Chavez: Good Governance

Townhall - Every member of Congress takes an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic," but the newly elected 112th Congress will be the first in the nation's history to hear the text actually read aloud when the House convenes Jan. 5. The success of the tea party movement in the last election is the impetus behind the first public reading (the text has been inserted in the Congressional Record twice), and it sets the stage for the battles to be waged over the next two years.
Many of the conservative newcomers think of themselves first and foremost as constitutionalists, but they will face challenges when it comes time to put their principles into action. The incoming GOP House leadership has announced that it will adopt new rules requiring each piece of legislation to include a statement citing the specific constitutional provision authorizing Congress to enact the proposed law.
The motivation is a sound one -- Congress has increasingly expanded the areas over which it has tried to exercise control in recent years -- but the requirement doesn't go far enough. Instead of making proposed laws simpler and more easily understood, it could end up adding a new layer of legalese that will provide much fodder for debate. But it will not solve one of the most intractable problems of modern legislation: Too many laws enacted now are simply incomprehensible. Read full column here:


Richardson Donor Agrees to Restitution Settlement with New York

Steven Rattner
NewsNM note - Bill Richardson campaign donor Steven Rattner who also is the target of New Mexico Attorney General Gary King's very deliberate investigation into pay-to-play scandals involving the New Mexico State Investment Council, agreed to a large financial settlement with the state of New York over similar allegations in the Empire State.
Bloomberg - Steven Rattner, a co-founder of the private-equity firm Quadrangle Group LLC, will pay $10 million to settle kickback allegations involving New York’s pension fund, less than half of the $26 million state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo sought in a lawsuit. Rattner also agreed to be banned from appearing “in any capacity” before any public pension fund in the state for five years, the attorney general’s office said yesterday in an e- mailed statement. Cuomo, New York’s governor-elect, sought a lifetime ban from the securities industry. “I am gratified that we have been able to reach an agreement in this case, as it resolves the last major action of our multiyear investigation,” Cuomo said in the statement. Read full story here:

We Just Can't Wait to Hear the Answer

Bill Richardson
Apparently outgoing governor Bill Richardson has one last national publicity stunt planned before he drifts off into obscurity and irrelevance. It will be on ABC's Good Morning America this morning that finally, and once and for all, he will answer the question nobody in New Mexico cares about. We are talking about whether or not he will give a pardon to Billy the Kid. At News New Mexico, we will be sitting on the edges of our chairs waiting anxiously to hear what he decided. Nope, we don't care why New Mexico remains mired in a deep recession. We don't care why the Rail Runner is losing millions of taxpayer dollars each month. We don't care why Richardson made sure his appointees on the EIB enacted the only cap and tax bill in the nation. We don't care why the state budget deficit estimates ballooned by hundreds of millions right AFTER the November election.
The sad thing is, Richardson does not care what New Mexicans don't care about. On the last day of his regime, Richardson will continue to do what he loves to do.......keep his name out there in media world. And Richardson's final appearance on national television as governor will be a fitting end to an eight year period when New Mexico was mostly on the short end of his efforts to engage in substance-challenged grandstanding and shameless publicity stunting. Happy New Year to Susana Martinez. Martinez would be advised to bring extra mops and cleaning fluids to her swearing in ceremony. There is a big mess on aisle number one in Santa Fe and Martinez better have a heck of a cleaning crew to help her get the stains out.


Richardson's Ego - Dual Legacy

Bill Richardson - In his final days in office, Gov. Bill Richardson has made national news for going to North Korea to try to calm tensions, considering a pardon for Billy the Kid, and announcing that a blockbuster movie will be filmed primarily in New Mexico. While at least two of those are good (I’m with those who say considering a pardon for Billy the Kid is a waste of time), those things are all notable because they get people talking about… Bill Richardson. read full column here:

25 Democratic State Legislators Have Switched to GOP

From - GOPAC chairman Frank Donatelli just sent out a press release crowing that 25 Democratic legislators have now switched parties and become Republican. "We are pleased with the decision of these men and women to leave the Democratic Party and join with us.  They are adding to the ranks of Americans who want to put result-oriented ideas into action to get us moving in the right direction. Each of these legislators’ insight, experience, and commitment to common-sense, conservative policies will make our Party stronger," Donatelli said. Note that when Lousiana's Representative Noble Ellington switched parties a short time ago it actually gave Republicans control of the state legislature for the first time since the Reconstruction. Here's the full list of legislators that have switched: More here

