Governor Kicks Off Centennial Celebration

Susana Martinez
LAS CRUCES – Governor Susana Martinez is in Las Cruces this weekend to kick off New Mexico’s Centennial Celebration at SalsaFest on Main Street. “This is a time for all of us to be proud to be New Mexicans,” said Governor Martinez. “I’m looking forward to taking part in all of the great activities at SalsaFest and enjoying New Mexico’s rich history and vibrant culture. Our Centennial anniversary is a time to celebrate and SalsaFest is a great way to kick it off.” Governor Martinez has also signed an executive order directing all state cabinet agencies to create, encourage, and promote Centennial celebration activities, such as community celebrations, commemorations, educational projects, and legacy projects that will educate and remind New Mexicans about the state’s unique history. The executive order also instructs agencies to coordinate with the Department of Cultural Affairs in promoting the Centennial commemoration.
“The Centennial is an opportunity to instill a legacy of appreciation for our state’s history, culture, and values that will last for the next hundred years and beyond,” said Governor Martinez. “I am asking each cabinet agency to play a role in commemorating this important anniversary through community activities and other projects that will make a difference now and for years to come.”


State audit could show impact of movies on state

Carlsbad Argus - SANTA FE — Movies in New Mexico have never been bigger or more controversial. The state paid a record $102 million in subsidies to television producers and filmmakers for the budget year that ended June 30. Even so, the number of jobs the film industry has created is still being debated by New Mexico's legislators. Is it 2,000 or 10,000 who make their living because of moviemaking? Nobody can say for sure. Another cloudy part of the debate is how much of a financial return the state received after using subsidies to lure movies. Answers should crystallize by fall, when the first results of detailed state audits of the movie industry will be finished, said state Sen. Timothy Keller. Keller, D-Albuquerque, authored a bill that tightened rules for the rebates that filmmakers and television companies receive for doing business in New Mexico. "We will be able to determine how much is spent on the film industry, and how much return there is on our investment," Keller said in describing his Senate Bill 44. Gov. Susana Martinez, who spent much of her first months in office trying to lower the movie subsidy, signed the bill into law in April. About that time, moviemakers began rushing to to file for rebates under the state program that entitles them to 25 percent back on qualified production expenses. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Mexican federal police reportedly beat, threaten Juárez police spokesman

From the El Paso Times - By Marisela Ortega Lozano - Three Mexican federal police officers in Juárez allegedly beat and threatened a Juárez police spokesman, officials said. Adrián Sánchez was allegedly attacked Friday night when he changed lanes on De las Torres Avenue, Sanchez said in a telephone interview. Upon getting pulled over and stepping out of his vehicle, which was marked as an official police unit, federal police officers reportedly verbally abused, pushed and kicked Sánchez on the legs, Sánchez said. "I followed their instructions all the time, so there was no reason for their behavior," Sánchez said. "But when I identified myself as an official from city police, they (federal police officers) acted up even worse." According to Sánchez, one federal officer instructed him to open his legs to search him while their partners checked Sánchez's vehicle thoroughly and began calling him names. "Once they found out I work as the local police spokesman, they threatened me and told me they're going to beat me up the way Juárez police officers beat federal officers, they said," Sánchez added. The whole incident happened in a 15-minute timespan in the middle of a busy avenue located in south Juárez. Read more


Driest Year Ever on the East Side

The Republic - ROSWELL, N.M. — Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge in north Roswell is known as an oasis in the desert, providing vital wetlands in an arid environment to thousands of migratory birds and endangered species and plants. But the oasis is drying up due to exceptional drought conditions, the worst drought category possible, that still persist in southeast New Mexico, Bitter Lake biologist Jeffrey Sanchez said in a recent interview. Wetlands are at an all-time low capacity, just below 50 percent, and the refuge has received a mere 1/2 of an inch of rain since the beginning of the year, drastically low compared to its usual lush 12 inches of rainfall per year, Sanchez said. "It is the driest year so far, and it shows in the wetlands," Sanchez said. "I haven't seen any documentation of the wetlands being this dry in the past." The first seven months of 2011 have been the driest start to any year on record for New Mexico, according to the National Weather Service, and through August, about 47 percent of the state remains in exceptional drought. The statewide average precipitation has only been 42 percent of normal through July 2011. Read full story here: News New Mexico


