State airplane blunder interests feds

From - A state plane-related blunder made by the Martinez Administration soon after taking office this winter has prompted a federal investigation into the incident, according to official correspondence. The Federal Aviation Administration wants to know if the state has inadvertently stumbled into the charter business, according to an FAA letter sent to the state in early March.That’s because a Larry Barker investigation discovered that the state of New Mexico in February allowed a Hollywood director and his three assistants to fly from Las Vegas, N.M. to Pagosa Springs, Colo., to scout a location along the Cumbres Toltec Railroad. However, the problem was that only elected or appointed government officials are allowed to fly on state planes. State officials admitted the mistake soon after it came to light. Gov. Susana Martinez – who, after taking office, vowed to clean up a history of abuses related to the three state airplanes – later got NBC/Universal to reimburse taxpayers for the $4,000 cost of the flight. The company was scouting a location for a television show. But by doing right by taxpayers, Martinez may have done wrong by the FAA. To the FAA, it appeared that the NBC flight was similar to a charter flight. And the FAA has strict rules about charter flights and how charter businesses operate. The state of New Mexico is not authorized to fly charters. Not long after News 13 story aired in early May, the FAA started its own investigation into the incident. In a letter sent to the state, the federal agency said operating a state plane commercially and without a permit goes against federal regulations. Read more

Biologists hope insect can help wipe out invasive weed

From - For more than 80 years southwestern Colorado has been plagued with a weed that officials have never been able to get rid of. For La Plata County weed director, Rod Cook, the Russian knapweed is a foreign plant that’s adapted to the area. "We're kind of the epicenter for the state of Colorado and southwestern Colorado," said Cook. The weed thrives in the area because of the high mountain desert climate. Cook said it’s also addictive and poisonous for horses, burros, and mules. "Once they reach that threshold of being poisoned they can no longer chew, they can no longer swallow food". Seeds help spread the plant but it’s the creeping roots that make it impossible to pull out. Officials told us sometimes the roots can grow as long as 20 feet. Recently, the Bureau of Land Management released a hundred tiny bugs from Asia called a gall midge. Their primary food source is the Russian knapweed. "Once you put them out there and they go to work for you doing their can't beat that," said Cook. But—like anything else—there are some concerns. "There's really no guarantee that the bug may not adapt to some other plant," said Cook. Read more

Major study planned to investigate marijuana as a treatment for PTSD

NewsNM Swickard - Even though I come from the 1960s I have no connection with the drug. Yet, my concern is if a legitimate doctor says, Michael, this could help you, I do not want some politician saying, let him suffer. There should never be a politician between me and my doctor. From the New Mexico Independent - Marijuana may not cure the summertime blues, but there are those who think it can cure post-traumatic stress disorder, especially among veterans. Dave Wanzenreid, a longtime Montana legislator and current candidate for governor told The Colorado Independent earlier this year that veterans would be among the people most hurt when the Montana Legislature passed a bill to severely restrict access to medical marijuana in Montana. Read more

Santa Fe Hospital gears up for strike

From the Santa Fe New - For the second time in just under a month nurses and other unionized workers at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center have submitted a 10-day notice that they intend to strike. Shirley Cruse, lead negotiator for the local branch of the District 1199 National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, said Thursday the notice was sent to the hospital at 5 p.m. Thursday. "It's disappointing, but not unexpected," said hospital spokesman Arturo Delgado, adding that hospital negotiators still hope to reach an agreement with the workers before the current contract — which has already been extended once — expires July 31. Thursday's notice comes a day after face-to-face negotiations between the parties ended with hospital executives claiming the union had refused the services of a federal mediator and union representatives claiming the hospital had walked away from the negotiating table. Cruse said Thursday that no one from the hospital showed up for scheduled negotiations, but that the union did submit written counter proposals via email which hospital negotiators said they would review. Cruse said she's hoping the hospital's team will return to the table for negotiating sessions scheduled for Tuesday. Read more

Perry: No shuttle means astronauts to 'hitchhike'

From the El Paso Times - AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry says the cost-saving decision to end NASA's shuttle program will leave American astronauts with "no alternative but to hitchhike into space." The Republican had harsh words for the end of the shuttle era in a statement released Thursday. President Barack Obama, who rejected last-ditch appeals to keep shuttles flying, has set goals of astronaut expeditions to an asteroid by 2025 and then to Mars. But Perry said Obama is leading federal agencies astray. Perry says space exploration should be defined "not in terms of what we cannot do, but instead in terms of what we will do." Read more