New Black Panther Party Leader and Farrakhan Colluded with Ahmadinejad to Overthrow America

 Malik Zulu Shabazz
From On September 27, 2010, New Black Panther leader Malik Zulu Shabazz and Louis Farrakhan met with illegitimate Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to build an alliance, secure raw materials and overthrow America. In September is was reported that Louis Farrakhan met with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in New York City at the Warwick Hotel’s banquet hall. Shocking Audio here


Clinton Councils the Con

From -After a few afternoons with Slick Willy, Barack Obama managed to transform his image.  Call it learning from the master, as Obama morphed from Karl Marx-lite into Barry Goldwater/Padre Pio.  It appears that Obama's stunning conversion is directly related to political mentor Bill Clinton's advice.  Bill is extremely adept in the fine art of manipulative fakery: the ex-president could cry on command and was able to move to the right after the Republican Revolution of 1994, affording himself a second term in which to be publicly humiliated and impeached. Clinton must have counseled Obama that as long as taxes are cut, it is fine to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell and to sign a treaty that the Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said "expands [Russia's] forces, rather a lot, while the American side will have to cut its arms."  More here

Inspector General: IRS Audits Conducted Without Required Approval

From -IRS employees made decisions to survey tax returns with Abusive Tax Avoidance Transaction (ATAT) issues without proper approval. From a statistical sample of 311 surveyed tax returns, TIGTA determined that 246 required the Planning and Special Programs function to concur with the group manager’s decision to survey the tax return. However, group managers did not follow guidelines and surveyed 238 (97%) tax returns without approval from the Planning and Special Programs function. Additionally, in 88 instances, TIGTA could not determine why the tax returns were surveyed because justification was not included in the case files or did not support the decisions to survey the tax returns  More here

School Officials Destroy Girl's College Plans Over Knife Mix-up

From -Suspended for the school year and charged with misdemeanor possession of a weapon on school grounds. And by “weapon,” I of course mean … a paring knife. Just one question: Is it true? Smithwick said personnel found the knife while searching the belongings of several students, possibly looking for drugs. She said the lunchbox really belonged to her father, Joe Smithwick, who packs a paring knife to slice his apple. He and his daughter have matching lunchboxes…Lee County Schools Superintendent Jeff Moss said in a statement on Wednesday that the 3-inch-long knife was found in the teen’s purse, not her lunchbox. The search was conducted on Oct. 20 after a faculty member at the school discovered a student on campus with marijuana…  More here

Progressive Satire: David Corn Makes 2011 Predictions

David Corn
Politics Daily - It's end-of-year time, and that means journalists and pundits, looking to survive the news dead-zone of the holiday season, toss out the easy-to-compile Top 10 lists. The Top 10 political events of the year. The Top 10 quotes of the year. The Top 10 campaign ads of the year. And so on. Well, anyone can use Google to assemble such a feature. I'm going to do a little more and offer you a list of the Top 10 political moments of the coming year. After all, in the world of punditing, it is never too early to predict what will be. As for 2012 . . . well, you'll just have to wait until this time next year. Read full column here:

Stossel: Stop Helping Us!

John Stossel
Townhall - Last year, Congress passed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act. It was supposed to really end the alleged abuses perpetrated by the credit card companies. The law forbids some penalties and interest-rate increases on existing balances. It is one of President Obama's proudest achievements. "Enough's enough," he said. "It's time for strong, reliable protection for our consumers." Reform, he said, would not come at the expense of honest businesses. "Unless your business model depends on cutting corners or bilking your customers, you've got nothing to fear." Finally! Protection! A new bureaucracy will stop greedy credit card companies from unfairly penalizing you. And it won't threaten the credit business. Yippie! How has it worked out? Read full column here:

NY Public Employee Union Bosses Implicated in Deaths

NYPost - Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts -- a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned. Miles of roads stretching from as north as Whitestone, Queens, to the south shore of Staten Island still remained treacherously unplowed last night because of the shameless job action, several sources and a city lawmaker said, which was over a raft of demotions, attrition and budget cuts. "They sent a message to the rest of the city that these particular labor issues are more important," said City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens), who was visited yesterday by a group of guilt-ridden sanitation workers who confessed the shameless plot. Read full story here:

Two Wishes for Education in New Mexico

Jim Spence
We have a couple of simple suggestions for New Mexico's incoming Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera. First, from the earliest stages of education about ½ of all students do not read on grade level. This is a deal killer for successful education. No widespread improvement in academic achievement will ever be possible in New Mexico or anywhere else until the reading aptitude of the vast majority of students is aligned with the textbooks they are issued each year. Simply put, as students move through the system, being able to read at grade level has to be the number one priority.
Hanna Skandera
Second, we get the sense that the difficulties presented by a projected $400 million state budget deficit, and a trillion dollar plus federal budget deficit escape the attention of most young New Mexican adults. This inattention to a simple fundamental reality of prosperity suggests a chronic shortcoming in our EDUCATION system. Grasping the fact that we live in competitive world should not be OPTIONAL. Governor-Elect Susana Martinez is now poised to take the oath of office and become Governor Martinez. When she does she will inherit a state where basic microeconomics and macroeconomics are not REQUIRED subjects in our school's curriculum. As a result, each year New Mexico sends tens of thousands of seniors off to college or the job market without even the most minimal understanding of basic finance, basic economics, and the fundamental principles of prosperity.
Ironically, virtually every citizen whether young or aging yearns for the fruits of prosperity. Yet all of us stand by and tolerate the structure of curriculum that does not require learning about the fundamental forces of economics. Perhaps our new education secretary will be the first to see to it that the vast majority of New Mexico's student population is reading on grade level, and learning the basics about the engine of prosperity.


N.M. fire marshal could close the UNM Basketball Arena

From - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Despite a $60 million facelift, the University of New Mexico's arena still isn't up to fire code, and a frustrated fire marshal says if something is not done soon, he may have to shut it down. Part of the problem is with the arena's ventilation system. If a fire broke out, State Fire Marshal John Standefer said there would be no way to clear the smoke so people could exit safely, and that's just one of the issues. "Unfortunately as we got into the season they did a miserable job of doing that," Standefer said. "We found oftentimes their safety people were not in place. They were late arriving or they left their post and went to other parts of the building. "We even found on two occasions that those individuals were asleep." All cooking at The Pit has been banned while crowds are present, and there must be extra fire extinguishers, more kitchen staff and additional crowd control present during any events at the arena. UNM officials agreed to voluntarily close The Pit if the ventilation system isn't in place by Jan. 31. If The Pit doesn't meet its deadline the Fire Marshal's Office could be forced to red-tag the building. The Pit would shut its doors. Read more

Time Mag Headline: "Holiday Blizzard, More Signs of Global Warming"

From — It’s become as much a winter tradition as eggnog at Christmas and champagne on New Year’s Eve the first major snowstorm of the year bringing out the climate-change skeptics. And the bona fide blizzard that has frozen much of the Northeast just a few days after winter officially began definitely qualifies as major. But while piles of snow blocking your driveway hardly conjure images of a dangerously warming world, it doesn’t mean that climate change is a myth. The World Meteorological Organization recently reported that 2010 is almost certainly going to be one of the three warmest years on record, while 2001 to 2010 is already the hottest decade in recorded history. Indeed, according to some scientists, all of these events may actually be connected. One theory is that a warmer Arctic may actually lead to colder and snowier winters in the northern mid-latitudes. Even as countries like Britain — suffering through the coldest December on record — deal with low temperatures and unusual snow, the Arctic has kept on warming, with Greenland and Arctic Canada experiencing the hottest year on record. Temperatures in that region have been 5.4°F to 7.2°F (3°C to 4°C) above normal in 2010. As a result, the Arctic sea-ice cover has continued to shrink; this September, the minimum summer sea-ice extent was more than 770,000 sq. mi. (2 million sq km) below the long-term average, and the third-smallest on record. Snow may be piling up in midtown Manhattan, but the Arctic is continuing its long-term meltdown More here

