Aggie Hoops Falls 74-72 To UTEP As Late Rally Falls Short Report
The New Mexico State men's basketball team's second half rally fell just short on Tuesday night as they lost 74-72 to rival UTEP. The Miners sweep the season series after winning 73-56 in El Paso one week ago.

The Aggies and Miners traded the lead back and forth in the first half until the 5:43 mark when Troy Gillenwater was called for a technical foul with the teams tied at 30. Randy Culpepper hit both free throws to give the Miners a 32-30 and they would not trail the remainder of the game. Just seconds later the Miners would get a steal by Randy Culpepper who was fouled hard by Abdoulaye N'doye as Culpepper attempted a dunk on the fast break. N'Doye's foul was called intentional giving the Miners two free throws and the ball which they turned into four points and a six point lead at 36-30 with 4:35 left in the half.

Randy Culpepper scored 25 of his 32 points in the first half including 14 straight and 16 of UTEP's final 20 points to send the Aggies into halftime trailing 40-35.

The Aggies would cut the deficit to three points on a Hernst Laroche layup with 54 seconds remaining. After Julyan Stone hit one of two free throws to put the Miners up by four points at 71-67, Laroche would again get a layup to cut the deficit to just two points at 71-69 with six seconds remaining. The Aggies would quickly foul Christian Polk who hit both free throws with five seconds left. Laroche would bury a three pointer with 1.2 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to one point. The Aggies would foul and with less than one second left in the game Randy Culpepper would hit one of two free throws to seal the Aggies' fate.

Female police chief killed, 18 bodies found near Texas border

From The San Antonio Headlines - by Jack Dennis -Mexican drug cartel hitmen have resorted to killing female police chiefs now. On Monday, November 29, 2010, suspected drug hitmen killed Hermila Garcia, the 36-year-old police chief of Meoqui in Chihuahua, Mexico, while she drove her SUV through the town. A few hours later Mexican soldiers found 18 bodies buried on a ranch near the town of Palomas, Mexico. These murders add to the list of more than 31,000 people killed in Mexico since Dec. 2006. The vast majority of the violence is in northern Mexico, along the Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California borders. Because so many policemen have been killed by the cartels, women have come forward this year to fill the slots vacated by the deaths and men abandoning the jobs. Even female students and housewives have becoming police chiefs in some of these towns. Read more

Cost of Green Power Makes Projects Tougher Sell

From the New York - By MATTHEW L. WALD and TOM ZELLER Jr. - Michael Polsky’s wind farm company was doing so well in 2008 that banks were happy to lend millions for his effort to light up America with clean electricity. But two years later, Mr. Polsky has a product he is hard-pressed to sell. His company, Invenergy, had a contract to sell power to a utility in Virginia, but state regulators rejected the deal, citing the recession and the lower prices of natural gas and other fossil fuels. “The ratepayers of Virginia must be protected from costs for renewable energy that are unreasonably high,” the regulators said. Wind power would have increased the monthly bill of a typical residential customer by 0.2 percent. Even as many politicians, environmentalists and consumers want renewable energy and reduced dependence on fossil fuels, a growing number of projects are being canceled or delayed because governments are unwilling to add even small amounts to consumers’ electricity bills. Read more

Earmark Ban Fails - It's Business as Usual

From - By a sizable - but dwindling - margin, the Senate on Tuesday voted in favor of allowing lawmakers to keep stocking bills with home-state projects like roads, grants to local police departments and clean-water projects. But with the House set to tumble into GOP hands and anti-earmark reinforcements coming to the Senate in January, the window seems to be closing on the practice. Tuesday's 39-56 tally rejected a GOP bid to ban the practice of loading spending bills with so-called earmarks - those parochial provisions that lawmakers deliver to their states - but it appears the curtain is coming down on the practice. Read whole story here:

