APD: Teens Arrested After Attempting To Steal Bait Car

From KOAT-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Police said two teens were arrested after trying to steal a bait car trap set by authorities Friday night. Authorities said a 14-year-old boy and 18-year-old Jaguar Fresquez were looking for a ride to a party and found the bait car. "I don't know what parent would want to see their child commit a crime, let alone the fact of embarrassment," said Sgt. Donny Olvera, of the Albuquerque Police Department. "This little joyride that they did, it's going to cost them." Two minutes into the surveillance video inside the bait car, police said Fresquez made an ironic comment. "At one point, (Fresquez) stated, 'God, I hope this isn't a bait car,'" Olvera said. Fresquez also said on the video, "I've never stolen a car from a parking lot before." Police said when they deactivated the car, the 14-year-old was arrested right away, but Fresquez led officers on a brief foot chase. Read more

Balloon launch hints at jump attempt

From KRQE-TV.com - It appears a once suspended attempt at a world-record parachute jump over New Mexico from the edge of outer space may be back on track. The energy-drink company Red Bull, sponsors of the "Red Bull Stratos" project, confirms it has a balloon launch crew at work in Roswell. The crew attempted to launch a stratospheric balloon from the Roswell Industrial Air Center Thursday morning, but the tall clear plastic balloon collapsed after inflation. Airport staff would only say that the launch was "scratched," possibly due to winds, and referred all other questions to Red Bull. Although Red Bull will not confirm the nature of its testing at Roswell, Federal Aviation Administration notices indicate this week's flight was bound for the far upper atmosphere. That is where someday Red Bull hopes to drop its skydiver, Felix Baumgartner, from a stratospheric balloon. If successful, he would set several new world records and collect data on new pressure-suit designs. The records would include highest free-fall altitude, fastest free-fall (about Mach 1, 340 mph), highest manned balloon flight (120,000 feet) and longest free-fall (more than 5 1/2 minutes). The altitude record Baumgartner hopes to break was set by former Air Force Col. Joe Kittinger, who is now a consultant on the Red Bull Stratos team. In 1960 Kittinger jumped above New Mexico from a balloon almost 20 miles up over Alamogordo. He reached a speed of 614 mph in free-fall and collected data for putting humans in space and for escape systems. "We helped NASA design the Mercury capsule," he said. "And we helped work on the escape systems. And they are still using what we used 50 years ago." Read more

Anonymous donors pay off Kmart layaway accounts

From the El Paso Times.com - At Kmart stores across the country, Santa seems to be getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers' layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn't afford, especially toys and children's clothes set aside by impoverished parents. Before she left the store Tuesday evening, the Indianapolis woman in her mid-40s had paid the layaway orders for as many as 50 people. On the way out, she handed out $50 bills and paid for two carts of toys for a woman in line at the cash register. "She was doing it in the memory of her husband who had just died, and she said she wasn't going to be able to spend it and wanted to make people happy with it," Deppe said. The woman did not identify herself and only asked people to "remember Ben," an apparent reference to her husband. Read more

Birders ready to brave weather for count

From the Santa Fe New Mexican.com - Come snow or shine, birders will be out with their binoculars around Santa Fe on Saturday participating in the annual Christmas bird count. "We're going out to do it regardless of the weather," said Deanna Einspahr, who is coordinating the Santa Fe count and tabulating the results. The Christmas bird count, sponsored by Audubon, started Wednesday and continues through Jan. 5. This year marks more than a half century for the bird count in Santa Fe with the Randall Davey Audubon Center, and the 112th Christmas count across the Americas. The annual count by thousands of volunteers gives scientists a massive data base through which they can track patterns of avian migration and habitat. The Santa Fe Christmas bird count covers a 7-mile radius in all directions from the Plaza. Volunteers don't have to be experts to participate in the count, but they need to be fairly serious birders. Read more

Degree of certainty the core issue in identity questions

Commentary by Michael Swickard, Ph.D. - Two hot-button issues in New Mexico are related to one core question: what precision is necessary for the state government to “Know” the identity of people? We must address the “Certainty” question before exploring “How to” issues such as: with a photo. The precision necessary could range from allowing the government to take a person’s word as to their identity or might require a much more rigorous approach.The two areas of contention in New Mexico are voting and driving where political advantages mute identity certainty. In all other areas New Mexico has no trouble imposing adequate requirements for identity. The State of New Mexico government must be clear as to the certainty of identification required in each situation, including if we must always have identification with us. That is the core issue our leaders must solve first. Any dialog about photo ID is wasted without understanding the certainty requirements for identification. Read column

Durban: Climate Deniers-in-Chief Run the Show

The Nation - A different and more dangerous breed of climate denier commanded the stage at the recently concluded international negotiations in Durban, South Africa. These were not the usual cranks blathering fossil-fuel-industry talking points about how the science is all rubbish aimed at fostering a liberty-crushing world government. No, this breed is even more frightening, precisely because its members are not wacko outsiders. Rather, they are Serious People who actually run governments, or at least negotiate on behalf of those who do. They are lawyers, diplomats and government ministers, and they would be very surprised to hear themselves described as climate deniers. Read the full column here: News New Mexico

We Want a Playoff Now!