Pigford Reparations Hearing Announced in New Congress

Lamar Smith
From -The real question with the Pig Black Reparations is whether or not the public at large can understand the scam Obama pulled off, or see that it was done 100% for his political benefit.  Pigford was a massive bribe, in the billions of dollars, to blacks to support Obama and remain loyal Democrats.  It’s “Obama money” given to them as the reparations the Left tried to gin up in the 1970s and 80s. But, so far all material related to Pigford has been too dense for most regular, non-politics focused Americans to easily follow.  It’s like Watergate that way, only in a world where the media had no interest at all in reporting on Watergate, and instead worked overtime to protect Richard Nixon and make sure no one said a bad word about him or anything he did…calling all of his critics RAAACIST! whenever he broke the law and did anything unsavory. Obama, our black Nixon, looted the Treasury to hand out massive infusions of cash to his black supporters.  That’s what Pigford is all about. Will someone find the magic key that unlocks all this for the public? Video here

How Not to Help Blacks Find Employment:Anti-Background Checks

From -As of November 2010, the overall unemployment rate for whites was 9.2%, but for African Americans, it was 16.0%.  Among those aged 16 to 19, the difference (including both males and females) was significantly larger -- 20.9% for young whites versus 46.5% for young blacks.  In job-rich Manhattan, only one in four young (16-24) black males was employed in 2010.  What is especially remarkable about these statistics is their intractability.  Since the 1960s and the War on Poverty, Washington has spent billions -- everything from job training programs to tax incentives to anti-discrimination laws -- to eradicate this gap, all to no avail.  Given a half-century of failure, efforts to narrow differences have grown increasingly desperate.  The latest is the federal government's attempt to equalize how black and white job candidates appear to prospective employers even if they differ substantially -- just ban employers from checking credit and criminal histories so as not to "unreasonably" disadvantage black job applicants.  More here


111th Congress/White House Borrowed $10,429.64....................PER CITIZEN

( - The federal government has accumulated more new debt--$3.22 trillion ($3,220,103,625,307.29)—during the tenure of the 111th Congress than it did during the first 100 Congresses combined, according to official debt figures published by the U.S. Treasury. That equals $10,429.64 in new debt for each and every one of the 308,745,538 people counted in the United States by the 2010 Census. The total national debt of $13,858,529,371,601.09 (or $13.859 trillion), as recorded by the U.S. Treasury at the close of business on Dec. 22, now equals $44,886.57 for every man, woman and child in the United States. Read full story here:

Martinez Administration Taking Shape

Susana Martinez
Santa Fe New Mexican - While much of the public attention on the administration of Gov.-elect Susana Martinez has focused on her choices to fill Cabinet posts, she also has been assembling a group of behind-the-scenes people who are just as important to the inner workings of state government. So far, her executive team includes two former state lawmakers, a former legislative aide, two lawyers, a small-business vice president and a spokesman. Several worked on the Las Cruces Republican's successful campaign. However, some just met her during the job-interview process. The average age of the team members is 36.2. Read full story here:

Shuckins, The Rail Runner not running Saturday

From NewsNM - the very existence of the New Mexico Rail Runner is threatened by the New Mexico budget crisis since the Rail Runner runs in the red. So we are surprised that on a day when there will be lots of people going to Santa Fe (Saturday, January 1, 2011) for the Governor Susana Martinez celebration - none will go on the Rail Runner since the Rail Runner took the entire day off. What a great chance to show off the Rail Runner to the people. Instead, the management parked them. The schedule

Cover-up Begins in Border Agent Murder

Janet Napolitano
Examiner - Life in the field for Border Patrol Agents is often lonely work, as police officers most agents patrol alone in their vehicles as they travel remote territory off the beaten path. Agent Brian Terry was different; he served as a Marine in the Middle East during wartime, loved law enforcement and was selected for the elite BORTAC (the SWAT of the) U.S. Border Patrol. Arguably, Terry had a lot of experience under his three-year Border Patrol belt.
Brian Terry
He knew combat. He knew how to stay alive. Yet it would be a fateful night in the December desert that took his life – not a terrorist in a warzone, but a cartel smuggler/bandit in Arizona. The 40-year old agent was planning his new life out, marriage, and perhaps one day a family of his own, but in the blink of an eye it was snatched from Terry. A week has passed since the assassination and few details are being released. No trigger man, no justice. What there has been is plenty of Border Patrol management scrambling to cover the fact Agent Terry was armed with a weapon that shot bean bag rounds- something that was a contributing factor to his untimely murder. Department of Homeland Security is busy covering their tracks, while Janet Napolitano, DHS secretary, levels inaccurate statements like; “the border has never been more secure and there is not an increase of drug trafficking across the border,” – and agents continue to patrol undermanned and under-armed. Read full story here:


Accused Rapists and Their Friends

Julian Assange
The Nation - Here's what I've learned so far from the furor over the rape allegations against Julian Assange: when it comes to rape, the left still doesn't get it. The problem is not that many WikiLeaks supporters question the zeal with which Swedish authorities are pursuing Assange. Maybe it's true that an ordinary guy, faced with similar accusations, would have been allowed to slip away quietly once he left Sweden rather than become the subject of an Interpol red notice. (Maybe not, though. The eleven Swedes on Interpol's public red list include people wanted for fraud and other non-spectacular crimes.
Roman Polanski
Much has been made of the fact that only one of these, an alleged child molester, is charged with a sex crime. But the vast majority of wanted people are privately listed, so actually there's no way of knowing if Assange's case is exceptional.) Given that US politicians, from Joe Biden to Sarah Palin, have called for Assange's head, it isn't paranoid to suspect that he is being singled out in order to extradite him to the United States. But it could also be that Sweden is following up because prosecutors get mad when world-class celebrities flee the country and then thumb their noses at them—cf. Roman Polanski.
Keith Olbermann
What's disturbing is the way some WikiLeaks admirers have misrepresented the allegations, attacked the women and made light of date rape. It's been known for some time that Assange was accused of using his body weight to force sex on one woman, ignoring her demand that he use a condom, and penetrating the other woman while she slept, also without a condom despite her wishes; but writer after writer has treated the whole thing as a big joke. It was "sex by surprise"—some arcane Swedish thing—wrote Dave Lindorff on Truthout. Plus, Assange didn't tell the second woman about the first and didn't return her phone call. Hell hath no fury like a groupie scorned. Appearing on Keith Olbermann's show after he put up $20,000 to help bail Assange out of a British jail, Swedish rape law expert Michael Moore called the case "a bunch of hooey": "the condom broke during consensual sex."
Michael Moore

Olbermann made matters worse when he retweeted BiancaJagger's tweet linking to a post on Mark Crispin Miller's blog claiming that Assange accuser "Miss A" had "interacted" in Cuba with an anti-Castro women's group supported by terrorist and former CIA agent Luis Posada Carriles, and had published anti-Castro "diatribes" in a Swedish magazine. You would think the left would be more sensitive to charges of guilt by association—since when did marching in a demonstration mean you sign on to everything its supporters support? By those lights, everyone who went to an ANSWER-sponsored march against the Iraq War thinks North Korea is a Marxist paradise. Read full story here:


2010: The Year of Government Without Bounds

Carrie Lukas
Townhall - by Carrie Lukas - The Associated Press's poll of editors and news directors declared the British Petroleum oil spill 2010's biggest story. They're way off the mark. The oil spill's impact recedes from the Gulf of Mexico and from the American mind. What will live on from 2010 is the movement of Americans disgusted with a government that knows no bounds. The year began with the great health care debate, which was as much about process as policy. A majority of Americans rejected the underlying premise of the legislation—that more government intervention will make our health care system better. But even many sympathetic to government-run health care knew something was wrong with the process used to advance the legislation.
The dense, two thousand page bill was unread by Members of Congress. Americans saw Senators' support openly bought with favors, learned terms like “deem and pass” and “reconciliation,” and watched a determined Congress circumvent the normal legislative process. Constituents' concerns were dismissed, and the public told they'd learn what's in the legislation after it was passed.  And indeed the public is learning plenty. Health care costs will rise, not fall, as result of ObamaCare. While the Administration assured the public that the individual insurance mandate wasn't a tax, they now defend its constitutionality in court as justified by the government’ power to tax. The Department of Health and Human Services busily hands out waivers to new mandates, a process inevitably viewed as political, confirming for the public that there will always be one set of rules for the politically connected and another for the rest of us. Read full column here:

Sowell: End Run Around Constitution

Thomas Sowell
Townhall - The Constitution of the United States begins with the words "We the people." But neither the Constitution nor "we the people" will mean anything if politicians and judges can continue to do end runs around both. Bills passed too fast for anyone to read them are blatant examples of these end runs. But last week, another of these end runs appeared in a different institution when the medical "end of life consultations" rejected by Congress were quietly enacted through bureaucratic fiat by administrators of Medicare.
Although Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Senator Jay Rockefeller had led an effort by a group of fellow Democrats in Congress to pass Section 1233 of pending Medicare legislation, which would have paid doctors to include "end of life" counselling in their patients' physical checkups, the Congress as a whole voted to delete that provision. Read full column here:


Williams: Airlines Worse Than Ever

Armstrong Williams
Townhall - Considering how much I travel abroad and domestically constantly, I'm actually surprised how much I hate and resent the thought of flying. It’s not the fear of heights, or the turbulence, or even the perpetual fear of a terrorist attack. No, the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of airline carriers. Also, the utter agony and different standards for every airport of what can and can't pass through security screening is baffling. Think about it. Every major industry today is progressing. Auto manufacturers are building cars with better fuel economies, more room, more horsepower and with fewer emissions. The same holds true for consumer electronics, power companies, phone carriers, freight rail, and trucking. Even the Postal Service seems to be trending in the right direction. Except the airlines. Read full column here:

One More Fast One From Richardson

Bill Richardson
Capitol Report New Mexico - More tension between the outgoing Richardson administration and the incoming Martinez administration. On Monday (Dec. 27), the state Supreme Court granted departing Department of Public Safety boss John Denko the authority to move the state’s DNA lab from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. Denko says it will save the state $400,000 a year. Susana Martinez released this statement upon hearing the news:
Susana Martinez
“It is politics at its worst to move the DNA lab to Santa Fe in the final hours of the current administration only to move it back to Albuquerque on Monday, which is exactly what will happen. Instead, we should be putting victims and justice first. The move is opposed by both Republicans and Democrats, along with victims’ advocates and law enforcement. I will not be bullied into doing anything that will jeopardize cases and justice for New Mexico victims.” Read full story here:

BCS and NCAA Blind Side Everyone

Michael Oher
If you have not seen the film “Blind Side,” do yourself a favor and buy a copy of the DVD for your collection. We watched “Blind Side” again this weekend. It is a heart warming feel-good family story. The great thing about Blind Side is it is a true story. The bad thing about the film is that near the end of it we are given valuable insight into the self-righteous NCAA and the potential for catastrophic consequences as a result of its so-called policing efforts. Blind Side teaches us many important lessons. One of those lessons is that the NCAA is an organization without a soul, because the NCAA might well have destroyed all the good that came to the life of Michael Oher if it had its way. Fortunately for Michael Oher, there was just too much family love involved for the hypocrisy of the NCAA to kill.
In the sports news over the weekend it was reported that several Ohio State University football players including quarterback Terrelle Pryor got in trouble for selling off some of their “gear” for a few bucks. No doubt when the news reached the NCAA the executives were “deeply concerned.” It would seem that the only thing America’s gigantic industry known as NCAA college football cannot muster any concern for is…….the many creative ways in which young players are used and discarded by the system. Read full story:


US Census: Above Average NM Growth

From The U.S. population grew 9.7 percent in the past decade to more than 308.7 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which released the first batch of 2010 census data Tuesday. The U.S. resident population represents the total number of people in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. New Mexico grew 13.2 percent to 2,059,179 residents. The rate is above the national average of 9.7 percent growth. More here


EPA Proposes Emission Control for NM Coal Plant

From The EPA said the plant, which is more than 30 years old, could reduce nitrogen oxides through selective catalytic reduction or other similar technology. It said selective catalytic reduction is a cost-effective technology that will bring about the greatest improvements in the region that's home to several national parks and monuments. The federal agency contends the plant has not updated pollution controls to meet current air quality goals of the Clean Air Act's Regional Haze program. San Juan Generating Station, New Mexico's single largest source of electricity, would have three years to install the controls. Public Service Company of New Mexico, the largest owner in the 1,800-megawatt plant, said that likely would cost $1 billion or more, and expressed concern about the impact on customers. More here

