Tap oil reserves? That’s one idea ... raise cost of gas by adding taxes is another...

Editorial from the Santa Fe New Mexican.com - There's a certain appeal to Jeff Bingaman's call for tapping our nation's strategic petroleum reserve — and our state's senior senator is finding scattered support around Capitol Hill for selling off some of that stored-up oil as a way of slowing down or reversing the gasoline-price creep we're all feeling. Meanwhile, a Congress wrestling with next fiscal year's budget and the growing national debt should be considering another response to the squeeze on oil supplies and the market manipulations that come with it: Boost the gas tax by a bunch: 50 cents, maybe a dollar a gallon. Higher-priced gas might be unpopular, but it also might affect folks' motoring habits and most of the country, even the far-apart population of New Mexico, needs to ask itself "is this drive necessary?" Read more - News New Mexico

"Same Old Madness," NCAA Ditches 25-9 UTEP

EL PASO, Texas -- You could forgive the UTEP Miners if they start quoting Bugs Bunny's old line about taking that left turn at Albuquerque. Albuquerque is almost becoming UTEP sports teams' second home. Just as with the Miners football team, the men's basketball team's post-season will take them to Albuquerque but not in the tournament they had wanted. The Miners (25-9, 11-5 C-USA), who made it to the NCAA Tournament last season, were left out of the big dance Sunday afternoon after losing to Memphis in the C-USA championship game Saturday and will play old WAC rival New Mexico (22-12, 8-8 WAC). Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
Tuesday at The Pit in the National Invitational Tournament. UTEP is a five seed in the tournament, while UNM is a four seed. Tickets can be bought through the UNM ticket office at www.unmtickets.com or by calling 1-877-664-8661 Toll Free or 505-925-5858, 10 AM to 4PM MST, Monday through Friday. Prices and onsale times have not been announced yet. UTEP coach Tim Floyd will be leading a team into the NIT for the fourth time in his career after taking New Orleans to the NIT in 1989, 1990 and 1994. There are 32 teams in the NIT. UTEP is 6-9 all-time in nine NIT appearances since 1965.


Those Who Do Not Learn From History

The 9-11 Commission Report should be required reading for every student attending public schools and every state legislator. The bi-partisan group of 9-11 commissioners issued several dozen findings. On each they reached unanimous agreement. Finding # 18 should be of particular interest, particularly when considering the current policy debates in New Mexico. Appealing to basic common sense it also explains why 70-80% of New Mexico citizens are opposed to issuing driver's licenses to people who have violated the federal government's immigration laws. 9-11 Commission finding # 18 reads as follows: Secure identification should begin in the United States. The federal government should set standards for the issuance of birth certificates and sources of identification, such as drivers licenses.
Also of particular interest in the body of the 9-11 Commission Report is Chapter 7, entitled the "The Attack Looms."  In this chapter, the narrative leading up to the attacks goes into great detail about the way the hijackers were able to find soft spots in various state's driver's license issuance process. It should come as no surprise that the do nothing but borrow and spend federal government never followed through on the recommendations to toughen and standardize the criteria for issuing driver's licenses. However many states paid attention and tightened up processes on their own. Other states ignored the report. New Mexico did just the opposite of what the commission recommended. Our legislators have made it easier for those here illegally to obtain legitimizing documentation. Had enough yet? 


Late February Bust in Richmond, A Sign of the Times

(CNN) -- Twenty-two people allegedly involved in a "highly sophisticated and violent" Mexico-based ring that sold fake documents in the United States were indicted by a federal grand jury in Richmond, Virginia, federal officials said Thursday. The group is accused of "kidnapping, beating and -- at least on one occasion -- murdering competitors and using violence to discipline its own members," according to a statement from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
"Document fraud doesn't just involve paperwork," ICE Director John Morton said. "The business of document fraud, which can be ugly and involve violence and the use of deadly weapons, warrants the attention of Homeland Security Investigations." The group, uncovered during "Operation Phalanx," had cells in 19 cities in 11 states, including three cells in Virginia, ICE said. "The indictment portrays a deadly criminal organization that uses brutal violence to eliminate rivals, protect its turf and enforce discipline against its own members," said U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride. The 12-count indictment accuses Israel Cruz Millan, a 28-year-old Raleigh, North Carolina, man -- also known as "El Muerto" -- of heading the group's U.S. operations that produced high-quality false identification cards to illegal aliens. Millan allegedly placed a manager in each city, with a number of "runners" who handed out business cards advertising the fake document services and selling them to customers, the indictment said. A counterfeit resident alien and Social Security card typically sold for $150 to $200, it said. Read full story here: News New Mexico