12th Largest State in the Union is now the "State of Disability" with Full Benefits

CNS - The number of workers taking federal disability insurance payments hit yet another record in July, increasing to 8,753,935 during the month from the previous record of 8,733,461 set in June, according to newly released data from the Social Security Administration.
The 8,753,935 workers who took federal disability insurance payments in July exceeded the population of 39 of the 50 states. Only 11 states—California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina and New Jersey—had more people in them than the number of workers on the federal disability insurance rolls in July.
Virginia, the twelfth most-populous state, had 8,096,604 people in 2011, according to the latest Census Bureau estimate. That would make Virginia’s population about 657,331 less than the number of workers who took federal disability insurance payments in July. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Forced Union States are Floundering

Commentary by Jim Spence - Carter Bundy once a regular guest on our radio show is a union activist. Earlier today he wrote a commentary piece that was posted at NMPolitics. You can read it here: News New Mexico
The problem with the Bundy column is it cites unemployment statistics that are totally false. The states with the highest unemployment rates are as follows according the U.S. Department of Labor website’s most recent figures here: http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm/ Nevada 11.6, Rhode Island 10.9, California,10.7, New Jersey 9.6, South Carolina 9.4, North Carolina 9.4, Georgia 9, New York 8.9, Mississippi 8.8, Illinois 8.7, Florida 8.6, Michigan 8.6.
Bundy says eight of the top twelve are right-to-work states. He is either completely uninformed or intentionally misleading his readers. The split is exactly 6-6 between “right-to-work” and forced union states. You can obtain the list of right to work states at this website: http://www.nrtw.org/rtws.htm
What is particularly instructive is the list of the thirteen states with the LOWEST unemployment rates in the nation on the Labor Department site. Of those thirteen, nine of the twenty-two states with right to work laws made the list.
Bundy goes on to cite higher wages in forced union states as evidence of why you can obtain a better life if you simply live in a state where you might be forced to join a union. Again, he is completely misleading the reader. Reality says that inflated wages don’t go far in these forced union states thanks to the complete lack of affordability of housing. In forced union states like California, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut housing is out of reach for a huge percentage of the population. Citing inflated wage numbers doesn’t make the cost of living any more bearable in those states. In part this explains why forced union states are losing population (and congressional seats) steadily to right-to-work states. Or put more simply, people are getting the hell out of those places. 
Bundy cites the Economic Policy Institute as his source. This is an anti-business Washington D.C. based progressive propaganda machine. You can learn more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_Policy_Institute Facts are very stubborn things....and they do matter.


New Mexico has highest number of cleft lips and palates

Daily TimesWhen Rena Mae Johnson's son was born, she had the feeling that no mother wants to feel. "I thought I did something wrong," said Johnson. Her son had a cleft lip and palate, separate birth defects that affect a child's upper lip or roof of their mouth, or both. The lip or roof of the mouth appeared incomplete because of tissue that never came together during her son's development in the womb. "I was thinking ... This is not right. This is my son," said Johnson. But more than 14 years later, Johnson's son, Landes Harvey, has little more than a scarred lip and a slight speech impediment — a result of years of plastic surgery and speech therapy. "I couldn't really hear him when he used to speak. Now I can," said Johnson. Harvey, now a confident, video-game loving teenager, was just one of about 30 patients that attended the New Mexico Cleft Palate Center clinic in Shiprock on Friday. The clinic, one of many statewide, aims to reduce the number of children suffering the complications of cleft lips and palates in New Mexico, which has the highest number of reported cleft lips and palates reported nationwide. Read More News New Mexico


New NM sheriffs' group aims to 'professionalize'

SFGate.comThey are known for going head-to-head with outlaws like Billy the Kid and chasing fugitives through mountainous terrain once ruled by Apache leader Geronimo. New Mexico sheriffs and their deputies have long served as the only law enforcement agents in some parts of the state's vast territory. Their exploits over the years and have given rise to tales of heroism and Old West myths that are often shadowed with back stories of political corruption and questionable practices. But as deadly Mexican drug cartels move into isolated regions of the state and gangs grow in small cities like Roswell and Farmington, the sheriffs say it's time that their departments shed old romantic images along with nagging allegations of corruption and abuse. They say it is time to modernize crime fighting in New Mexico. In April, sheriffs from New Mexico's 33 counties organized themselves under a new group aimed at offering deputies advanced training and building a lobbying force to help change state laws and help beef up sheriffs' departments. The group, the New Mexico Sheriffs' Association, promises to educate sheriffs on budget matters and develop a pipeline for developing future law enforcement leaders. They also are inviting U.S. Homeland Security Investigations agents to help their small departments in various drug trafficking and political corruption cases. Read More News New Mexico