The "Ayatollah of Climate Change" Issues a Fatwah

Al Gore's Lear Jet
Daily Caller - One day climate change skeptics will be seen in the same negative light as racists, at least so says former Vice President Al Gore. In an interview with former advertising executive and Climate Reality Project collaborator Alex Bogusky broadcasted on UStream on Friday, Gore explained that in order for climate change alarmists to succeed, they must “win the conversation” against those who deny there is a crisis.
“I remember, again going back to my early years in the South, when the Civil Rights revolution was unfolding, there were two things that really made an impression on me,” Gore said. “My generation watched Bull Connor turning the hose on civil rights demonstrators and we went, ‘Whoa! How gross and evil is that?’ My generation asked old people, ‘Explain to me again why it is okay to discriminate against people because their skin color is different?’ And when they couldn’t really answer that question with integrity, the change really started.”
The former vice president recalled how society succeeded in marginalizing racists and said climate change skeptics must be defeated in the same manner. “Secondly, back to this phrase ‘win the conversation,’” he continued. “There came a time when friends or people you work with or people you were in clubs with — you’re much younger than me so you didn’t have to go through this personally — but there came a time when racist comments would come up in the course of the conversation and in years past they were just natural. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Noon: Coal and Oil Provides the Shelter from Irene

Marita Noon
Townhall - “Coal is making us sick. Oil is making us sick.” So said Senator Harry Reid. With the entire East Coast facing a fierce Irene, nothing could be further from the truth. America’s energy is what is keeping people alive despite nature’s fury. The news is filled with clips of governors, mayors, and police chiefs begging people to evacuate and escape the storm and shots of highways are filled with cars heading out. Reports warn that gas stations are running out of gas and major power outages are predicted. Some areas could be out of power for as long as two weeks. Buried between the lines of “storm surges” and “wind gusts,” is an untold story of the importance of energy in saving lives. One hundred years ago, the rate of death in America due to extreme weather was dramatic with 8000 people being killed in the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. Today, the death rate per million has dropped from 241.8 in the 1920’s to 3.5 in the 2000-2006 period—a decline of 99%.
The Death and Death Rates Due to Extreme Weather Events report, indicates that better transportation and communication systems have played a major role in the decline of death rates. People hear about the storm through TV, Radio, and the internet. They get into their cars and drive away. Coal is keeping people alive—not making them sick. Coal provides the electricity for the communications. Oil is keeping people alive—not making them sick. Oil provides the gas for the transportation. Read full column here: News New Mexico

Re-Visiting Faith-Based Global Warming

Charles Darwin - No, my kids haven't been chewing over Charles Darwin text or the Holy Bible in elementary school. There's simply no time. Not with global warming out there. Perry, not surprisingly, was also recently asked about "global warming." He responded that "the issue has been politicized" and that pouring billions of dollars into "a scientific theory that has not been proven and ... is more and more being put into question" is not worthwhile. It is interesting watching the nation's defenders of reason, empirical evidence, and science fail to display a hint of skepticism over the transparently political "science" of global warming. Rarely are scientists so certain in predicting the future. Yet this is a special case. It is also curious that these supposed champions of Darwin don't believe that human beings—or nature—have the ability to adapt to changing climate. Like 99 percent of pundits and politicians, though, I have no business chiming in on the science of climate change—though my kids' teachers sure are experts. Needless to say, there is a spectacular array of viewpoints on this issue. The answers are far from settled. There are debates over how much humans contribute. There are debates over how much warming we're seeing. There are debates over many things.
But even if one believed the most terrifying projections of global warming alarmist "science," it certainly doesn't mean one has to support the anti-capitalist technocracy to fix it. And try as some may to conflate the two, global warming policy is not "science." The left sees civilization's salvation in a massive Luddite undertaking that inhibits technological growth by turning back the clock, undoing footprints, forcing technology that doesn't exist, banning products that do, and badgering consumers who have not adhered to the plan through all kinds of punishment. Yet there is no real science that has shown that any of it makes a whit of difference. So no doubt, it is reasonable for voters to query presidential candidates about their views on faith, religion, God, Darwin, and science. It matters. Sometimes, though, it matters less than they'd like you to think it does. Read full column here: News New Mexico


