Swickard Column - Oh, such a horrible dream

Whew! I had a really bad dream the other night, a simply horrible nightmare. Usually I dream good things but this time it was different. Luckily I woke up none the worse for wear other than in a cold sweat. It all started when New Mexico’s senior Senator Jeff Bingaman decided he was not going to run for reelection in 2012. As soon as I dropped off to sleep it all seemed so real. I was in a room with lots of people and cameras. They were pointing and shouting at me. What had I done to make everyone so very mad at me? I was trying to figure this out. There was such chaos. As I spoke at the lectern I realized quickly that I was the problem in the room. It seems I was saying things that made the audience very furious at me. I could find no way to stop talking. Being half Irish and having the right to be silent but not the power to be, as Ron White says, is an exact description of my problem. Seems I had lost any good sense I might have had and was running for Bingaman’s empty senate seat. I was answering questions about what I would do if elected and it was not going well. It was one of those dreams where I was compelled to tell the truth that no one wanted to hear. Read more News New Mexico

Analyzing the Martinez Style

Rob Nikolewski
Capitol Report New Mexico - If Susana Martinez were an athlete, she would not worry about getting her uniform dirty. Or breaking up the double play. Or throwing an elbow to get a rebound. The Governor may have less than two months’ experience on the job but she’s not shy about trying to establish a tone and using her bully pulpit to further her objectives — even if means stepping outside the Governor’s Office on the fourth floor of the Roundhouse to put some pressure on the legislators on the third floor. Read full analysis here: News New Mexico

Senator Feldman: It's NOT Over Regulatory

Dede Feldman
Newsnm note (Spence) It would appear that MORE BIG GOVERNMENT is on the way - Pharmacy Benefit Manager's bill (SB16) which is sponsored by Albuquerque Senator Dede Feldman (D-Bernalillo-13) was passed by the New Mexico Senate on a vote of 33 to 4 Thursday (2-24-2011). SB16 creates the authority for the licensure and regulation of Pharmacy Benefit Managers through the Public Regulation Commission/Insurance Division. Pharmacy Benefit Managers provide pharmacy network management, negotiation and administration of product discounts, rebates, and other benefits accruing to the PBMs or other prescription drug or device service to third parties. "This is just an attempt to get them under one roof," said Sen. Feldman, "Its not over regulatory. We just want to license them to find out who they are."
The act sets up conditions for licensure and for suspension or revocation of a license within several new sections of the New Mexico Insurance Code. The act does not apply to a person that is a licensed health care facility, pharmacy, licensed health care professional, health insurer, union, HMO, Medicare advantage plan or prescription drug plan when that person is providing formulary services to its own patients, employees, members or beneficiaries. SB16 sets up a $1,000 filing fee for Pharmacy Benefit Managers with the Department of Insurance to cover costs associated with licensing.


Texas Terror Attempt Foiled

Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari
Washington Times - WASHINGTON (AP) — A young college student from Saudi Arabia studying chemical engineering in the state of Texas purchased explosive chemicals over the Internet as part of a plan to hide bomb materials inside dolls and baby carriages to blow up dams, nuclear plants or the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush, the Justice Department said Thursday. “It is war … until the infidels leave defeated,” the student wrote in online postings. One of the chemical companies, Carolina Biological Supply, reported suspicious purchases by Khalid Ali Aldawsari, 20, of Lubbock, Texas, to the FBI on Feb. 1. Within weeks, federal agents had traced his other online purchases, discovered extremist posts he made on the Internet and secretly searched his apartment, computer and e-mail accounts and read his diary, according to court records. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Governor Cracking Down on Culture of Corruption