Obama Captures the Hugo Chavez Endorsement

AP - Venezuela's Hugo Chavez has signaled a preference in the U.S. presidential campaign by comparing Mitt Romney to his own challenger.
Chavez, who is up for re-election a month before U.S. President Barack Obama, has in recent weeks expressed a clear preference for the man currently in the White House.
In a campaign speech Saturday night, Chavez equated the agenda of his challenger, Henrique Capriles, with that of Romney, saying both men represent the callously selfish capitalist elite. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Teachers Union Hates Test Scores Benchmarks

KOAT - Albuquerque Public Schools and the teachers' union say they have a fair way to evaluate educators. A pilot program in APS evaluates teachers based on in-class observation by the principal, allows teachers to set individual goals for their students, relies little on test scores and even polls the students themselves. "I absolutely believe it's better than (the state's evaluation system.) It’s better than it in the way that is fairer,” APS Chief Academic Officer Linda Sink said. The district said the questions are specific and tailored to the teacher and the subject they teach. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Entrepreneurs Like Steve Jobs Build Prosperity – Not Politicians

Star Parker
Townhall - Commentary by Star Parker Fifteen years ago, in 1997, when Steve Jobs returned as CEO of Apple, the company was worth less than $3 billion dollars, about a half a percent of what it is worth today. Estimates then were that Apple was several months away from bankruptcy.
John Lilly, a former Apple employee, now a silicon valley venture capitalist, blogged memories, after Jobs’ death, about a talk that Jobs gave to employees shortly after his return. Apple was losing money, its stock was languishing, there were rumors about the company being acquired, and Jobs was asked about a suggestion that the company should just shut down.
He concluded his response with “If you want to make Apple great again, let’s get going. If not, get the hell out.” The blogger continues, “I think it’s not an overstatement to say that just about everyone in the room loved him at that point, would have followed him off a cliff if that’s where he led.”
In the following year, according to the account in Walter Isaacson’s recent book about Jobs, 3000 employees were laid off and Jobs reviewed Apple’s entire product line, pruning it from fifteen products to four. Now Apple is the most valuable company in the world with innovative products no one would have dreamed of in 1997. In September 1997, Apple had 8437 full time employees. Today, according to its website, Apple has 70,000 employees worldwide, of which 47,000 are in the U.S. The company estimates that 514,000 jobs have been created as result of employment at Apple, at companies supported by Apple, and the economy created by Apple products. 
Steve Jobs
Suppose, when Jobs revamped and shrunk Apple’s product line, he needed employees to vote in order to get rid of each product? It, of course, would have been impossible. But this is what we have when government goes where it doesn’t belong - getting into businesses like providing retirement services, health care, housing, and education. Even if programs work for a while, times inevitably change. Businesses can adjust. Government can’t. Changing Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public education, and government housing policy today is about politics, not good economic decisions.
So we’re stuck pouring billions we don’t have into programs that don’t work. Capitalism is not about being “on your own” as we hear so often from liberals. It’s about entrepreneurs, like Steve Jobs, being free to create prosperity by serving their fellow citizens with innovative ideas and products. And it’s about government doing its proper job – protecting life and property – so this can happen. Read full column here: News New Mexico

Noon: Greenies War on Green Chile

Marita Noon
Townhall - Commentary by Marita Noon - New Mexico’s best known export, the green chile, is being threatened by the “greens.” It is not just the green chile habitat that is in danger, it is also the cultures and customs of generations of New Mexicans—farmers and ranchers. The famous chiles are grown exclusively in Hatch, NM. People come from far and wide to buy bushels of fresh green chiles, have them roasted, and take them home to freeze for use throughout the year. In New Mexico, McDonald's even serves a green chile cheeseburger.
This past week, a vote was cast that could signal the end of a multi-generational battle to save the land.
The original fight started in the 1940s with the first of the modern land grabs. Hundreds of ranch families were evicted from the Tularosa Basin—an area that had been home to the Butterfield Trail and many Hollywood Westerns including the John Wayne classic Stage Coach. The families got there first and were “notoriously hard to uproot.” In the name of national defense, the seized land became Fort Bliss, McGregor Range, White Sands Missile Range, Holloman Air Force Base, San Andres National Wildlife Refuge, the Jornada Range, and the New Mexico State University Ranch. All of this adds up to 4.7 million acres that are generally off limits to the very people who pay the bills—the taxpayer.
In 1948, another wave of evictions impacted an additional 40 families. Again, they tried to halt the federal onslaught. At a public meeting, the feds reminded folks that this was for the “public good. The ranchers had to go.” Unprepared for the scope of the battle, these hard-working people were evicted and Washington took their land. Read full column here: News New Mexico

