U.S. Govt. Has $61 Trillion in Unfunded Obligations

From usatoday.com -The government added $5.3 trillion in new financial obligations in 2010, largely for retirement programs such as Medicare and Social Security. That brings to a record $61.6 trillion the total of financial promises not paid for. This gap between spending commitments and revenue last year equals more than one-third of the nation's gross domestic product.  Medicare alone took on $1.8 trillion in new liabilities, more than the record deficit prompting heated debate between Congress and the White House over lifting the debt ceiling.  Corporations would be required to count these new liabilities when they are taken on — and report a big loss to shareholders. Unlike businesses, however, Congress postpones recording spending commitments until it writes a check. The $61.6 trillion in unfunded obligations amounts to $534,000 per household.  More News New Mexico


UN Agreement Should Have Gun Owners Up In Arms

From forbes.com -Under the guise of a proposed global “Small Arms Treaty” premised to fight “terrorism”, “insurgency” and “international crime syndicates” you can be quite certain that an even more insidious threat is being targeted – our Constitutional right for law-abiding citizens to own and bear arms. What, exactly, does the intended agreement entail? While the terms have yet to be made public, if passed by the U.N. and ratified by our Senate, it will almost certainly force the U.S. to: Enact tougher licensing requirements, creating additional bureaucratic red tape for legal firearms ownership. Confiscate and destroy all “unauthorized” civilian firearms (exempting those owned by our government of course).  More News New Mexico

Double-dipping teachers face take-home pay cut

From KOB-TV.com - By Barry Massey (AP) - A new state law will take a big bite out of the paychecks of educators who retired and then returned to work for New Mexico schools and colleges while continuing to receive their pensions. About 1,300 public school teachers and other educators covered by the law must make payroll contributions - as much as 11 percent of their salaries next year - into the state's educational pension fund starting next month. However, the payments won't improve their future retirement benefits. The employee contributions will help the state permanently save nearly $5 million a year because employers, such as school districts, have been covering the pension costs. Read more

Green groups, GOP hopefuls oppose corn-based ethanol subsidies

From the New Mexico Independent - By Eartha Jane Melzer - Much of the attention on corn-based ethanol has focused on the role that this supposedly renewable fuel is playing in driving up global food prices. Now environmental groups and some conservative politicians are pointing out another problem — corn-based ethanol consumes the bulk of federal funding on renewable energy and the big oil companies that blend the ethanol into gasoline are collecting subsidies to the tune of about $6 billion a year. The Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (or VEETC) is a 45 cents per gallon credit that goes to the refiner that blends the ethanol into fuel. Because the government already mandates that ethanol be added to gasoline and bans the import of foreign ethanol, critics say that the VEETC is unnecessary to maintain supply and is now only a handout to the oil industry. British Petroleum has not been open about the benefits it receives from the credit, but is widely believed to be the largest recipient of the credit. Read more

Shuckins, he got away

From the Rio Grande Sun - (NewsNM Swickard) An interesting Police Report, don't you think?
Española - A passenger in a truck threw a bag of fast food at a man in another vehicle, and that man responded by pulling out a .357 Magnum and shooting all three people in the truck, according to Española Police. Ricky Martinez, 24, of Chimayó, allegedly fired the shots May 27 at about 11:11 p.m., then fled from Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s deputy Isaac Martinez in a gray Audi at speeds over 100 mph before crashing into a tree Española Police Lt. Christian Lopez said. Ricky Martinez sustained serious head injuries, including bleeding in his brain, and was in a medically-induced coma Monday at St. Vincent Hospital. Lopez said.“He’s probably going to survive it,” Ricky Martinez later walked out of St. Vincent Hospital.,Lopez said he learned about this Monday. “We didn’t have anyone posted on him. According to what they told me, he jumped out a window.” Lopez said his department did not have the manpower to keep someone posted in his hospital room. He said police searched for him Tuesday in Chimayó and could not find him. Read more

Ear bitten off in jail fight

From the Clovis News Journal - (Swickard) NewsNM understands that Vincent Van Gogh went into to art because he didn't have an ear for music...
From CNJ - A Curry County inmate was taken to Plains Regional Medical Center Friday after part of his ear was bitten off during a fight over an MP3 player. The fight stemmed from an argument between two male inmates that began earlier in the day over the “ownership and possession” of an MP3 player and escalated into a physical fight, Curry County Undersheriff Wesley Waller said. Waller said the fight ended when one of the inmates bit off a portion of the other’s ear. Read more

Lightning takes out Alamogordo power

From the Alamogordo Daily News - (Swickard) You never really think about electric power until it is not there, eh?
Sunday night's power outage was caused after lightning hit the main electrical circuit near Alamogordo that left about 1,618 customers without power for little over an hour, a Public Service Company of New Mexico spokeswoman said. PNM spokeswoman Maria Parra said she believes the blackout lasted about 61 minutes. "It hit our circuit No. 1203," Parra said. "It serves the area of Aspen north to Indian Wells and then Oregon and Scenic." Read more

Delk and Wilmeth to Appear on NewsNM in Wake of Murder of Fellow Rancher

The terrible news of Hidalgo County rancher Larry Link’s passing this afternoon reached the News New Mexico desk just as we were looking at the guest list for tomorrow’s show. It is truly a sad coincidence that we have rancher Steve Wilmeth and Soil Conservation expert Joe Delk scheduled to appear on the show. They are prepared to discuss the negative impact a so-called "wilderness" designation to areas in Southern New Mexico. Both men will speak at length on the impact this proposal by Senators Bingaman and Udall will have on the already shaky border security conditions. No doubt one if not both of these gentleman knew fellow rancher Larry Link, and will be able to speak with even greater authority on the dangerous situations ranchers are facing in the southern portion of the state. They will join us in the 8:00 o'clock hour.