Consequences of Lame Duck Sessions

Commentary by Rachel Pulaski - The Senate has proven to America that lame duck sessions should be banned. One controversial moratorium that was up for vote Tuesday was the earmark ban. This ban would stop elected officials from appropriating funds for special projects without approval from the executive branch. More importantly, it would stop some of the political games played between our elected officials. For instance, H.R. 847 the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act which guarantees healthcare to 9/11 responders was tossed around in congress for years lacking bi-partisan support mostly because of the large amount of earmarks. Instead of the Democrats passing the bill through a simple majority they demanded a two-thirds majority vote. Democrats decided to pull a “procedural gimmick “ and forced Republicans either to eat humble pie or to oppose the bill and be open to charges that they were abandoning the heroes of 9/11. The Senate had a chance to end this madness but instead they decided to vote against the two year ban on earmarks. Only 42 Republicans have Senate seats in the lame duck session and most of the anti-earmark Republicans will not take their seats until January so this vote may not come as a surprise to some. The moratorium on earmarks was included in SB 510 the Food Safety Modernization Act and the Senate voted in favor of this giant FDA power grab today. This atrocity could make sharing food from your own private garden a “national security threat”. This bill would also lead to a much larger, powerful and overgrown FDA. The roll call session is available here. Clearly lame duck sessions are for the self indulgent politicians to stuff their pork filled bellies. We as voters should never allow politicians who have been defeated at the polls to continue to raise taxes, set policy or spend money that the electorate has decided someone else should be doing.

Heath Haussamen: Obama Needs to Stand Up and Fight

From -
Heath Haussamen
The president promised in 2008 to lead Washington into becoming a functional government. It’s time for him to keep that promise. President Barack Obama’s top advisers have concluded that their party’s losses on Election Day were caused “in large part by their own failure to live up to expectations set during the 2008 campaign,” the Washington Post reported recently. That’s an understatement. Obama didn’t just set the bar high for himself high during the campaign – he nearly set himself up as the messiah. In his 2008 victory speech, Obama said his election was “the answer that led those who’ve been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.” “It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America,” Obama said. Two years later, the change he promised hasn’t come. Sure, Obama has signed some high-profile legislation into law, including the controversial health-care reform, a massive bailout, and Wall Street reform. But that’s not the change he promised in 2008. The promise was that, rather than being red and blue states, Obama would lead us to being simply the United States of America. Read full column here:

Hillary Has To Go

Hillary Clinton
From - A U.S. diplomat must possess patience, poise, and tact. He must also be attentive to cultural differences, a good observer, and proficient in several languages. When called upon, he must use his skills as a negotiator in the national interest. And, as the latest dump of WikiLeaks tells us, if the dip works for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he must also be prepared to spy on his fellow diplomats.
To be fair to Clinton, she isn't the first secretary of state to issue cables telling U.S. foreign service officers to spy on other diplomats. According to the leaked diplomatic cables, Condoleezza Rice likewise instructed State Department diplomats to collect such intelligence, and I wouldn't be surprised if previous secretaries of state encouraged if not instructed their diplomats to push information-collection all the way to intelligence-gathering. But what makes Clinton's sleuthing unique is the paper trail that documents her spying-on-their-diplomats-with-our-diplomat orders, a paper trail that is now being splashed around the world on the Web and printed in top newspapers.
No matter what sort of noises Clinton makes about how the disclosures are "an attack on America" and "the international community," as she did today, she's become the issue. She'll never be an effective negotiator with diplomats who refuse to forgive her exuberances, and even foreign diplomats who do forgive her will still regard her as the symbol of an overreaching United States. Diplomacy is about face, and the only way for other nations to save face will be to give them Clinton's scalp.
More here


FDA in Bed With Big Business

From - You probably remember the fanatical fear that gripped the nation these last few years in response to a few factories with tainted peanut butter. You may also remember the national panic when spinach was a killer stalking grocery stores across the country. These types of events are notorious for being blown out of proportion by the national media and being chaotic by virtue of bureaucratic over-involvement. While this may be remembered by many consumers as an annoyance, it is remembered far differently by the corporations that are subjected to massive regulation at the hands of bureaucrats from the FDA as well as dozens of state and local regulators across the country. More here


Massive Open Borders Entitlement Program

Michelle Malkin
From It’s no surprise to long-time readers of this blog that the pro-illegal immigration Wall Street Journal has come out in favor of the DREAM Act bailout. The WSJ editorial page has long crusaded for de facto and de jure amnesty — and I’ve exposed its deceptive campaigning on behalf of illegal aliensfor years. (See my deconstruction of a demagogic WSJ editorial page meeting attacking enforcement-first conservatives during the Bush shamnesty debacle.) does a terrific job dismantling the latest DREAM Act propaganda from the WSJ, which backs the latest massive amnesty entitlement program and Democrat voter recruitment drive masquerading as an education bill: Not only does the Wall Street Journal endorse a bill that would harm American citizens, they also mislead about the bill: Restrictionists dismiss the Dream Act as an amnesty that rewards people who entered the country illegally. But the bill targets individuals brought here by their parents as children. What is to be gained by holding otherwise law-abiding young people, who had no say in coming to this country, responsible for the illegal actions of others? The Dream Act also makes legal status contingent on school achievement and military service, the type of behavior that ought to be encouraged and rewarded. More here