Sacramento Bee - Proponents of a college football playoff are launching a new national campaign aimed at taking down the BCS. The "We Want a Playoff Now" campaign was introduced Thursday on Capitol Hill. It includes the lobbying firm The Moffett Group, headed up by former Rep. Toby Moffett, D-Conn., and the communications firm, New Partners. Along with that effort, two congressmen are forming the Congressional Collegiate Sports Caucus. The congressmen, Texas Republican Joe Barton and Tennessee Democrat Steve Cohen, are reintroducing Barton's 2009 bill aimed at forcing college football to switch to a playoff system. The longshot bill would ban - as unfair and deceptive - the promotion of a postseason NCAA Division I football game as a national championship unless it's the outcome of a playoff. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Custody Provisions of NDAA Do NOT Apply to U.S. Citizens or Lawful Resident Aliens

A controversy over provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was cleared up after a reading of the text of legislation applicable to the detainment of terror suspects. In bold below is the section of the law applicable. Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens are specifically exempt from the NDAA as Congressman Steve Pearce said in a press release. Pearce voted for the bill. Martin Heinrich voted against the act citing the provisions below as his objection. Ben Ray Lujan voted against the act without giving a reason on his website. Some members of the media have mis-characterized the military custody language as being applicable to U.S. citizens.
(a) Custody Pending Disposition Under Law of War-
(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (4), the Armed Forces of the United States shall hold a person described in paragraph (2) who is captured in the course of hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) in military custody pending disposition under the law of war.
(2) COVERED PERSONS- The requirement in paragraph (1) shall apply to any person whose detention is authorized under section 1031 who is determined--
(A) to be a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated force that acts in coordination with or pursuant to the direction of al-Qaeda; and
(B) to have participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United States or its coalition partners.
(3) DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR- For purposes of this subsection, the disposition of a person under the law of war has the meaning given in section 1031(c), except that no transfer otherwise described in paragraph (4) of that section shall be made unless consistent with the requirements of section 1033.
(4) WAIVER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY- The Secretary of Defense may, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, waive the requirement of paragraph (1) if the Secretary submits to Congress a certification in writing that such a waiver is in the national security interests of the United States.
(b) Applicability to United States Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens-
(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.
(2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.


Rep. Williams-Stapleton to Rep. Espinoza: "You're Carrying the Mexican's Water on the Fourth Floor"

Sheryl Williams Stapleton
Capitol Report New Mexico - During a break in Wednesday’s Legislative Education Study Committee, Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D-Albuquerque) angrily confronted Rep. Nora Espinoza (R-Roswell), shouting “Don’t mess with me” and accusing Espinoza of “carrying the Mexican’s water on the fourth floor,” referring to Gov. Susana Martinez. Back on Oct. 28, KRQE-TV aired an investigative piece from Larry Barker that said Stapleton did not take leave from her job as an administrator at the Albuquerque Public Schools system and received pay while attending legislative sessions. (You can click here to see that story.) “I’m pissed,” Stapleton said as she confronted Espinoza during a lunch break at the committee meeting, “I’ve been waiting for you.” Espinoza got a few words in before Stapleton said, “You said I’m corrupt. Prove it!”
Susana Martinez
“I’ve been falsely and biasly accused,” Stapleton told reporters a few minutes later. “It was a biased story and my colleague added to it by saying I committed corruption.” Stapleton said she believes Espinoza was set up by people in the governor’s office to criticize Stapleton because she has resisted many of the governor’s educational reform bills. “From what I’ve heard from the blogs across the state,” Stapleton said, “the fourth floor [where the governor's office is located] is behind it.” When asked about the comment, “carrying the Mexican’s water,” and how some people could consider that offensive, Stapleton said, “If it is, I didn’t mean it to be inflammatory,” adding that she is part Spanish. Read full story here: News New Mexico


Supreme Court Rules for Democrats, Taxes on NM Businesses to Rise $128 Million in January