Private sector employee pay on rise in New Mexico cities

New Mexico Business WeeklyAccording to an On Numbers analysis of the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data, 13 of the 18 metropolitan and micropolitan areas in New Mexico saw gains in per-employee pay from 2009 to 2010, as well as overall growth in private sector payroll. The largest gains in per-employee pay by percentage were seen in Hobbs, which saw average salaries rise from $38,800 in 2009 to $41,300 in 2010, a 6.44 percent increase. Santa Fe came in just behind, with gains of 6.29 percent, ($35,000 in 2009 vs. $37,200 in 2010). Albuquerque, with an overall private sector payroll of $10,206,525,000, saw a slight increase between 2009 and 2010 in per employee pay of 0.83 percent, rising from $36,200 to 36,500. The only areas that saw a decrease in per-employee pay between 2009 and 2010 were Clovis, Portales, Ruidoso, Gallup and Espanola. Select New Mexico in the dropdown box below to see private sector payroll and per employee pay data comparing 2010 to 2009 for 18 metropolitan and micropolitan areas in the state. Click on the header of any column to re-sort the data, and click a second time to reverse the sort order. You can also select any other state to see how regions around the U.S. compare. Read More News New Mexico


Lawyers Fight for Spots at Public Trough, Rep's. Egolf and Maestas Start Pushing

Albququerque Journal - As the partisan feuding continues over how much lawyers should get paid for their redistricting work, Democrats contend that Gov. Susana Martinez and other GOP officials spent significantly more on attorneys than they disclosed to a judge.
Lawyers for Democratic legislators say an Inspection of Public Records Act request turned up $162,730 that was paid to a Washington, D.C., law firm but has not been reported to retired state District Judge James Hall.
Hall, who presided over trials to draw new boundaries for legislative, U.S. House and Public Regulation Commission districts, is in the process of deciding how much the lawyers for six groups of plaintiffs – Democrats, Republicans and Indian tribes – should be paid. Their billings total more than $3 million.
Martinez, Lt. Gov. John Sanchez and Secretary of State Dianna Duran are trying to persuade the judge to award the lawyers for Democrats and a group of tribes less than they’re asking for, calling their requests “excessive” and “shocking.”
Lawyers for Democratic Reps. Brian Egolf of Santa Fe and Antonio “Moe” Maestas of Albuquerque asked Hall last week to be allowed to file a supplemental brief. Read full story here (subscription required) News New Mexico

Fishing and Hunting License Fees Pay Bills, Environmentalists Want to Divert Game and Fish Funds to Endangered Species

Fly fisherman nets a brown trout on San Juan River
KRQE - Environmentalists are concerned that reorganizing the New Mexico Game and Fish Department could spell trouble for the state's nongame animals and programs aimed at conserving threatened and endangered species.
Not so, the agency says. A lightning rod for controversy, the department is again sitting at the center of a longstanding debate over its mission and how it balances conservation and the interests of hunters and anglers whose license fees pay for much of the department's work. Read full story here: News New Mexico


La Mesa Racetrack Developer Options Disappear

Trinidad Times - La Mesa Racetrack and Casino developer Michael Moldenhauer has decided not to ask the New Mexico Supreme Court to hear his appeal — rejected last month by the Court of Appeals — of the state Gaming Control Board’s decision to revoke La Mesa’s gaming license.
The deadline for La Mesa to ask the Supreme Court to hear the case passed last week without La Mesa filing a request.
Although Moldenhauer has decided against taking this appeal to the high court, he said in an e-mailed statement Monday, “we have not stopped our fight for Raton.” He said he is “hopeful of a positive outcome” in a separate appeal involving the racing license that was originally awarded to Moldenhauer in 2008, but was declared by the state Racing Commission to have expired at the end of 2010.
“If we are successful, we will then return to the Gaming Control Board and reapply for a new permit,” Moldenhauer said in the statement. “Therefore, it does not make sense to appeal this decision now while the Racing Commission appeal is still being considered. The Racing Commission appeal is our best way to return racing to Raton.”
Supreme Court officials indicated La Mesa could still make a request for the justices to consider the gaming-license appeal if the request is accompanied by a motion that would essentially ask that the deadline be waived. The court would then decide on whether to accept the motion and then whether to hear the case.
But Moldenhauer indicated going to the Supreme Court is not the best decision for La Mesa right now. “The matter that is relevant to the Racetrack in Raton is to maintain the rights to the last racetrack,” he said in his statement, reinforcing his belief that focusing on the racing-license appeal is key.
If it had chosen to, La Mesa had 30 days — from the time of the filing of the Court of Appeals decision that denied La Mesa’s appeal — to file a request that the Supreme Court hear the gaming-license case. The Court of Appeals decision was filed June 12.
The Court of Appeals found the gaming board acted properly in declaring as void Moldenhauer’s gaming license for his proposed racino in south Raton. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Poverty at 47 Year Highs, LBJ Wars Total Failure

Yahoo News - The ranks of America's poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net. Census figures for 2011 will be released this fall in the critical weeks ahead of the November elections. The Associated Press surveyed more than a dozen economists, think tanks and academics, both nonpartisan and those with known liberal or conservative leanings, and found a broad consensus: The official poverty rate will rise from 15.1 percent in 2010, climbing as high as 15.7 percent. Several predicted a more modest gain, but even a 0.1 percentage point increase would put poverty at the highest level since 1965. Read full story here: News New Mexico