US States and Canada Consider Cap and Trade

From  - California, New Mexico and 10 U.S. Northeastern states may try to create a North American carbon market on their own now that President Barack Obama has given up on cap-and-trade legislation that stalled in Congress. The emissions-trading system would be based on a planned carbon market in California, the most populous state, and an existing regional cap-and-trade program for power plants in the Northeast, according to state environmental officials. Three Canadian provinces have also shown interest in a cross-border carbon-trading system, the officials said. “The key is to have as large and as liquid a market as possible,” John Yap, British Columbia’s climate-change minister, said in a telephone interview. Under cap-and-trade, the government creates a market for pollution rights by issuing a limited number of carbon-dioxide permits, which companies can buy and sell. More here

Next on Wikileaks Hit Parade.....Bank of America?

From Bloomberg - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who told Forbes magazine that he’ll release documents from a U.S. bank next year, said in 2009 that his group had a hard drive from a Bank of America Corp. executive. “We are sitting on 5GB from Bank of America, one of the executive’s hard drives,” Assange said in the Oct. 9, 2009, interview with Computerworld magazine, referring to five gigabytes of data. “To have impact it needs to be easy for people to dive in and search and get something out of it.” WikiLeaks plans to release “either tens or hundreds of thousands of documents depending on how you define it,” Assange said in a Nov. 11 interview with Forbes, declining to identify the bank from which the documents came. He said the release would occur early next year and would include “some flagrant violations, unethical practices.” Read full story here:

Banks Resisting Fannie, Freddie Demands to Buy Back Mortgages

From Bloomberg - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are facing growing resistance as they attempt to push failed home loans off their books and onto the balance sheets of banks including Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. The two government-owned mortgage companies are enforcing contracts that require lenders to buy back loans that didn’t meet underwriting standards. At the end of September, the companies reported, banks hadn’t responded to $13 billion in buyback requests. A third of those were at least four months old and Freddie Mac has begun to assess penalties for the delays. Read full story here:

Consumer Confidence Climbs in November

From Bloomberg - Confidence among U.S. consumers rose in November to the highest level in five months and a gauge of business activity unexpectedly climbed, signaling the recovery is taking hold heading into 2011. The Conference Board’s sentiment index increased to 54.1, exceeding the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey, figures from the New York-based research group showed today. The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc. said its business gauge advanced to the highest since April. Read full story here:

1st Post Mid-Term Summit Today at White House

From the Washington Times - Nearly two years after a newly installed President Obama ended an argument with congressional Republicans with the simple line "I won," he goes back into a room with them on Tuesday having now lost, and badly. The White House says the agenda for the meeting is to try to find agreement on a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia and to work toward agreement on how to handle the Bush-era tax cuts, which are due to expire at the end of this year. But it will also be the first meeting since Mr. Obama endured what he called a "shellacking" at the polls, with his party losing more than 60 House seats and a half-dozen Senate seats. And all eyes will be on him to see how he handles having his coattails clipped. "My hope is that tomorrow's meeting will mark a first step towards a new and productive working relationship," Mr. Obama said Monday as he made a first gesture, expanding on a federal pay-freeze idea Republicans proposed earlier this year. "We now have a shared responsibility to deliver for the American people on the issues that define not only these times but our future, and I hope we can do that in a cooperative and serious way." Read full story here:

Obama Supports Bureaucrat Pay Freeze

From Washington Times - Calling it a starting point for a looming showdown on budget cuts, President Obama on Monday demanded a two-year pay freeze for federal civilian workers, aligning himself with congressional Republicans and against his labor union allies who warned that the freeze would "stick it" to the government work force. "The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require broad sacrifice, and that sacrifice must be shared by the employees of the federal government," Mr. Obama said, upping the ante on House Republicans, who had pushed earlier this year for a one-year freeze. Read full story here:

Showdown on Pelosi, Reed, Obama Tax Hikes

From Bloomberg - Congressional Democrats are ready to test Republican resolve on taxes this week by forcing showdown votes on their proposal to extend middle-class tax cuts. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will schedule a vote this week on legislation that would retain lower tax rates and increased credits that apply to the first $250,000 of a married couple’s gross income or $200,000 for a single person, said her assistant, Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen. The Senate will vote “by next week” on Democrats’ proposal to extend middle-income tax cuts, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus told reporters yesterday. “There should be an early vote on middle-income tax cuts” before the Senate considers alternatives on Bush-era tax cuts set to expire on Dec. 31, said Baucus, a Montana Democrat. The vote’s timing will depend on the rest of the Senate’s agenda, he said. Read full story here:

German Austerity of 2009 Paying off in 2010

Angela Merkel
From Bloomberg - German unemployment fell for a 17th month in November as business optimism improved, underscoring the gulf between Europe’s biggest economy and peripheral nations struggling to cut debt. The number of people out of work declined a seasonally adjusted 9,000 to 3.14 million, the lowest since December 1992, the Nuremberg-based Federal Labor Agency said today. Economists forecast a decrease of 20,000, according to the median of 31 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. The adjusted jobless rate remained at 7.5 percent. Read full story here:

Progressive Magazine: Perspective on North Korea

Matthew Rothschild
From - When the current Korean crisis emerged, I immediately contacted the wisest person I know on the subject. His name is Gene Matthews, and he spent decades in South Korea as a missionary who was active in the pro-democracy movement there. He’s a contributor to a great new book called “More Than Witnesses: How a Small Group of Missionaries Aided Korea’s Democratic Revolution.” Here’s what he has to say about the current standoff. “North Korea has always felt threatened by joint military exercises of the U.S. and South Korea, and has always protested against them,” he says. “This time, North Korea stated that the exercises were taking place in North Korean territory and that if shots were fired during the exercise they would retaliate.
Shots were fired (not at the North, it should be pointed out but out toward the ocean) and the North retaliated.” What’s saddest about this standoff, he says, is that it shows how far relations have slid in the last fifteen years. Read full column here:


Doh! - Data Lockdown Ordered

From the - The US government on Monday enacted new policies designed to prevent mass leaks similar to one rolled out over the weekend, when Wikileaks released thousands of classified diplomatic cables. On Sunday, the Pentagon announced new procedures for the use of thumb drives. Computers that store classified data will no longer be able to write onto removable media, according to Politico. The measure was described as a “temporary technical solution” to the problem of Pentagon personnel who may move vast amounts of secret information to unclassified computer systems. Read full story here:

The Tea Party's Big Mistake

From - In the past week, there has been a call for the Tea Parties to introduce social issues into their "platform." Same-sex marriage, abortion, repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the teaching of abstinence over contraception, and numerous other agenda items of importance to social and religious conservatives have been put forth as issues that the Tea Parties should embrace. Not only should these issues be embraced, but the Tea Parties have been told that they must reconfigure their existing agenda and work toward solutions that satisfy the yearnings of these very same social and religious conservatives. Of course, these issues are of overwhelming importance to a significant number of people. I respect that these people are sincere and truly feel that the country will be hurt beyond redemption should things continue as they are. But a significant number of vocal people do not a political majority make. More here


Prime Minister of Kenya and Obama's "Cousin" Orders Arrest of Gays

Raila Odinga
In 2006 Barack Obama took a trip to Kenya at US taxpayer’s expense. While visiting Kenya as a guest of the government Obama campaigned with opposition leader socialist Raila Odinga, who claims he is Obama’s cousin. The opposition said Odinga was using Obama “as his stooge.” Video here This week Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga ordered a nationwide crackdown on gays this week. The radical Kenyan leader said police should arrest anyone found engaging in such behaviors. More here

Presidential High Hopes for Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson
From - TALLAHASSEE — A self-made millionaire Republican is campaigning in Florida on a platform of spending cuts and less government. It's not Rick Scott, anymore. This is Gary E. Johnson, a former New Mexico governor and advocate for the legalization of marijuana, who's putting out Florida feelers in a possible bid for the presidency in 2012. Johnson's campaign-style stops in Tallahassee, Melbourne and Orlando last week reveal that the presidential race is already at a low boil in the nation's largest swing state. Without Florida, Republicans say, they can't recapture the White House. More here