Who is Jim Hall?

Jim Hall
Susana Martinez named Los Alamos City Councilor Jim Hall to replace Jeannette Wallace in the New Mexico House of Representatives today. Who is Jim Hall? Here is what we found on the Los Alamos City Council website: Jim Hall grew up in Hobbs, New Mexico. He first lived in Northern New Mexico in 1961 when his parents moved to Ghost Ranch Conference Center (near Abiquiu). After being away in college, graduate school, and early careers in the Boston area, Jim and his wife Janet moved to Los Alamos in 1976. Jim and Janet raised four children in Los Alamos, have been employed here, owned small businesses here, and have been consistently involved in community and church affairs for over thirty years. Janet retired as a math teacher at Los Alamos High School. Jim has an undergraduate degree in Math and a Masters in Management. He has extensive experience both as a senior manager and working with senior managers in public and private organizations. These include those organizations most important to Los Alamos County.
Arial View of Los Alamos National Lab
LANL as a Staff Member, a Group Leader, then as a Division Leader for 12 years; DOE as a consultant; New Mexico State Government as a Cabinet Secretary; and Los Alamos County as a Manager. He also worked in private industry for small companies in Massachusetts and New Mexico. His most recent private sector experience was working for a small technology company in Albuquerque where he was Chief Technology Officer, then Chief Operating Officer. He has been a consultant in both the private and public sectors in the United States and overseas. The citizens of Los Alamos elected Jim to two four-year terms on the Los Alamos School Board and one previous term on County Council. He also served and continues to serve on several boards, both corporate and non-profit. Finally, as an organizational consultant, he has significant experience in building consensus among diverse groups and individuals with divergent interests.


Jim Hall Named to Replace Rep. Wallace

Susana Martinez
Governor Susana Martinez announced today that she has appointed Jim Hall of Los Alamos to serve as State Representative from House District 43. Hall, a Los Alamos City Councilor who also served for eight years on the Los Alamos School Board, will fill the seat of former Rep. Jeannette Wallace, who passed away in April. “As we fight to turn New Mexico around by fostering economic growth, reforming education, and promoting public safety, I’m confident that Mr. Hall shares the hope of all New Mexicans to create a brighter future for our families and businesses,” said Governor Martinez. “His broad experience in both the public and private sectors means that the people of Los Alamos, Sandoval, and Santa Fe counties will be represented by someone who knows what it takes to get our state back on track.” 
Jeannette Wallace
Prior to his election to the Los Alamos City Council, Hall was the Vice President of Oso Grande Technologies, an Albuquerque-based IP technology company. He has also worked in the Nonproliferation and International Security Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory and served as the State of New Mexico’s first Chief Information Officer under Governor Gary Johnson. Hall is an experienced consultant in the fields of organizational strategic planning, information systems planning, and project management. He graduated from Macalester College and holds a Master’s Degree in Management from the University of New Mexico. “I look forward to joining Governor Martinez in the fight to turn our state around,” added Mr. Hall. “I will do my best to honor Jeannette Wallace’s outstanding record of public service and I’m honored to be selected to serve the people of the 43rd District. I’m eager to get to work to tackle the challenges in front of us."


GM CEO Calls for $1 More Per Gallon Gas Tax

Detroit News — General Motors Co. CEO Dan Akerson wants the federal gas tax boosted as much as $1 a gallon to nudge consumers toward more fuel-efficient cars, and he's confident the government will soon shed its remaining 26 percent stake in the once-bankrupt automaker. "I actually think the government will be out this year — within the next 12 months, hopefully within the next six months," Akerson said in a two-hour interview with The Detroit News last week. He is grateful for the government's rescue of GM — "I have nothing but good things to say about them" — but Akerson said the time for that relationship to end is coming because it's wearing on GM. "It's kind of like your in-laws: It was a nice long weekend. We didn't say a week," Akerson said with a laugh. And while he is eager to say goodbye to the government as a part owner of GM, Akerson would like to see it step up to the challenge of setting a higher gas tax, as part of a comprehensive energy policy. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Rasmussen: Economic Optimism

Rasmussen Reports - Just days after the government's announcement that unemployment has risen to 9.1%, short- and long-term confidence in the U.S. economy are at the lowest levels of the Obama presidency.  A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 31% of American Adults now say the economy will be stronger in one year, down four points from March and lower than at any point since January 2009. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Jobs: Apple's iCloud Taking Shot at PC's

