things already. They deserve to have elections with more integrity.” Today's vote is the strongest indication yet that with Democrats in charge in the House and Senate the next two years will be mostly about gridlock rather than a meaningful change in the culture in Santa Fe. Get used to reform bill killing and Martinez vetoes.


Tougher Drunk Driving Laws On the Way?

Governor Martinez
SANTA FE – Governor Susana Martinez held a press conference at the Roundhouse yesterday to urge stricter penalties for individuals who receive repeated DWI convictions. The Governor announced her support for three key pieces of legislation that target repeat offenders and reduce the number of drunk drivers on New Mexico roads. Senator Kent Cravens (R-Albuquerque), Senator George Muñoz (D-Gallup), Representative Tim Lewis (R-Rio Rancho), Representative Zachary Cook (R-Ruidoso), and numerous other Republican and Democratic lawmakers backing repeat offender legislation joined the Governor to express their support for imposing more stringent penalties. Also at the press conference was LoraLee Ortiz, Executive Director of the New Mexico chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), as well as Pauline Espinoza. Pauline’s husband Mark was killed and her son Ryan was seriously injured in April 2009 by a drunk driver who had just left drug court earlier that day. Pauline is left to raise her four children by herself due to the reckless actions of a repeat offender.
“Drunk driving is an epidemic that affects New Mexicans of all ages and all walks of life,” said Governor Martinez. “Strengthening our DWI laws and providing stiffer penalties for those who get behind the wheel drunk will keep these dangerous drivers off our roads and force them to face the consequences of their actions.”Governor Martinez expressed her support for Rep. Cook’s House Bill 532, requiring anyone arrested for their second DWI to surrender their vehicle. The Governor also backed House Bill 329, requiring that a DWI conviction counts against a criminal’s record during sentencing when they are charged as a habitual offender, and House Bill 330, increasing prison time for individuals who accumulate high numbers of DWI convictions. Both bills were introduced by Rep. Lewis.
Governor Martinez continued, “By seizing vehicles and increasing prison time, we are sending a clear message that this reckless behavior will not be tolerated in New Mexico. It is time to put an end to the stories we hear all too often about repeat offenders getting behind the wheel and causing harm to innocent victims. Our penalties must reflect the severity of the crimes committed. By establishing clear and firm consequences for putting the lives of others at risk, we can make New Mexico a safer place for all of us.”


Entitlement Reform? A Culture of Cowardice

Howard Rich
Townhall - Washington politicians have worked themselves into a fine lather lately debating spending cuts. Yet as familiar rhetorical jabs are exchanged over proposed reductions to things like NPR and the National Archives, the real spending debate is being ignored. I’m referring of course to the debate over “entitlements” – decades worth of multi-trillion dollar promises made by former Congresses that had no intention whatsoever of keeping any of them. Once a distant dilemma, entitlements are now the “wolf at the door,” a present, pernicious threat to the immediate fiscal health of our nation. Yet as this unprecedented wave of red ink crests over our country – dwarfing the debate over discretionary spending – politicians of both parties remain incapable of leveling with the public regarding the damage to come.
In fact entitlement reform isn’t even part of the budgetary conversation. Fiscal conservatives in the U.S. Senate have correctly criticized recent budget reductions proposed by the U.S. House as inadequate. “They’re talking about cutting $35 billion,” U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said last week. “We spend $35 billion in five days. We add $35 billion to the debt in nine days. It’s not enough and we will not avoid financial ruin in our country if we do not think more boldly.” On the other end of the political spectrum, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) accused House Republicans of inviting a government shutdown by proposing cuts that “would be devastating to our economy and send us back into a recession.” Read full column here: News New Mexico


Farm Subsidies?

Victor Davis Hanson
Townhall - In times of massive deficits, why are we borrowing millions to subsidize profitable agribusiness? Lots of presidents have asked that question. George H.W. Bush tried to cut farm subsidies in the late 1980s. Bill Clinton did, too. George W. Bush wanted them ended as well. All failed. The so-called 1996 "Freedom to Farm Act" was supposed to stop farm supports for good, by offering the carrot of extending crop payouts to growers, regardless of current commodity prices, in exchange for ending the flow of federal money altogether after a slow weaning-off period of seven years.
But when it came time to honor the agreement, suddenly a new rationale appeared -- that of post-9/11 security. So crop subsidies reappeared under the "Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002," on the dubious premise that in a new terrorist climate, Americans needed to ensure the prosperity of agribusiness. "Investment" in today's bureaucratese, remember, translates into the government borrowing more money to distribute to special interests. Read full column: News New Mexico

Nir Rosen: Free Speech TV Contributor

Nir Rosen
NewsNM note - (Spence) NYU's Nir Rosen is a frequent guest on the program, Democracy Now, a progressive news show on Free Speech TV.
The Atlantic - A journalist named Nir Rosen doesn't like Lara Logan, the CBS News reporter, because, he argues, she is a "warmonger." Therefore, Rosen found humor in the the fact that Logan was sexually assaulted in Cairo. Apparently, Rosen doesn't understand much about violence against women; he also doesn't seem to understand much about Twitter.
Anderson Cooper
From The Daily Caller: The initial tweet by Rosen stated, "Lara Logan had to outdo Anderson. Where was her buddy McCrystal." From this tweet he went further, writing that he would have been amused if Anderson Cooper had also been sexually assaulted. "Yes yes its wrong what happened to her. Of course. I don't support that. But, it would have been funny if it happened to Anderson too," wrote Rosen. The two comments gave way to more. Rosen called Logan a "war monger" and expressed doubt that she was actually assaulted. "Jesus Christ, at a moment when she is going to become a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger" wrote Rosen. Read full story: News New Mexico