TCU Bolts Mountain West for BCS Darling Big East

Texas Christian University has announced it will leave the Mountain West Conference and join the Big East Conference on July 1, 2012.  A press conference was held this afternoon on the campus of TCU which was attended by Big East Commissioner John Marinatto, TCU Board of Trustees Chairman J. Luther King Jr., Chris Del Conte TCU’s athletic director and Big East President John Jenkins. Del Conte cited the established institutions of the Big East, television, along with the changes in the Mountain West as the three reasons for the switch. “The Mountain West Conference isn’t the conference we joined,” Del Conte said. “It isn’t the house we bought.  It isn’t the house we were invited into.  I expect significant gains in the TV markets on national TV on ESPN.  We’re associated with great friends with the Big East.”
Geographically TCU doesn’t fit in the Big East but that didn’t seem to be as big of a hindrance as it might seem. 
Marranatto used the National Football League as a reference of sports geography.  (Former NFL Commissioner) Paul Tagliabue was one of the Big East consultants who spoke out that the Dallas Cowboys play in the NFC East. Travel isn’t going to be easy in the Big East for TCU but it wasn’t simple in the Mountain West either as it was the outlier to the East.  Del Conte noted that there is “a 100 mile difference” in travel. The addition of TCU now makes the Big East the “largest and most diverse” conference in the country Marinatto pointed out. This brings the Mountain West down to nine members.  It is speculated that the University of Hawaii will join the Mountain West in football only, with the other UH sports to the Big West Conference. This would leave the Western Athletic Conference with seven football playing universities and the University of Denver who doesn’t field a football team.


Howard Dean's Push for the Fairness Doctrine

Howard Dean
From Behold the most incoherent statement from Howard Dean since his famous “Yeargh!” in Iowa, and that’s saying something. The Blaze clips the audio of a Dean appearance from almost two months ago, when the audience asks what he would do about the media. The answer encapsulates the worst of elitism by presuming that everyone (with the exception of those outside the auditorium, natch) were ignorant masses easily manipulated by Fox News. Dean proposes a solution to the “level of ignorance” that unintentionally reveals his own ignorance of the solution Dean himself proposes
More here


Florida School Bans Christmas Colors

From - A school in Florida has not only banned Christmas — but everything associated with the Christian holiday. Teachers at Heathrow Elementary School have been ordered to banish images of Santa Claus from classrooms — along with traditional Christmas colors like red and green. “You can’t use red and green,” one outraged parent told WESH. “It’s ridiculous.” The parent, who serves as a volunteer room mother, said she was recently given a list of guidelines that listed the holiday restrictions. She said the basic theme of the letter was, “We don’t want to offend anyone who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus or the Christian beliefs.” The Seminole County School Board has a policy that demands employees must be neutral on religious issues. Schools are not allowed to observe or promote holidays as religious events. The school district says they celebrate the season with a winter theme. A district spokesperson told the television station they haven’t had any parents complain about their “holiday neutral” policy. More here
News New Mexico note - There is no word on whether or not the board is going to revoke all the paid days off that come with the celebration of the birth of Jesus.


Rail Runner bears name of Gov. Richardson

From - SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Four Rail Runner locomotives have been quietly named after current or former state officials, including one named for Gov. Bill Richardson. All had a hand in getting the service between Santa Fe and Albuquerque rolling in 2006. The other three include former Gov. Toney Anaya, State Transportation Commission Chairman Johnny Cope of Hobbs and former New Mexico Rep. Dan Silva. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that each man has his full name painted on a metal plate on the front of the locomotives and his first name painted on the side. Sidings have also been named after Richardson and Silva, while two others are named for former Department of Transportation secretary Rhonda Faught and William E. Herzog, who heads a construction company that worked on the project.