Steve Jobs
Businessweek - Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs, by introducing a service that shares files across different Internet-linked devices, takes another step toward sidelining the personal-computer industry he pioneered. Jobs, who helped popularize home computers with the Apple II and the Mac in the 1970s and ‘80s, is counting on the new iCloud product to let users synchronize and access data on Apple devices and Windows PCs running iTunes. Jobs aims to make Apple the center of consumers’ digital lives, further decreasing dependence on Microsoft Corp.’s once- dominant Windows software and Hewlett-Packard Co.’s market- leading PCs.
With iCloud, files will be stored by Apple in remote data centers -- known as the “cloud” in technology parlance -- and automatically synchronize. That means the same content is available from any Apple gadget, without it cluttering up users’ hard drives. “The PC will be the most visible casualty of the cloud revolution,” said Steve Perlman, a former Apple engineer and the CEO of online game company OnLive Inc. “Apple knows it.” Read full story here: News New Mexico


Exhausted in 9 Years

Deroy Murdoch
Newsmax - "The Hospital Insurance Trust Fund is projected to become exhausted in 2020." As plain as the sun, that sentence appears on page 4 of the Congressional Budget Office's "March 2011 Medicare Baseline," released March 18. Those 12 words encapsulate the gargantuan problem that undergirds today's national yelling match over Medicare. It hardly matters whether one loves or hates Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and his "Path to Prosperity." If America does nothing, the CBO calculates that Medicare will run dry on September 30, 2020. If that fiscal year's last day sounds distant, it isn't. That milestone is five fewer months into the future than 9/11 was in the past. From $239.4 billion in FY 2011, Medicare's primary Trust Fund drops to $20.5 billion in FY 2019. The next year, it reaches zero. Zip. Zilch. Washington Democrats are in malignant denial about all this. Read full column here: News New Mexico


Obama's Dubious Auto Industry Accounting

Washington Post - We take no view on whether the administration’s efforts on behalf of the automobile industry were a good or bad thing; that’s a matter for the editorial pages and eventually the historians. But we are interested in the facts the president cited to make his case. What we found is one of the most misleading collections of assertions we have seen in a short presidential speech. Virtually every claim by the president regarding the auto industry needs an asterisk, just like the fine print in that too-good-to-be-true car loan. Let’s look at the claims in the order in which the president said them. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Heath: Heather Wilson Talks "Unsustainable"

Heath Haussamen
NMPolitics - Heather Wilson told NMPolitics.net in March 2008 that the media was blowing the nation’s economic problems out of proportion. She said she expected that there would be an “economic slowdown,” but it should be “short and shallow.” That was in line with what many of the nation’s leaders from both political parties said at the time. Of course, they were wrong. A few months later, the United States fell quickly into what some call the Great Recession. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Rally

From the Southwest Environmental Center -Critically endangered Mexican wolves are on the agenda at this week’s NM Game Commission meeting in Las Cruces. There is a very real possibility that the new Governor, new Commission and wolf opponents will try to reverse New Mexico’s strong support for wolf recovery in the Southwest. To prevent this from happening, the Southwest Environmental Center and other wolf supporters have organized a rally and press conference prior to the Game Commission meeting to demonstrate broad public support for Mexican wolves.  The rally/press conference will be at 8 am on Thursday, June 9, at the entrance to the NM Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.  More News New Mexico

Corruption Investigation Not Slowing Richardson

Bill Richardson
From foxnews.com -In recent months, he has kept a low-profile in New Mexico but the former congressman and diplomatic troubleshooter has remained busy on the lecture circuit, in foreign affairs and has joined the boards of environmental groups and other organizations.  He became a special envoy to the Organization of American States and was a visiting fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics. He also is establishing a foreign policy center that will focus on Latin America, rescuing hostages and conflict resolution.  Most recently, Richardson was in Peru as part of an OAS election monitoring delegation for the country's upcoming presidential runoff.  More News New Mexico

Martinez to Extend Food Stamp Supplement

Susana Martinez
From necn.com -Republican Gov. Susana Martinez announced Monday she will extend a state program through September to supplement federal food stamp benefits for about 4,000 low-income elderly and disabled New Mexicans. Martinez will use federal economic stimulus money to prevent a reduction of food stamp benefits starting in July when the program otherwise would have ended. The Legislature did not approve any money for the program in the upcoming fiscal year, which starts next month, although the Martinez administration had requested $650,000.  More News New Mexico

Chavez: Crisis at UNM Health Services Ctr.

Eleanor Chavez
Veritas New Mexico - A state lawmaker is urging the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and the school’s Board of Regents to investigate allegations of systematic intimidation and retaliation against doctors and healthcare workers who report patient quality of care issues to management. “There is a crisis at our flagship institution and those in charge cannot continue to bury their heads in the sand,” Rep. Eleanor Chavez (D-Albuquerque) wrote in a letter to UNM Hospital administrators Wednesday. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Matthews: It's Partly Weiner's Wife's Fault

Chris Matthews
Real Clear Politics - MSNBC's Chris Matthews believes Rep. Anthony Weiner's wife may be "partly responsible" for his sexual misconduct because the Congressman said she was aware of his behavior before they were married. Read the transcript and watch the video here: News New Mexico