Swickard: The truth when seen with partisan eyes

I struggle with patience for the type of reader who reads not for the ideas but in great hopes of finding a “Gotcha” mistake. They can refuse to see several great points and fixate upon whether I used a semi-colon correctly. Oh well. Then there are the real point missers. I hate to kick ankles when so many readers are so generous with their thoughts, but there is one type of feedback I dislike: the point missers who reads a column and takes one small arcane point, not what the column is about, and they wax on and on.It is a free country so they can do as they wish but I wonder why they put so much effort into missing the point each and every time. Read column

City of Alb. Wasting Water and Money

From -Video from the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Water Authority shows water gushing into the streets and broken sprinkler heads spraying out of control.  We've all heard the warnings, waste water and get fined. And you're racking up hefty fines thanks to the city. “We have a resource in water that we need to take care of in the city of Albuquerque,” Mayor R.J. Berry said.  So how much water is the city wasting?
News 13 asked for a breakdown of city properties that have been fined by the water authority in the last year. The city's violations take up five pages, and the fines add up to more than $21,000.  The city's Parks and Recreation Department is responsible for all violations that make up the $21,000 price tag.  More News New Mexico

$4000 Missing From UNM Basketball Team

From - An audit faults University of New Mexico athletic director Paul Krebs for not reporting sooner the disappearance of $4,000 from a basketball team office. The Albuquerque Journal reports the cash went missing in 2010. Krebs released a statement to The Associated Press on Thursday. He says this has been a learning process and department procedures have been strengthened to prevent this type of situation in the future. He says the university has taken "strong disciplinary action" against the person involved. He didn't provide specifics.  More News New Mexico

Utilities Try to Overturn NM's Onerous CO-2 Rules

Bill Richardson
KOB - TV - New Mexico's largest electric utilities, the oil and natural gas industry and others are seeking to have the state's greenhouse gas emissions rules overturned. Petitions to repeal the rules have been filed with the state Environmental Improvement Board. The board is expected to decide Aug. 1 whether the case will go forward. Championed by former Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson and environmentalists, the rules are aimed at establishing a cap and trade program and curbing greenhouse gas emissions among large polluters. The rules were approved in the waning weeks of Richardson's tenure. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has called the effort a "cap and tax." News New Mexico

Will Udall and Bingaman Votes Match Their Words?

Jeff Bingaman
Often you hear your Senators and your Congressmen talk a good game when it comes to getting our financial house in order. They will often post videos on their websites talking about how much they want to get the debt under "control." The reality of these false commitments showed their ugly faces on Tuesday when both Representatives Ben Ray Lujan and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico were presented with a golden opportunity to put their voting records where their mouths are. The House of Representatives passed a debt ceiling extension that would allow government to continue to function but also attached spending cuts, spending caps, and a balanced budget amendment to the agreement. Congressman Steve Pearce voted to keep government running and institute controls. However, both Heinrich, (who wants to be a Senator) and Lujan who is seeking re-election next year voted NO to the compromise.
Tom Udall
Now the attention shifts to Senators Tom Udall and Jeff Bingaman. Both upper house members have also parroted the "I want to get the budget and the debt under control" lines in videos and speeches. With a golden opportunity to keep true to their words, Senators Udall and Bingaman will get that chance in the U.S. Senate to prove they mean what they say very soon. You can contact your senators at the numbers below if you would like these men to keep the government running and insert some discipline into the budgeting and borrowing process. Senator Jeff Bingaman phone # (202) 224-5521, Senator Tom Udall phone # (202) 224-6621.


30 Problems With The Gang of 6 Proposal

From -Analyzing the six-page “Gang of Six” proposal for rewriting the federal budget is like measuring a bucket of water by holding the water in your hands.  Having said this, it looks like Coburn, Crapo, and Chambliss got their clocks cleaned. TAXES:First, by crafting the tax increases in the Senate Finance Committee, the Gang of Six proposal allows Democrats (plus Olympia Snowe) to determine their parameters. And, incidentally, Democrats’ notions of how you “stimulate economic growth,” as the plan requires, are fundamentally different from ours.  More News New Mexico

What Next for Vigil-Giron Case?

