3 Photographers Found Dead in Mexico

From nytimes.com -The bodies of three photojournalists were found dismembered on Thursday in the eastern state of Veracruz, days after a crime reporter for a national magazine was killed in her house there. The motives for the killings were not immediately known, and few such cases in Mexico are ever solved. But human rights groups condemned the deaths as another worrying sign of the vulnerability of journalists reporting on the wave of drug and organized crime violence that has rocked Mexico in the past six years and left more than 50,000 people dead.“What we have seen in Mexico in the last years is a systematic attempt to muzzle the press that has been successful in various parts of the country, where the press has been effectively censored,” said Rosental Alves, director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, in Austin, Tex. “This unprecedented blood bath is fueled by a certainty of impunity, as the cases of crimes against the press usually don’t even reach a court of law.”   More here

Lower Rio Grande Farmers Approaching Groundwater Limits for 2012

From kunm.org -In a statement released today, the Office of the State Engineer says it will begin sending letters to irrigators in southern New Mexico who are already in danger of using more than their share of groundwater for the year. During last year's drought, farmers facing reduced allocations of river water pumped up twice as much groundwater as in either of the two previous years. Then in August, the Third Judicial District Court set limits on groundwater use as part of the adjudication process in the lower Rio Grande. According to the release: State Engineer Scott Verhines notes, “2012 is a difficult year for New Mexican farmers in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Rio Grande Project surface water supplies are low, and the 2008 Project Operating Agreement compounds the hardship by allocating less surface water to our EBID [Elephant Butte Irrigation District] farmers. We recognize that limiting over-diversion of groundwater may feel unfair during such dry times. However, over-diversions in one area can impact neighbors in another. Our team is working to protect the sustainability of our water resources, protect our farmers for the long term, and follow the decisions determined by the court. We encourage any and all questions and will work with irrigators to help them survive this dry year.”

Republican Party of New Mexico Files Formal Federal Elections Complain Against Independent Source PAC

The Republican Party of New Mexico today filed a formal complaint with the Federal Elections Commission against the union-funded Super-PAC "Independent Source PAC," which is run by Bill Richardson's private investigator, Michael Corwin. ISPAC is funded entirely by a national labor union, who contributed $190,000 to the PAC.  ISPAC is already under federal investigation by the FEC for failing to file proper disclosure reports, among other violations. (see:http://gopnm.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f6cc43c8fe9e15c9653372258&id=f9e65a8744&e=11d8f6ea04914/12330003914/12330003914.pdf#navpanes=0
 RPNM's complaint alleges several more clear violations of federal law, including:
  • ISPAC is  committing fraud by stating to the FEC that it is making independent expenditures to promote President Obama, when the clear purpose of its expenditures and commercials is to smear Republican elected officials and candidates at the state and local level, and on issues that have nothing to do with the Presidential campaign, such as the law to repeal driver's licenses for illegal immigrants.
  • ISPAC committed the fraud in order to avoid New Mexico state laws, which places limits on PACs engaged in these activities at the state level.
  • ISPAC has illegally failed to file numerous required disclosure reports with the Federal Elections Commission.
  • ISPAC's commercials break federal law by failing to make proper disclosures to the public.
"Michael Corwin has picked up where his former client Bill Richardson left off — skirting laws to illegally funnel money into campaigns," said Republican Party of New Mexico spokesman Annaliese Wiederspahn. "Corwin's activities have nothing to do with the presidential campaign and everything to do with smearing Republicans at the state and local level on issues like driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, and ending social promotion in education." 
Wiederspahn noted that this isn't the first time Corwin has been accused of breaking federal election law. In 2010, Corwin created a website littered with falsehoods against a congressional candidate that many felt was an anti-Catholic smear. The campaign Corwin had been working for immediately disowned the website and claimed Corwin had gone rogue. However, it was later discovered that funds from the campaign had been funneled through a media consultant to pay Corwin and it was alleged that payment was for the research and creation of the website. "This is a shady group that is blatantly breaking federal law and has demonstrated through their actions that they have absolutely no credibility," said Wiederspahn.
Read Formal Complaint Here


New Mexico Attorney General takes on New Mexico Gas Company, defends customers

Gary King
Farmington Daily TimesNew Mexico Attorney General Gary King filed a petition Wednesday asking the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission to stop New Mexico Gas Company from cutting service to 71 customers in San Juan County. The petition says that New Mexico Gas Company violated state law by not hosting abandonment hearings prior to informing customers that natural gas services were going to be canceled, said Phil Sisneros, the director of communications for the attorney general's office. "We want them to follow the law," he said.
In his letter, King asks the PRC to order the gas company not to stop services to the customers and to schedule the necessary abandonment hearings. Last month, New Mexico Gas Company told 71 customers in unincorporated parts of San Juan County the gas company was cutting service to them beginning Sept. 30. The notice prompted businesses and residents to contact the attorney generals office, San Juan County and other governmental agencies asking them to intervene. "That's great news," Jay Walden, the manager of Abe's Motel and Fly Shop, said of King's petition. "I was hoping some government intervention would happen." The fly fishing business in Navajo Dam was one business affected by the gas company's decision. The business operates a 60-room hotel, restaurant and fishing store, and has been in business for more than 50 years, Walden said. Read More News New Mexico