Governor Martinez
SANTA FE – Governor Susana Martinez held a press conference at the Roundhouse today to call for tougher penalties on public officials who are convicted of corruption. The Governor announced her support for House Bill 378, a bi-partisan effort sponsored by Sen. Tim Keller (D-Albuquerque) and Rep. Nate Gentry (R-Albuquerque). HB378 contains key provisions that enhance prison sentences for corrupt public officials, prohibit public officials convicted of corruption from lobbying or doing business with the state, and force corrupt officials to forfeit their state pensions.
“Public officials are not above the law,” said Governor Martinez. “Unfortunately, our state’s reputation has been tainted in the past because elected and appointed officials have misused their office for personal gain. By increasing prison sentences for public corruption, prohibiting corrupt officials from lobbying and doing business with the state, and forcing those convicted of corruption to forfeit their pensions, we are sending a clear signal that there will be severe penalties for any public servant who puts their own personal gain ahead of the interests of the people of New Mexico.
It’s time to treat corruption for what it is – a crime that abuses the public trust and wastes taxpayer money.” Governor Martinez was joined by several legislators who are supporting this important anti-corruption measure, and she also voiced her support for the establishment of a public corrpution investigative unit in the Department of Public Safety alongside bill sponsor Rep. David Doyle (R-Albuquerque).


"Considerable Violations" at Housing Authority

Hector Balderas
NMPolitics.net - State Auditor Hector Balderas has made public a January 2009 special audit of the Region III Housing Authority that identified “considerable violations” of the state per diem law and other problems. Those violations by Region III and a related entity, Housing Enterprises, Inc. (HEI), include board members collecting per diem “when official meetings did not take place,” collecting per diem beyond what is allowed by law and collecting it twice for attending meetings held on the same day and in the same place. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Williams: Why D.C. Needs a Tea Party

 Townhall - If you’ve been following the latest shenanigans of elected officials running the District of Columbia, it’s easy to understand why the city is so messed up. I’m referring, of course, to Lincoln-gate where DC City Council Chairman Kwame Brown ordered not one, but two 2011 Lincoln Navigator SUVs for his official use. Why two? Why not? Well, he didn’t like the color of the interior on the first one the city ordered at nearly $2,000 per month in leases. It appears Mr. Brown wanted a “black on black” SUV and no other color combination would work. The reason he gave is that model “holds its value” longer than any other. So now the Chairman is cost-conscious? How pathetic. What Mr. Brown hopes readers don’t remember is his insistence that the SUV be “fully loaded”, including a DVD player in the back seat.
Kwame Brown
I don’t even want to know the reason behind that request. Late last week, the chairman saw the error of his ways and is now returning the vehicles. The sad irony here is we may never have learned of any of this – including Brown’s personal insistence on such minor (and meaningless) details – if not for a Freedom of Information Act request by area reporters. Cover-up after cover-up, why is that the rule among District of Columbia politicians, even at the highest echelons of office where the magnifying glass of scrutiny is its strongest? Read full column here: News New Mexico


You Can't Find Time to Condemn Everyone!

Scott Walker
Townhall - by Michael Barone - Everyone has priorities. During the past week, Barack Obama has found no time to condemn the attacks that Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi has launched on the Libyan people. But he did find time to be interviewed by a Wisconsin television station and weigh in on the dispute between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the state's public employee unions. Walker was staging "an assault on unions," he said, and added that "public employee unions make enormous contributions to our states and our citizens." Enormous contributions, yes -- to the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign.
Muammar Ghaddafi
Unions, most of whose members are public employees, gave Democrats some $400 million in the 2008 election cycle. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the biggest public employee union, gave Democrats $90 million in the 2010 cycle. Follow the money, Washington reporters like to say. The money in this case comes from taxpayers, present and future, who are the source of every penny of dues paid to public employee unions, who in turn spend much of that money on politics, almost all of it for Democrats. In effect, public employee unions are a mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund the Democratic Party. Read full column here: News New Mexico


Elder: Is "Obamacare" a Disparaging Reference?