Wilderness Areas Face Criticism From Border Security Advocates

From Reporting from the Potrillo Mountains Wilderness — A new front has opened in the centuries-old battle over preserving federal lands in the West, with some advocates of a tighter border arguing that designating some lands as wilderness — meaning they are so precious that no mechanized vehicle can enter — hinders border security. The U.S. Border Patrol and other law enforcement agencies can take vehicles into wilderness areas while chasing lawbreakers. But to patrol the lands by vehicle, plant sensors or build operating bases, they must get permission from the federal agency controlling the region. Some retired agents say they were told by managers of wilderness areas that they could not use helicopters to pick up injured migrants, or that they could patrol only on horseback. More here


Obama Still Dreams of Tax Increases

Federal Government
Bloomberg - Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, said the administration will work over the next two years to end tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that were included in broader tax legislation passed this month. Obama, in a compromise with Senate Republicans, agreed to a two-year extension of tax reductions for family income above $250,000 coupled with an extension of unemployment benefits. Jarrett said the issue will come up again before the 2012 presidential elections. “That’s something he is willing to fight for,” she said in an interview taped for broadcast on NBC’s “Meet the Press” today. “He is going to fight very hard when those two-year extensions expire” to end the breaks for top earners. Read full story here:

The Cancun Climate Con

Townhall - by Duggan Flanikan - As conference delegates shivered in Cancun during its coldest weather in 100 years, power-hungry elitists labored behind the scenes to implement the real goal of this “global warming” summit, this sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-16), this clever political con job. That the Cancun summit was never a climate conference at all has become increasingly obvious. Even before it began, IPCC Working Group III co-chair Ottmar Edenhofer said, COP-16 is actually “one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War…. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy.” In fact, it has “almost nothing to do with the environmental policy.” Its real purpose “is redistributing the world's wealth and natural resources.” A few days later, IPCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres told conference attendees, “The world is looking for new answers to the political, economic and social challenges which all countries face.” That the “new answers” focused primarily on how much more money and technology developed nations “owe” poor countries further affirmed the proceedings’ true nature. Read full column here:

FACT: One of the Coldest Decembers in History

Investors Business Daily - Climate: Nothing makes fools of more people than trying to predict the weather. Whether in Los Angeles or London, recent predictions have gone crazily awry. Global warming? How about mini ice age? The sight of confused and angry travelers stuck in airports across Europe because of an arctic freeze that has settled across the continent isn't funny.
Sadly, they've been told for more than a decade now that such a thing was an impossibility — that global warming was inevitable, and couldn't be reversed. This is a big problem for those who see human-caused global warming as an irreversible result of the Industrial Revolution's reliance on carbon-based fuels. Based on global warming theory — and according to official weather forecasts made earlier in the year — this winter should be warm and dry. It's anything but. Ice and snow cover vast parts of both Europe and North America, in one of the coldest Decembers in history. Read full column here:

Time Wasting - Dumb Priorities

The recent re-visiting of the debate on the possibility of pardoning Billy the Kid is a symptom of a huge problem. Apparently, prioritizing in New Mexico and in the U.S. is a tad on the tedious side. There is certainly nothing wrong with being a history buff. And there is also nothing wrong with reading stories about Billy the Kid. However, for real world problem solvers, these silly distractions expose New Mexico's elected officials, most particularly their ignoring of the fact that the state is broke and struggling with critical budgeting decisions. It became clear many months ago that not nearly enough discussions took place concerning what steps the governor and legislature might take to NOT SPEND $400 million the state did not have. And in the wake of the state's biggest looming budget crisis in memory, elected officials that still think expending any energy whatsoever to consider pardoning or not pardoning what Billy the Kid did 129 years ago are woefully misguided. Why does this topic, of all topics, keep coming up? The answer seems clear. Balancing the state budget through prioritization and choice making is boring, especially when compared to debating "Billy" or making the world safe from North Korea......again. Is it time for a change? Hmmmmm. Let me think.