China, Russia quit dollar

From - By Su Qiang and Li Xiaokun - St. Petersburg, Russia - China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday. Chinese experts said the move reflected closer relations between Beijing and Moscow and is not aimed at challenging the dollar, but to protect their domestic economies. "About trade settlement, we have decided to use our own currencies," Putin said at a joint news conference with Wen in St. Petersburg. The two countries were accustomed to using other currencies, especially the dollar, for bilateral trade. Since the financial crisis, however, high-ranking officials on both sides began to explore other possibilities. The yuan has now started trading against the Russian rouble in the Chinese interbank market, while the renminbi will soon be allowed to trade against the rouble in Russia, Putin said. "That has forged an important step in bilateral trade and it is a result of the consolidated financial systems of world countries," he said. Putin made his remarks after a meeting with Wen. They also officiated at a signing ceremony for 12 documents, including energy cooperation. The documents covered cooperation on aviation, railroad construction, customs, protecting intellectual property, culture and a joint communiqu. Details of the documents have yet to be released. Putin said one of the pacts between the two countries is about the purchase of two nuclear reactors from Russia by China's Tianwan nuclear power plant, the most advanced nuclear power complex in China. Read more

Magic Mushroom Ride Cut Short

From the Rio Grande Sun - An Española man allegedly took mushrooms Sunday and realized God gave him powers to run from the cops. But God must have missed the memo because Española officers Jose Martinez and Moises Peña ended up spraying 20-year-old Adrian Maes with pepper spray and charging him with felony aggravated fleeing of an officer and reckless driving. Those charges were joined by additional charges from State Police of reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident and driving under the influence, according to an online inmate database. Maes is being held on $8,000, or 10 percent, bond in Santa Fe County Jail, staff at Rio Arriba Magistrate Court said. State Police Capt. Daniel Lovato said he was not sure if a blood draw was taken from Maes. State Police officer Anthony Jaramillo brought the second set of charges from a 2:14 p.m. hit-and-run crash on State Road 76 near the Holy Cross Church, Lovato said. The problems began around 12:30 p.m., according to call logs. Martinez, in his probable cause statement, said he was patrolling Fairview Lane near the intersection with North Riverside Drive when he saw a gray Chevrolet Cavalier run a red light proceeding north. He tried to stop the vehicle, chasing it at speeds of 60 mph. His commander canceled the pursuit when they reached the city limits. Martinez turned around to drive back toward the city, but the driver of the Cavalier cut in front of him and drove south as well. The pursuit was canceled again. When Peña found the car blocking traffic and approached, Maes told Peña he had permission from God to run from the cops and he wanted Peña to chase him, call logs state. Peña didn’t, according to Martinez, and the car left. Lovato said the car then hit a van on State Road 76. He said the report was pending and he didn’t know if the driver of the other vehicle was hurt, but he said an ambulance did not take anyone to the hospital. Peña and Martinez located the car by Valley Drive and Riverside Drive, Martinez states. They pulled their cruisers in front of and behind Maes and tried to get Maes out of the vehicle. He resisted and they pepper-sprayed him. Read more

German magazine: Obama Has Lost His "Superpower"

From Spiegel Online - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US President Barack Obama: Never before in history has a superpower lost control of such vast amounts of such sensitive information. 251,000 State Department documents, many of them secret embassy reports from around the world, show how the US seeks to safeguard its influence around the world. It is nothing short of a political meltdown for US foreign policy. What does the United States really think of German Chancellor Angela Merkel? Is she a reliable ally? Did she really make an effort to patch up relations with Washington that had been so damaged by her predecessor? At most, it was a half-hearted one. The tone of trans-Atlantic relations may have improved, former US Ambassador to Germany William Timken wrote in a cable to the State Department at the end of 2006, but the chancellor "has not taken bold steps yet to improve the substantive content of the relationship." That is not exactly high praise. And the verdict on German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle? His thoughts "were short on substance," wrote the current US ambassador in Berlin, Philip Murphy, in a cable. The reason, Murphy suggested, was that "Westerwelle's command of complex foreign and security policy issues still requires deepening." More here