The Week in Review

Before we get to another New Mexico week in review that is packed with strange happenings, let’s give kudos to Artesia’s Landry Jones, now the quarterback of the Oklahoma Sooners football team. A major Heisman Trophy candidate, Jones leads his team into the season with the #1 A.P. pre-season ranking.
We began this week with California Congresswoman Maxine Waters telling the tea parties to, “Go straight to hell.” It would seem that all efforts at civility in the wake of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting in Tucson earlier this year have officially ceased within the Waters organization.
Not to be outdone by the viciousness of Maxine Waters, Mexican drug cartels staged a pitched gun battle outside of a soccer stadium in the beleaguered country. Players on both teams were seen on video sprinting for the exits in the middle of the game while fans also took cover. It made Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s calls for tourists to come to a safe Mexico, ring just a bit hollow.
Sidonie Squier
HHS Secretary Sidonie Squier announced that New Mexico’s Medicaid costs continue to skyrocket. Estimates are that this year the state’s additional burden will rise by $330-360 million. Is anyone paying attention? Those earning as much as 235% above the federal poverty level qualify for taxpayer financed handouts in our state.
The Albuquerque Police Department is coming under more intense criticism and scrutiny these days. Some family members of suspects shot by APD officials over the last two years say there are “rogue” elements in the department with quick trigger fingers. Probes are underway.
Regular guest columnist Jim Harbison exposed dubious anti-jobs policies passed recently by the Las Cruces City Council. In an era where construction jobs are particularly precious and city payrolls remain bloated from the recent construction boom (now turned bust), the Las Cruces City Council, in its infinite wisdom, decided to slap prohibitive impact fees on all new development and construction. One can only wonder how many jobs must be lost before the voters in the second largest city in New Mexico realize what is happening to them.
An earthquake struck the East Coast at midweek causing damage in Virginia. Eyebrows were raised up and down the east coast. A previously unpublicized “fault” was identified as the culprit. There was an immediate push to change the name of that fault. We have unconfirmed reports that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney wanted it to be re-named the “Bush Fault,” while Maxine Waters argued vehemently that it should be dubbed the “Tea Party Fault.”
An Albuquerque hero admitted he is in the country illegally last week. The admission came just a few days after a daring rescue thwarted the kidnapping of a six year old. Hero Antonio Diaz Chacon admitted that he found the paperwork process involved in gaining legal status too cumbersome. Chacon is married to an American citizen. Is there a message here?
Excel Energy called for reduced electricity consumption at mid-week thanks to a shortage of production capacity. One can only wonder how many blackouts lie ahead when President Obama’s clueless EPA shuts down coal fired plants in the Four Corners region (and other areas of the nation) to “save the planet.” Radical environmentalists defended the anti-coal anti-oil and gas policies suggesting they might not do much harm ………. if we never have summer or winter again.
Gary Johnson
We had to laugh as we posted comments from former Governor Gary Johnson this week. Johnson was weighing in on “social” issues. He said social issues would be a losing hand for the GOP in the upcoming presidential contest. While we tend to agree with the governor on this point and many others, it seemed somewhat ironic that G.J. would be talking about a losing hand as part of a strategy to do something about his own…..losing hand.
Ben Lujan
New Mexico House Speaker Ben Lujan sent a letter expressing his intent to look at impeachment proceedings against estranged PRC commissioner Jerome Block Jr. We don’t have enough space to talk about all the hot water Block is in, let alone publish a list of everyone from both sides of the aisle who have called for him to resign.
Rob Nikolewski of Capitol Report New Mexico published a report on his website this week documenting the fact that Senator Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich claim they are too busy working on job creation ideas to conduct town hall meetings. Apparently both Heinrich and Udall are not too busy to hold fundraising events in Washington D.C. for fat cats. Heinrich wants to grab the Senate seat being vacated by town hall averse Senator Jeff Bingaman. Udall is not up for re-election until 2014.
Rep. Lee Alcon took a big shot at Governor Susana Martinez late in the week, suggesting the governor would give you a kick in the kidneys if you were down. When offered a chance to soften his statements by Rob after his press conference Alcon took the opportunity to get harsher saying that the Governor “Has no heart.” It seems that Alcon is very upset that the Governor wants to heed the wishes of 75% of the voters and reform the driver’s license laws in the state. And then, with almost uncanny timing, multiple indictments were handed down by a grand jury in Albuquerque Thursday drawing attention to yet another crime ring that set up shop in New Mexico to take advantage of the state’s absurd driver’s license laws. Three leaders of a Chinese crime ring stand accused of using fraudulent documents to secure New Mexico driver’s licenses for over 60 illegal immigrants from out of state. They are now facing over 1,150 counts of felony charges.
It would seem that there is widespread heartlessness within that Albuquerque grand jury. Only the “heartless” would bother with prosecuting a little fraud, forgery, and conspiracy. People falsifying affidavits and engaging in perjury should not face a prosecutorial “kidney punch.” Anyone with some compassion should realize that all it takes is just a little “heart” to tolerate altered, forged, or fictitious driver’s licenses. Just ask Rep. Lee Alcon, he’ll tell you. And finally, in what has to be labeled a sign of the times, illegal immigrant advocates in Albuquerque are planning a “peaceful protest” in front of…… get this….. the Department of Motor Vehicles on September 1st. Organizers say they are upset that Governor Martinez is going after the wrong people. In an interview with KOB TV one advocate is quoted as saying, “It's difficult to tell if the person applying for the license is in New Mexico to work or to commit crimes.” It might be somewhat helpful to point out that it is illegal to “work” if you are in the U.S. illegally. Isn’t that the reason why our government fines employers who hire illegals?