Alamogordo Daily News - SANTA FE -- The state Supreme Court dealt Gov. Susana Martinez another defeat Wednesday, ruling that she illegally vetoed part of a bill to stop a tax increase. Six Democrats in the Legislature sued the Republican governor over the veto. They said Martinez abused her power and actually endangered businesses by trying to strike down part of the bill. Martinez vetoed a $128 million increase in business taxes while allowing cuts in unemployment benefits to stand in the same bill. The Democrats, who paid for the lawsuit out of their own pockets, argued that Martinez could not veto part of a bill that did not involve an appropriation of state money. State Rep. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, was one of those who sued the governor. She said Martinez acted irresponsibly by vetoing the business tax to shore up the state's unemployment insurance fund. Stewart said the court's 5-0 ruling against Martinez would put the original bill into law, and that the tax increase on businesses would begin Jan. 1. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Heinrich, Lujan Vote NO on Defense Authorization Act

Martin Heinrich
Yesterday Representatives Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan voted against H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act. Congressman Steve Pearce voted for the bill. This is the legislation that authorizes appropriations for the fiscal year 2012.  Lujan made no mention of the vote on his website while Congressman Heinrich objected to a requirement that suspected foreign terrorists would be taken into custody by the military instead of civilian law enforcement authorities. Heinrich said, "This would deny civilian law enforcement authorities the flexibility necessary to conduct effective interrogation, detention, and prosecution." 
Steve Pearce
Congressman Steve Pearce had a different take on the bill. “The National Defense Authorization Act funds our military and extends support to our troops,” said Pearce. “There has been some confusion about the terms of this legislation. The bill does not, in fact, give the military the right to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely. Instead, the language of the bill explicitly states that U.S. citizens do not fit the criteria for who can be detained by the military. In the event that a U.S. citizen was arrested on suspicion of terrorist activities within the U.S. or on the battlefield in Afghanistan, they would go to civilian court, and face criminal charges.
Ben Ray Lujan
However, if an al-Qaeda member is detained on the battlefield in Afghanistan, then they can be held by the military indefinitely as an enemy combatant, or until they go before a military tribunal.” H.R. 1540 passed the House of Representatives yesterday despite opposition from Lujan and Heinrich.


Albuquerque Public Schools: $19 Million Short

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The Albuquerque Public Schools district has cut spending by $100 million in the last three budget years. If early APS projections are correct, the district will have to cut $19 million more.
Winston Brooks
According to early budget numbers presented by the administration to the APS board's finance committee this week, $7 million of the shortage comes from a projected increase in the share the district pays in employee retiree costs. Another $4 million of the shortfall is from a decline in enrollment of more than 1,000 students this school year. Projections of more teachers qualifying for a higher salary tier, increased textbook costs and the lack of a furlough day in last year's budget that needs to be negotiated for this year's budget are other factors included in the $19 million figure. The numbers are coming well ahead of the fiscal year beginning next July 1 and could change significantly before the district's next budget is due. "With 90 percent of our budget in salaries and benefits, that's really the only place we have to go," APS Chief Financial Officer Don Moya said. "With the vast majority of that staff being in the classroom, my fear is that that's the only place to go for additional cuts." Read full story here: News New Mexico


"Class War O-Bomb"


Maryland Set to Hire Mike Locksley

Mike Locksley
Baltimore Sun - Maryland is expected to hire former New Mexico coach Mike Locksley as its offensive coordinator, according to a knowledgeable source. Locksley would replace Gary Crowton. The school is negotiating the terms of Crowton's release after one season. Locksley was 2-26 at New Mexico but is known as an aggressive recruiter. He is a former Towson University player and Maryland assistant. Locksley was dismissed by New Mexico during the 2011 season. Locksley had previously served four seasons as the Illinois offensive coordinator. When he was hired by New Mexico, the Albuquerque Journal wrote that the school's athletic director "wanted the next Lobo coach be a strong recruiter and run an exciting offense." Before his Illinois job under Ron Zook, Locksley was a Florida assistant -- also under Zook. At Maryland, Locksley, 41, was the running backs coach (and later recruiting coordinator) for six years beginning in 1997. He served under coach Ron Vanderlinden and then coach Ralph Friedgen. His old Maryland bio talks about his recruiting prowess. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Hurricane Forecasters Through in December Towel

NewsNM note - Spence - This news story is another subtle blow to the global warming re-branded climate change religion. Al Gore's camp has called for a big increase in hurricane activity for years. The fact that there is no predictive value whatsoever in "projections" is more evidence that the theory is dubious. What is not dubious are the proposed policies. the policies do damage to the economy. 
Ottawa News — Two top U.S. hurricane forecasters, famous across Deep South hurricane country, are quitting the practice of making a seasonal forecast in December because it doesn’t work. William Gray and Phil Klotzbach say a look back shows their past 20 years of forecasts had no predictive value. The two scientists from Colorado State University will still discuss different probabilities of hurricane seasons in December. But the shift signals how far humans are, even with supercomputers, from truly knowing what our weather will do in the long run. Colorado State has been known for decades for forecasts of how many named storms and hurricanes can be expected each official hurricane season (which runs from June to November.) Read full story here: News New Mexico