Texas student's refusal to say Mexican pledge, anthem starts controversy

From KHOU-TV.com - by BRAD WATSON - RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas - Every day students in Texas public schools pledge allegiance to the flags of the United States and Texas. But when a teacher in a Rio Grande Valley high school assigned students to stand and pledge allegiance to the Mexican flag and sing Mexico's national anthem, one student refused.The resulting controversy has one East Texas lawmaker wanting changes in the state's curriculum on how culture and patriotism are taught in schools. 15-year-old Brenda Brinsdon entered her sophomore year at McAllen ISD's Achieve Early College High School just wanting to do well in her classes.But in mid-September she got an unexpected lesson on personal conviction and taking on the system."I feel that I did what's right," Brinsdon said. "And I know what I did what's right [...] I'm going to stand my ground."Brinsdon said she stood her ground by staying seated when first-year Spanish 3 teacher Reyna Santos assigned her class to stand and recite Mexico's pledge of allegiance. Students stood with right arms straight out and palms down, which is how the school district says Mexicans say their pledge.Above Vicente Fox, former Mexican President demonstrates. Calling the lesson "un-American," Brinsdon recorded the class, which occurred the week of Mexico's Independence Day and also the 10th anniversary of 9/11.The teacher also told students to memorize and recite the the pledge individually.And when the time came for the part of the assignment to sing Mexico's national anthem, Brinsdon again refused.With that, Santos asked the class to stand and led the class in the anthem."I told her, I was like, 'I thought this was a Spanish class,'" Brinsdon recalled. "And she's like, 'Well, yeah it is, it's like, it's a cultural thing.' And so I was the only one that sat down." Brinsdon's father, William, backs his daughter. He said that reciting a pledge to any other nation has no place in public schools."What are we to do? Just lay down and let it happen?" Mr. Brinsdon said. "Or should we stand up for our country?"Santos couldn't be reached for comment.The school district declined several News 8 requests to interview someone with the district. Read more

Super Committee Failure Could Hurt N.M.

From capitolreportnewmexico.com -The failure of the so-called Super Committe to agree on deficit reductions isn’t just making news in Washington. “I don’t see any sudden change in spending,” state Sen. John Arthur Smith (D-Deming) told Capitol Report New Mexico in an interview just moments after Democrats and Republicans in Washington announced they were giving up on bi-partisan negotiations. “They’re letting off the accelerator on spending. But the long-term results I think are going to be quite damaging to the state of New Mexico.” By not reaching an agreement on at least $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts, the committee leaves in place automatic reductions to the military that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta described Monday (Nov. 21) as “devastating, automatic, across-the-board cuts that will tear a seam in the nation’s defense.”  More News New Mexico

"Thanksgiving and Thanks Gimmy"


N.M. Unemployment Recipients Told to Pay Back Money

From koat.com -Target 7 has learned that unemployed New Mexicans who were receiving unemployment checks for months are now being asked to pay that money back because their former employers contested their claims. When father-of-two Toby Villanueva started receiving unemployment benefits, he never anticipated the nightmare that was to come.  "I just continued getting it, then it ran out, then I filed for an extension and kept getting it," Villanueva said.  For months, the two New Mexicans received thousands of dollars from the unemployment office until a jaw-dropping letter. The letter said their employers were protesting their claims  "I would have found other ways to pay my bills and feed the kids and everything else," Villanueva said.  More News New Mexico


Bingaman & Udall Try to Delay Sagebrush Lizard Ruling

From newswest9.com -The decision to make the dunes sagebrush lizard an endangered species is supposed to be decided next month but two New Mexico Senators are trying to delay the ruling. The director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the final say. Senators Tom Udall and Jeff Bingaman recently sent a letter to the director asking him to temporarily halt his decision. The letter applauds the agency for extending the initial public comment period and for holding public hearings.  The letter says the best scientific information is vital to the listing process. It also says the director has the authority to delay the decision if there's a dispute over the related scientific data.  More News New Mexico

N.M. ERB Proposes 55 as Minimum Retirement Age

From businessweek.com -New Mexico's retirement program for teachers and college faculty proposes to improve its long-term finances by establishing a minimum retirement age of 55 for educators and limiting cost-of-living increases for retirees. The Educational Retirement Board voted Monday to recommend the proposals to the Legislature, which has to change state law to implement any pension revisions.  More News New Mexico

Couple Arrested in NM for Allegedly Trying to Bribe Border Patrol

From therepublic.com -A Texas couple has been jailed on charges they tried to bribe a Border Patrol agent into letting them smuggle a family member and cocaine into the country. The U.S. Attorney's Office says FBI agents arrested 25-year-old Debbie Ayala of San Elizario, Texas, and 27-year-old David Rogelio Leyva of Socorro, Texas. Both were booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center. Federal prosecutors allege the couple tried to offer $700 to $800 to the agent so they could smuggle Ayala's cousin from Mexico into New Mexico possibly through Deming last January.  More News New Mexico

NM's Permanent Funds Decline over $1B

From therepublic.com -New Mexico's permanent funds dropped in value by more than $1 billion during the past quarter because of a downturn in global financial markets. The latest report to the State Investment Council shows the Land Grant Permanent Fund had assets valued at $9.5 billion at the end of September, down more than a $1 billion from the previous quarter.  More News New Mexico

Study:Wildfires Linked to Illegal Border Crossings

From foxnews.com -People crossing the southeastern Arizona desert caused at least 30 wildfires in a five year period, found the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress. A study by Congress’ investigative arm that shows investigators have linked 30 fires that erupted in a five-year period in Arizona’s border region to people who crossed into the United States illegally — a finding Sen. John McCain says backs up earlier statements he made about undocumented immigrants and wildfires.  More News New Mexico

Climategate 2.0?