Skandera Closes Albuquerque PED Office

Jay Miller
Inside the Capitol - Public Education Department Secretary Hanna Skandera is closing the department's Albuquerque office and transferring the 18 employees to Santa Fe.. This follows her cut a few months ago of 33 jobs in Santa Fe. How can she do all this when Gov. Susana Martinez has frequently said she will protect public schools from budget cuts? Well, she later amended that position by stating she wouldn't touch classrooms. At the same time Gov. Martinez said she wants major cuts in bloated school administration. In that category, she includes the Public Education Department, despite charging it with reforming education. Skandera's position is that she doesn't need a lot of employees to bring about the education changes she wants.
Hanna Skandera

Plus, her department was hit with more than a 20 percent funding cut by the Legislature. Some departments require more than one office because the staffing has grown to the point that one building won't hold them. But with the hiring freeze of the past three years, it now should be possible for many departments and agencies to consolidate into one building. During the years of staff expansion to second and third locations, Albuquerque was a very popular place. A primary reason for this was that many cabinet secretaries already lived in Albuquerque and it was far easier to frequently work in an Albuquerque office than face the daily commute. Read full story here: News New Mexico


O'Reilly: Gone Fishin

Bill O'Reilly
Townhall - The media covering the president's vacation in Martha's Vineyard are being discouraged from photographing President Obama playing golf. There is no access. Apparently, the White House is nervous that in tough economic times, whacking a small white ball could be construed as insensitive. How insane is that? Presidents are entitled to goof off once in a while, as Warren Harding and Teddy Roosevelt both understood. Harding was a card sharp, and Teddy ran around shooting animals. Almost every president took advantage of recreational opportunities, with the possible exception of Franklin Pierce, who did little but brood. As you may know, George W. Bush was vilified for spending time at his Texas ranch when the Iraq war was going south. Even though W. entertained guys like Putin (no holiday is complete without him), liberals kept a close count of how many days Bush was cutting brush in 100-degree heat and riding around on his dirt bike. Today, some right-wingers are criticizing Obama for his island jaunt during a bad economy.
But, come on, isn't the president entitled to spend a few days with his family at the end of August? Is the country going to be downgraded again because he eats a little taffy? All American presidents are under enormous strain. John Quincy Adams blew off steam by swimming naked in the Potomac River. Harry Truman got a massage most mornings before he began stopping the buck. Dwight Eisenhower spent almost as much time on the golf course as Sam Snead. The truth is that creative people need downtime in order to operate at their best. Bad decisions are often made when a person becomes exhausted. All day, every day, presidents are under siege to deal with one problem after another. Everybody wants something. The job never stops. Thus, I have no problem with vacationing presidents. Read full story here: News New Mexico


Burglary Can Pay for Your Heirs in Colorado Springs

Gazette - An El Paso County jury on Friday awarded nearly $300,000 to the daughter of a burglar who was fatally shot in 2009 while breaking into an auto lot. Parents of the victim, Robert Johnson Fox, embraced their attorneys after a judge announced the jury’s verdict, capping a two-week-long civil trial in which business owner Jovan Milanovic and two relatives were painted as vigilantes who plotted a deadly ambush rather than let authorities deal with a string of recent burglaries. Phillip and Sue Fox, who filed suit for wrongful death in 2010 on behalf of Fox’s 3-year-old daughter, called the jury’s award a victory in their fight to seek accountability for the death of their son, who they say never posed a threat to the heavily armed men.
“Rob was in the wrong place doing the wrong thing, but the punishment didn’t fit the crime,” Sue Fox said afterward. “I can’t excuse his actions, but he didn’t deserve to be executed.” The exact amount of the award was $269,500, for factors such as loss of companionship and loss of future earnings. The family will also be awarded some of the costs associated with the more than yearlong legal battle. The jury of three men and three women deliberated for 2½ days over closely contested testimony about the predawn shooting on April 19, 2009. Fox, 20, was shot after he and a friend scaled a fence to get inside Southwest Auto Sales at 2444 Platte Place in the city’s Knob Hill neighborhood. According to the accomplice, Brian Corbin, they had smoked methamphetamine and were looking to steal anything to buy more drugs. Read full story here: News New Mexico