Albert Murdoch
Capitol Report New Mexico - The arrest of district court judge Albert “Pat” Murdoch has stunned lawyers and prosecutors around the state. But it has also raised questions about how Murdoch’s arrest will affect one of the most politically-charged cases in New Mexico — the ongoing drama of setting up a trial for former Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron.Vigil-Giron and three others face political corruption charges but no trial date has been set even though the 50-count indictment was handed down nearly two years ago.
Rebecca Vigil-Giron
Murdoch was assigned to officiate among the defendants, the New Mexico attorney general’s office and a special prosecutor to determine a court date. Earlier this month, Murdoch set a deadline of August 1st for prosecutors to decide who would handle the state’s case. But with Murdoch’s arrest coming just 11 days before the deadline, a host of questions arise. Who takes Murdoch’s place? Does the deadline stand? Will the case ever get to court? And what happens next? Read full story here: News New Mexico


ACLU Sues Secretary of State

KOB TV - The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico has filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Dianna Duran for failing to release public records about her allegations of irregularities in the state's voter rolls. The ACLU contends that Duran withheld documents and heavily redacted email by improperly claiming executive privilege in keeping information confidential. The civil rights group had requested records about Duran's statements to legislators earlier this year that her office had found possible instances of voting by non-citizens - foreign nationals with a New Mexico driver's license. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Obama Changes His Mind on Short Term Deal

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Real Clear Politics - WHITE HOUSE press secretary Jay Carney: "The president does not support a short-term extension of the debt limit, period. The only exception to that is in the event that both sides reach a deal on a long-term extension of the debt limit plus significant deficit reduction, and we needed a very short-term extension, like a few days, to allow a bit of extra time for a bill to work its way through the legislative process." If you recall, President Obama said he would not support a short-term deal. That positions seems to have changed. Watch video here: News New Mexico

Harbison: Individuals vs. the Community

Jim Harbison
We are in a world of shifting political and social concepts and institutions. Daily we hear about stakeholders, visioning, and consensus. We hire consultants to conduct focus group meeting to determine the ideal society. They devise what represents the community good or community values. Each is trying to manipulate the data in support of some preconceived objective. We are experiencing increasing regulatory actions at all levels of government to create better communities according to some stakeholder group’s vision. Hilary Clinton wanted us to all believe that it “takes a village” and we are all part of that village.
Hillary Clinton
This “village” is now politically known by another term – “Communitarianism”. A generally acceptable definition is that it is a political and social philosophy that emphasizes the rights of the community or “common good” above those of the individual. Others would say it is the balancing of the rights of the individual against those of the community and “civil society”. It is also the current politically correct term for socialism.
Communitarianism is also a major component of Agenda 21 where the community is now defined as the global village and anything identified as serving the community common good takes precedence over the rights of the individual. Under the U.S. Constitution the “community” has no rights and society is reflective of the rights and responsibilities of the individuals.
Communitarians believe that behaviors in civil society must be regulated. They want to impose values and beliefs that constrain families, residential communities, schools, religious organizations, businesses, development, and voluntary organizations according to their social norms. The problem is that there is no standard of good but different goods for different communities. Some communities can recognize polygamy, others stoning or honor killings, or as in the movie Footloose ban music and dancing. Your freedoms will become subservient to the local community good.
There is a constant struggle between liberals demanding community common good and conservatives struggling for maximum individual freedom. Communitarians believe that there is an undue emphasis on individual rights and are concerned that excessive individualism leads to selfishness (personal responsibility), egocentrism and a belief in American exceptionalism. According to Agenda 21 sustainable development policies you are selfish if you insist on your constitutionally guaranteed individual rights and freedoms.
Karl Marx
For communitarians it is necessary to demand that society be a balance of their moral core values of common good and individual rights. Unfortunately, their community values often trample individual rights. To create their utopian society more activities are identified as unacceptable or criminal such as diabetes, smoking, name calling, heavy energy consumption, neglect (in their view), driving when you could ride your bike or take public transportation. Other examples include areas of public health versus individual privacy, prayer in school, advocate taking your child away because of obesity, or codes enforcement that criminalize behaviors like failure to cut your weeds or recycle your trash.
U.N. Headquarters
Their actions always result in more restrictive laws that adversely impact personal freedoms. The lines between government and non-government groups blur and unelected stakeholder groups will use manufactured consensus to create more policies that will increase the loss of more individual rights and freedoms. Adoptions of Agenda 21 “smart growth” policies advocated by communitarian impose their visions upon those who oppose this increasing government control and intervention.
It is important to remember that our Constitution guarantees the rights of the individual, and not those of the community, to life and liberty. This puts our property and personal liberties in direct opposition to communitarianism and the goals of Agenda 21 and its sustainable development.


Janice Returns!

Janice Arnold-Jones
Former News New Mexico co-host Janice Arnold-Jones, now a candidate for New Mexico's U.S. Congressional District #1 will return for her first interview on News New Mexico since she formally announced her intent to seek the house seat being vacated by Martin Heinrich. We will talk to Arnold-Jones starting at 7:00am about her personal background, political experience, and vision for the nation's future.