Swickard Commentary: Intentional mistakes by sports officials drive fans away

Years ago a rather petty moment came and a sports official changed a high school game which took the victory from one team and gave it to another. I was standing right there watching and saw the smug smile on the official’s face as he stole our victory. It was the first time such had happened to me so I was confused. My coach said, “Forget it, it is just the way things happen.” I could not then and have never had the ability to ignore injustice.
What brought this to mind is that three times this fall I have had the distinct feeling an official took victory from one team intentionally. And nothing can be done since there is no mechanism to correct such injustices. More later.
At a national table tennis tournament years ago I was far ahead of my opponent. My opponent did not take the realization that I had the match well in hand very well. He called me foul names several times and was incredibly rude. In tournaments I never showed any emotion. People could not tell by looking at me if I was winning or losing. Inside I was not taking a cussing well.
The third time my opponent used a bad word upon me I turned to the referee and protested that I would not accept that kind of language used upon me. It involved words that cannot be said on the radio. The referee was from that same town as my opponent and shrugged, “Play on.”
My opponent continued using four letter words. I continued winning. The fifth time he unleashed a string of nasty words upon me I walked away from the table, got my bag and went to the tournament director to tell him I would not be verbally abused. He also shrugged. It was my last match in that sport where I was fairly good but would not take the dishonor of verbal abuse. The long drive home from Lubbock to New Mexico gave me time to reconsider but I resigned from the sport as soon as I got home and have never competed again.
A few years ago New Mexico State University joined the Western Athletic Conference and the first year or two officials took several football and basketball games away from NMSU in what I considered “intentional mistakes.” I am not an expert but have attended college games for decades. I was left sputtering each time angered that the replays showed these “Intentional mistakes” by the officials. The WAC even apologized but nothing otherwise was done.
After several times of being mad, my reaction to the WAC not caring about the integrity of their sports was for me to likewise not care about their sports. I do not go to college games often. Some people say, “Oh, well, it is his loss.” Perhaps so, but these sport depend on fan support which I no longer provide.
This brings me to this year in New Mexico high school football. In three games this year it appeared to me that “Intentional mistakes” gave the win to the other team. The first two times I just sputtered and muttered and tried to hope that this could be excused by a mantra of “Win a few, lose a few” with the hope that the “Intentional mistakes” by the officials would balance out by season’s end.
Saturday in Albuquerque there was a high school football playoff game where the contest did not rest upon the actions of the student athletes, rather, upon one official. In this world of YouTube videos it is now obvious that an “Intentional mistake” was made and the game given away. And, there is no mechanism to correct this injustice.
The integrity of the sport is under the direction of the New Mexico Activities Association which did not perform their duty to have a mechanism for integrity. So I will turn my back upon that sport because they do not have integrity.
The NMAA may be glad to see me go like the Western Athletic Conference is glad I do not care any longer about them. If enough people join me, where will these sports be without fans?


Hill: Federally Funded Islam?

Austin Hill
From - It’s disturbing that we even need to have this conversation. It’ll be more disturbing if the Obama Administration doesn’t intervene and stop the process.  The people behind the controversial “Park 51” Islamic mosque project in Lower Manhattan have apparently applied several times for federal grant money with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. LMDC is officially a New York state agency, but the money that this agency doles-out for the purposes of “reconstructing New York city” in 9-11’s aftermath is nonetheless federal tax money. The money is administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, while “HUD” itself is overseen by President Obama’s hand-picked cabinet officer, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Thus, it is accurate to say that President Obama and his Administration have a very direct connection with this project – and somebody from the Administration needs to take a stand, do the right thing, and put a halt to it. Read full column here:

Juarez School Teachers Threatened

From the El Paso Times - CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico—Authorities are beefing up security at schools in this border city after graffiti threatening attacks on students and teachers was scrawled on school grounds, state and local officials said Friday. Officials have increased police patrols and are installing security cameras to prevent a repeat of last week's spate of threats that targeted five or six primary and secondary schools, said Claudio Gonzalez Ruiz, head of public safety in Ciudad Juarez. In the messages, extortionists threatened to harm teachers and students if school administrators, or in some cases the teachers themselves, failed to pay up. At the Rafael Velarde Elementary School, extortionists demanded to be given the 50,000-peso (about $4,000) prize of a fundraising raffle, administrators said. At other schools, messages demanded teachers fork over their Christmas bonuses. Read full story here:

Tom Udall Vows to Weaken Filibuster

Tom Udall
From the Wall Street Journal - The Hill reports that a trio of "progressive" Democrats in the Senate say they'll seek to weaken the filibuster: Sens. Tom Harkin (Iowa), Mark Udall (Colo.) and Tom Udall (N.M.) all told The Hill this week they are not backing down from their effort. The Senate's rules--which are based on tradition, not the Constitution--have frustrated Democrats for the past several years as GOP leaders have required a 60-vote majority even for procedural motions. Sen. Tom Udall said he will force a motion on the first day of the next Congress to have Vice President Joe Biden adopt new rules for the two-year session. Then, Udall said, he will seek consensus among senators from both parties to lower the 60-vote threshold for procedural motions. Only a simple majority of 51 votes would be necessary for such a move, and Udall said he expects support from some Republicans. "Many analysts believe nothing will come of the effort," the report adds. The Udall cousins were both elected in 2008, so they have experienced the filibuster only as members of the majority. Still, some "veteran lawmakers," who have been in a position to use the filibuster as well as been frustrated by it, back the move, including New York Democrat Chuck Schumer. Republican Dan Coats, the former and future junior senator from Indiana, has also urged colleagues "to remove the 60-vote rule for bringing a bill to the floor," in an interview with "The Journal Editorial Report." More here