From hotair.com -Two years ago, a group calling itself FOIA.org dumped a treasure trove of e-mails from climate-change advocates and researchers that revealed abundant evidence of data manipulation and dishonest attempts to silence and discredit critics.  Called “Climategate,” the exposure greatly damaged the standing of the scientists involved and their public statements.  Now the same group has celebrated the second anniversary of the Climategate release with another release of 5,000 e-mails, which have only begun to be parsed by interested bloggers.  More News New Mexico

You May Be Financially Responsible For Your Parents

Yesterday on NewsNM we spoke about current laws in 29 states that hold you financially responsible for your parents, these laws are known as filial laws which date back as far as 17th century England.  Information on filial responsibility laws can be seen here and a list of each state that participates can be seen here.

Puerto Rico Benefited the Most From $1B Homeowners' Loan Program

From usatoday.com -Almost half the homeowners aided by the Emergency Homeowners' Loan Program are in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Connecticut, based on preliminary figures from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  As previously reported, the program closed to applicants on Sept. 30 with more than half of its $1 billion unspent. Leftover funds return to the U.S. Treasury.  Not only was much money unspent, but what was spent exceeded targets in some states and was well below them in others. •Pennsylvania, Maryland and Connecticut were initially allotted $179 million, but received $46 million more because they used up their initial funds, HUD spokesman Brian Sullivan says.  Puerto Rico fared best. With funds to help 652 homeowners, it got 468 preliminary approvals, or 72%.   More News New Mexico


Swickard: Have a Wealthy Thanksgiving

Michael and Conrad
We are a nation of plenty. Our nation’s most threadbare citizens are quite blessed when compared to many citizens in other countries. Americans seem to be “The cup is half empty” type of people when what obscures the enjoyment of our bountiful blessings is the politics of envy and entitlement. Since someone has more than we do the government needs to do something.
Thanksgiving is an American notion: a time to be thankful for that we have received. Each year for a brief moment in November we recognize how blessed we truly are and hopefully have a wealthy Thanksgiving.
Unfortunately this year much of the dialog from our political leaders is focused not on what we have but rather what others have that we do not. The politics of envy and entitlement sours our holiday spirit. The notion is that Americans are injured when some Americans having considerable more than others. This is without understanding that most Americans have all they truly need.
Sitting down for the Thanksgiving feast are people who bow their heads reverently and give thanks. Others mutter impatiently, “About time.” With the butter from homemade rolls on their lips this second group carps about what has not come their way. Their mantra: “I deserve this that I have and even more.”
Many people consider this day a day of lassitude and gluttony. W. J. Cameron said, “Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.” This holiday was my father’s favorite, even above Veteran’s Day. As a WWII soldier on the frontlines for several years I suspect he carried thoughts of the times he might have died and those who did. He would not talk about war. But at times he got a far-away look. He was his most talkative, not that it was much, on Thanksgiving. One winter day he and I went to the store to get a couple last things for the Thanksgiving feast. On the spur of the moment I asked, “Which Thanksgiving did you like the best?” He took a long puff on his cigarette and said meditatively, “Thanksgiving 1944 in the winter mud of Italy.”
With a far-away look he said, “It was the first hot meal me and my buddies had in a long while. As I was sitting there eating hot food I realized that the war was coming to an end and next Thanksgiving I had a good chance of being home. At that moment I was warm and full and happy. I have never been happier.”
We drove up to the store and he retreated back to his quiet nature. He was quite frugal with words to anyone other than those who served with him in combat. And with them they talked in code with one or two words and knowing looks.
Was my father wealthy? Perhaps he was because he was completely satisfied with what he had and did not lust after the possessions of his neighbors. He did not have more than some of his neighbors but he never seemed to notice. Every Thanksgiving was a wealthy time for him.
This whole discussion about wealth in our country falls apart when it comes to defining wealth. Other than super rich we have no definition of those Americans who are wealthy as compared to those who are not. Politicians say America’s wealthy are harmful to our country because they have a yacht. Again, the half empty glass thinking of what we do not have versus are we well-fed, warm and safe? Our most dangerous age is now with the government mandate to redistribute the resources of our country for political gain. Well, Swickard, do you not want to be fair? Absolutely, and that is why when one American has something, it is their possession, not something for the government to confiscate. Without property rights we cease to be a free nation. I do not buy into the notion if they did not have their wealth I would be better off. This Thanksgiving I give thanks to God for that which I have. I do not look with envy and entitlement at the possession of other Americans. I hope each of you have a wealthy Thanksgiving.


"Laser-like Focus"