NM farmers, ranchers to receive drought assistance

New Mexico Business Weekly In the face of historic drought conditions, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is taking steps to help crop and livestock producers across New Mexico. New Mexico will receive $628,588 from the USDA’s National Resources Conservation Service for prescribed grazing, livestock watering facilities and water conservation practices. In addition, the USDA will transfer $14 million into its Emergency Conservation Program for eligible farmers and ranchers in drought-impacted states. The ECP is available for assistance in moving water to livestock in need, emergency forage for livestock and efforts to rehabilitate lands severely impacted by the drought. “Throughout New Mexico, we have been hearing from farmers and ranchers on the terrible conditions they face due to fires and drought,” U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM, said in a news release. Udall said farmers are suffering from depleted crops due to lack of moisture. He added that ranchers are having to rely on feed, causing production costs to skyrocket and forcing them to reduce their herds. Farmers and ranchers in all 33 of New Mexico’s counties are eligible for the federal assistance. Read More News New Mexico


‘Fast and Furious’ Not What You Think

Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla - Photo by MSNBC
From The Blaze.com - A high-ranking Mexican drug cartel operative currently in U.S. custody is making startling allegations that the failed federal gun-walking operation known as “Fast and Furious” wasn’t about tracking guns, it was about supplying them as part of an elaborate agreement between the U.S. government and Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa Cartel to take down rival cartels. The explosive allegations are being made by Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, known as the Sinaloa Cartel’s “logistics coordinator.” He was extradited to the Chicago last year to face federal drug charges. Zambada-Niebla claims that under a “divide and conquer” strategy, the U.S. helped finance and arm the Sinaloa Cartel through Fast and Furious in exchange for information allowing the DEA, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other federal agencies to take down rival drug cartels. The Sinaloa Cartel was allegedly permitted to traffic massive amounts of drugs across the U.S. border from 2004 to 2009  during both Fast and Furious and Bush-era gunrunning operations as long as the intel kept coming. This pending court case against Zambada-Niebla is being closely monitored by members of Congress, who expect potential legal ramifications if any of his claims are substantiated. The trial was delayed but is now scheduled to begin on Oct. 9. Zambada-Niebla is reportedly a close associate of Sinaloa Cartel kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and the son of Ismael “Mayo” Zambada-Garcia, both of whom remain fugitives, likely because of the deal made with the DEA, Read more

Swickard: Forget time for students

Commentary by Michael Swickard, Ph.D. - Three related questions about the academic skills: First, if we know that allowing academic skills to go unused typically causes said skills to atrophy, then why do we have summer vacations in our public schools? Obviously, three months of not using academic skills does result in some of their loss.  Secondly, why do students go for long periods of time during the school year without using all of their essential skills? Thirdly, why is there the notion that after high school graduation people do not have to use their academic skills to be able to retain them? Why indeed. It is my contention that the reason some high school graduates cannot read, write coherently or do math to an adequate level is not because they have not been taught these skills. Rather, students have allowed these academic skills to degenerate.  The students are victims of “forget time,” the gap between being able to use a skill and the subsequent loss of the skill. The measure of forget time presumes that if a skill is not used in a certain amount of time it will be lost. Naturally forget time is not the same for every student, some lose their skills in days, some in months. Importantly, everyone on Planet Earth will lose their skills if enough time passes without the skills being used. Read column


Red-light camera challenge goes to federal court

Las Cruces Sun-NewsThe question of whether enforcement of the city's red-light cameras violate due process protections may be decided in federal court. A lawsuit originally filed in state court two years ago by Avallone Mechanical Co. has been moved to U.S. District Court in Las Cruces. The city requested the change because the plaintiff's arguments against the city's Safe Traffic Operations Program, or STOP ordinance, deal with constitutional issues of due process and civil rights. William Babington, the city's deputy attorney, said the case is now in the pre-discovery phase. He declined to address the legal arguments, adding that he does not comment on pending litigation. In court filings, the city defends the STOP ordinance, otherwise known as the red-light cameras, by saying it complies with state and federal requirements for due process. The plaintiffs say the ordinance violates constitutional rights by allowing "hearsay evidence" — the photos taken from the red light cameras — against motorists who are cited for running red lights in Las Cruces, according to court documents. Currently, when someone is cited by the STOP ordinance for running a red light — which carries a fine of up to $100 — they can have a hearing to appeal the citation. Read More News New Mexico


30 Days in Jail for Collecting Rainwater on His Property

From Opposing Views.com - By Michael Allen - In Eagle Point, Oregon, Gary Harrington was sentenced to 30 days in jail and over $1,500 in fines because he had three reservoirs on his property to collect and use rainwater. Harrington plans to appeal his conviction on nine misdemeanor charges, which were made based on a 1925 law for having what state water managers called “three illegal reservoirs” on his property, and for filling the reservoirs with rainwater and snow runoff. Harrington told CNSNews.com “The government is bullying. They’ve just gotten to be big bullies and if you just lay over and die and give up, that just makes them bigger bullies. So, we as Americans, we need to stand on our constitutional rights, on our rights as citizens and hang tough. This is a good country, we’ll prevail." According to Oregon water laws, all water is publicly owned. Therefore, anyone who wants to store any type of water on their property must first obtain a permit from state water managers. Though the state Water Resources Department initially approved Harrington's permits in 2003, the state, and a state court, ultimately reversed the decision. Harrington said: “They issued me my permits. I had my permits in hand and they retracted them just arbitrarily, basically. They took them back and said ‘No, you can’t have them,’ so I’ve been fighting it ever since." Read more

Democratic candidates pitch DREAM Act for platform

Martin Heinrich 
Miami HeraldIn an appeal to Latino voters, three Senate candidates in the Southwest are calling on delegates to the Democratic National Convention to make support of a bill to help young illegal immigrants gain citizenship a part of the party platform. Rep. Martin Heinrich, the Democratic nominee for a Senate seat from New Mexico, is leading the effort and said that formally supporting the immigration proposal would provide voters with a clear choice on an issue that many care deeply about. "I think the time has come for the DREAM Act to be part of our identity as a party," Heinrich said in a telephone interview. Democratic candidate Shelley Berkley in Nevada said she supports the campaign, and a spokesman for Richard Carmona in Arizona said he does as well. The DREAM Act would give young illegal immigrants who attend college or serve in the military a path to citizenship. The Homeland Security Department, under a directive from President Barack Obama, has stopped deporting illegal immigrants who would have qualified for the DREAM Act, but that policy does not provide a path to citizenship. The administration said the change in policy will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants. The Democratic-led House approved the DREAM Act - the acronym stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors - in December 2010, but Republicans blocked it in the Senate. While the bill has not been approved by either the House or the Senate since, Obama has supported it as part of his immigration reform efforts. Democratic officials believe that the growing Hispanic population in key battleground states such as New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada gives those who embrace the DREAM Act a competitive edge in this fall's elections. A Pew Hispanic Center survey conducted in late 2011 found that more than 9 in 10 Hispanics support the DREAM Act. Read More News New Mexico 

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/09/2941479/democratic-candidates-pitch-dream.html#storylink=cp


Incredible Schwartz - KOB Interview with Greg Campbell

Greg Campbell
Gadi Schwartz from KOB's 4 On Your Side was able to secure an interview with the man who faked and allegedly submitted an audit. You can watch the interview with disgraced former New Mexico Finance Authority controller Greg Campbell here: News New Mexico