Larry Elder
Townhall - "'ObamaCare' ... is a disparaging reference to the President of the United States. It is meant as a disparaging reference to the President of the United States. It is clearly in violation of the House rules against that," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. "ObamaCare," according to several blogs, is the new "n" word. When did "ObamaCare" become a slur? Proponents, after all, boast that President Barack Obama succeeded in signing "universal care'' legislation when every Democratic president since Harry Truman failed to "get it done."
Why isn't President Obama flattered to have his name attached to his signature achievement and a now-fulfilled campaign promise? Was there a hissy fit over "HillaryCare" or the widely used "RomneyCare"? A LexisNexis search turns up what might be "ObamaCare's" first use in print. An April 4, 2008, enthusiastically supportive article in the Salt Lake Tribune said: "Obama's national health insurance program, let's call it "ObamaCare," provides Americans with affordable premiums, co-pays and deductibles." Hmmm, not too much racial insensitivity there. Alrighty then, what exactly is the problem? Assume, for the sake of argument, "right-wingers" use "ObamaCare" in a "mean-spirited" way. The left well understands and embraces the tactic: personalize or make a caricature about a policy; or use a description to induce a negative reaction.
Here are a few:  "Reaganomics": Used to personalize and attach to a "cold-hearted conservative" president an economic agenda the media opposed and assumed would fail. Incredibly, New York Daily News' Joshua Greenman recently wrote, "(HillaryCare and ObamaCare) were used, from the get-go, as slurs, unlike, say, 'Reaganomics.'" Nonsense. Many Reagan supporters actually liked the term, but opponents meant it as a slur. We know this because when President Reagan's policies began to show results, the media's use of the term nosedived. "I could tell our economic policy was working," Reagan said, "When they stopped calling it 'Reaganomics." Read full column here: News New Mexico


Philosophical Epicenter of Faith-Based Global Warming May Get Snow for First Time in 35 Years

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / BCN) — Cold, wet weather will once again put an icy grip on the Bay Area as we head toward this weekend, bringing with it a chance that San Francisco residents could see some snow, forecasters said Wednesday. Talk began swirling in recent days that snow could drop on San Francisco for the first time in 35 years. National Weather Service forecaster Bob Benjamin said that while snow would likely fall at elevations lower than last weekend, it was still too soon to know for certain if there would be flurries in the city. If the coldest predictions materialize, “In some form, people at or near sea level will see snow in the air,” Benjamin said. Read full forecast here: News New Mexico

Cervantes Bill Goes to Senate with 65-0 Vote

Joseph Cervantes
NMPolitics.net - Members of the House gave unanimous approval today to legislation that would create an independent commission to examine how the N.M. Constitution compares with those of other states and propose changes. House Bill 207, sponsored by Rep. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, now heads to the Senate. During discussion of the bill on the House floor, Cervantes said the Constitution talks about “novel things” such as polygamy, but also deals with more relevant topics, like when the Legislature will meet. He said it’s time to consider updating the document. House members voted 65-0 to send the bill to the Senate. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Finger Pointing or a Look in the Mirror?

One of the more amusing op-ed pieces we have read so far this session appeared on the NMPolitics.net site. It was written by State Senator Steve Fischmann. You can read it here. The entire piece is a laundry list of lamentations about how poorly state government has structured laws related to managing resources and providing tax incentives and/or tax credits to various entities. Pointing first in this direction and then in that one, Senator Fischmann argues that New Mexico citizens have been getting short-changed. The title of the column is "Budget is full of goodies - if you live out of state." Leaving alone every single premise that Senator Fischmann uses as a basis for his arguements and conceding every point he makes, a reasonable person is compelled to ask a simple question. Who the hell has been in charge of this state for the last eight years? Of course in the Fischmann column, that basic question does not get asked.
While Fischmann talks a good game, the last thing he wants as a result of his opining is for the finger to get pointed directly at the partisan caucus that he directs all of his loyalties to each and every day. With Fischmann's Democratic Party in charge of the governor's mansion, the senate, and the house, in New Mexico for the last eight years, perhaps a long look in the mirror might be in order. Either that or a stroll down meaningful change lane with people like Andy Nunez . Actions speak much louder than words. And as near as we can tell, Nunez is the only elected official we know of who is truly fed up.