Pray for our leaders, for the future of our nation

Steve Pearce
Washington D.C. - Today, Congressman Steve Pearce released the following statement on the National Day of Prayer:
 “On the National Day of Prayer, we are reminded again how imperative it is to pray for our leaders, for guidance, and for the future of our nation,” said Pearce. “People are seeking truth, and it is time for people of faith to stand up and give voice to those truths. We are one nation under God, and we must act in faith and pray.” Congressman Pearce will be attending three National Day of Prayer events across New Mexico’s Second Congressional District.


Las Cruces area Stahmanns Farms closes mail-order business, to shutter stores

Las Cruces Sun-News If you wanted to buy a Stahmanns Farms gift basket or a can of mile chocolate pecans or roasted, salted pecans etc. as a Mother's Day gift, you might have to hurry. Stahmanns Farms has already closed its world-wide mail order business and removed its website. Now the company has announced that is it closing both of its stores - one at the Mesilla Plaza and the other, the original "Country Store" on Highway 28 in La Mesa. Starting today, Stahmanns is holding a sale of 25 percent to 40 percent off the products at its stores. The company, which dates back to 1932, reports that its shelling plant and wholesale business will continue. A call placed with the company has not yet been returned. Read More News New Mexico


NM Thieves Routinely Set Free

KRQE - Repeat criminals who burglarize homes, vehicles and businesses are slipping through the criminal justice system because of a gap in the law that forces prosecutors and judges to dismiss charges and let them go free, News 13 has learned. And as of now, very little can be done to keep them in jail. "They have a built-in get-out-jail-free card," Albuquerque Police Department Commander William Roseman told KRQE News 13. A man who appeared in court late last month is the perfect example. Terry Cooke, 43, is currently facing charges in a burglary case. It is the same charge he’s faced in more than a dozen separate cases since the year 2000, but the charges were dropped each and every time. The reason is always the same. Based on the analysis of medical professionals, judges have repeatedly found Cooke mentally incompetent to stand trial. "They let him go," Roseman said. "But they’re not putting him in a mental institution to try to keep him from committing these crimes."
According to legal experts, competence plays a key role in the criminal justice system. Defendants have to be able to understand the legal process and help their defense attorneys. If they’re found incompetent but are considered dangerous, a judge can send them to a mental facility for treatment. But if they’re not considered dangerous, like many burglars, the courts simply let them go. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Comparing Bush and Obama Speeches AFTER a Successful Capture of a Mass Murderer

News NM note (Spence) - We ran across this fascinating contrast in the use of personal pronouns to describe a successful capture at picklyman.
Consider George W. Bush’s speech after the capture of Saddam Hussein: “The success of yesterday's mission is a tribute to our men and women now serving in Iraq . The operation was based on the superb work of intelligence analysts who found the dictator’s footprints in a vast country. The operation was carried out with skill and precision by a brave fighting force. Our servicemen and women and our coalition allies have faced many dangers in the hunt for members of the fallen regime, and in their effort to bring hope and freedom to the Iraqi people. Their work continues, and so do the risks. Today, on behalf of the nation, I thank the members of our Armed Forces and I congratulate them.” Note that the only time President Bush used the personal pronoun “I” was to thank and congratulate others responsible.
Consider Barack Obama’s speech on Sunday, May 1, 2011: “And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as I continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network. Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by my intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan . And finally, last week, I determined that I had enough intelligence to take action, and I authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan .”
Note the lone reference to “we” in President Obama’s speech and judge for yourself how President Obama chose to frame the capture/killing of Osama bin Laden.


NM's Doctor Count Plagues State

Smart Money - For decades, the 65-plus crowd has flocked to Arizona hotspots like Scottsdale and Flagstaff. But with prices in these retiree-friendly markets soaring, a growing number of retirees are looking east to what some call the next Arizona: New Mexico.
What many retirees are finding is better deals, say experts: The median home in New Mexico costs just $150,000 and the cost of living is 5% lower than the national average. And for those retirees set on living in the Southwest, the state can be far less expensive than much of Arizona. Santa Fe -- though not exactly cheap at 18% above the national average -- has a lower cost of living than Scottsdale (29% above average) or Sedona (37% above average). Plus, retirees like that taxes in New Mexico are relatively low -- income tax tops out at 4.9% and real estate taxes are below average.
But retirees can't just plunk down anywhere. The state is one of the least populous in the country with just over two million people. Large chunks of land are virtually uninhabited. In these stretches, when you do hit a town, it's bound to be tiny and remote. Furthermore, 18.4% of the state's residents live below the poverty line, compared to 13.8% for the nation as a whole, and the number of doctors per resident in the state is significantly lower than the U.S. average (197 physicians per 100,000 population in New Mexico compared to 221 nationwide, according to Sperling's Best Places). Read full story here: News New Mexico