Feds vs. Bill Richardson and SIC

Bill Richardson
From - Federal prosecutors have asked a court to force Gov. Bill Richardson's office and the State Investment Council to provide documents for a continuing investigation of New Mexico investments. At issue is whether certain records are protected by executive or attorney-client privilege, which would shield them from disclosure to federal investigators, according to State Investment Officer Steve Moise. Moise revealed the dispute over documents during testimony to a legislative committee last week when a lawmaker asked whether the agency had finished providing materials subpoenaed by a federal grand jury and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Moise said the council, in its filing in a sealed court proceeding, did not take a position on whether the documents are covered by a legal privilege that makes them confidential and beyond the reach of prosecutors. More here

Pictures and Videos are Worth a Thousand Words

A nice afternoon of football was severely tarnished by a blown officials call on the last play of the game in the 5-A state football semi-finals in Albuquerque yesterday. And of course in this digital age that we live in, a picture is worth tens of thousands of hours of hard work by a countless number of people. The referee (pictured at left) in the game winning touchdown photo, wound up providing a remarkable life lesson for the young men playing football for Las Cruces High School this season. The teachable moment came at Wilson Stadium in Albuquerque on the final play of the game. LCHS's Geoff Segovia (#41) had just caught a pass in the end zone to win the game. The official on this play, who had a perfect look at the catch, curiously refused to acknowledge what everyone else saw when he inexplicably ruled the the pass incomplete. The governing body for these events, (the New Mexico Activities Association) which goes to the trouble of marketing the streaming videos of these games, does not have a review process to correct the error. Viewers can actually watch the excruciating slow motion video of the touchdown catch on Youtube by clicking the following link:
And if you are a glutton for injustice, watch the body language of Segovia on this other video. He did not find it necessary to wait for confirmation. He simply bounced up and ran off the field jubilantly knowing his team had just won the game. It was a sad ending for the Las Cruces Bulldawgs season and a curious extension of the Manzano season. The state championship final will again to be played in Albuquerque at Wilson Stadium next weekend when Las Cruces Mayfield travels to the Duke City to take on Manzano. And what exactly is the valuable life lesson to be learned from this experience? The lesson is simple. Sometimes in life scores of people can work very hard for a long period of time only to see a system of government sneer at the use of technology and other tools that will lead to best practices. In the real world every single day, faceless unnamed bureaucrats, appointed to positions of incredible power, often for dubious reasons, take away what has been earned by one person or one group of people, and gives it to someone else.  


Sen. Bingaman's Big Mistake

Jeff Bingaman
From the - Sen. Jeff Bingaman is being called our worst border security threat. Angry Dona Ana County residents have branded the New Mexico Democrat's Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Wilderness Act as "Bingaman's Bandit Boulevard" for proposing a 50-mile-long safe haven for Mexican drug runners -- and worse. John Hummer, former chairman of the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce, reminded his community of the no-motorized-vehicle clause in wilderness laws. The Border Patrol can't patrol. Wilderness laws allow our own park and forest rangers to keep the cops out. That's supposed to protect nature, but ends up protecting drug cartels, illegal immigrants -- and terrorists. Steve Wilmeth, fifth-generation New Mexico rancher, told me that Bingaman's north-south strip and two mountain clusters don't worry him for the inevitable Mexican intruders, but for the OTMs -- Other Than Mexicans.
A U.S. Border Patrol document obtained by The Examiner shows the nationality and number of OTMs arrested last year. A few samples: Afghanistan (12); Indonesia (95); Iran (42); Iraq (42); Jordan (52); Saudi Arabia (6); Somalia (70); Yemen (22). Members of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers say they weren't smuggling drugs. Retired Border Patrol Officer Zack Taylor said Bingaman's wilderness boundary is just a stroll from violent Juarez and El Paso. Terrorists want terror, said Taylor -- unexpected targets with severed body parts and dead babies. A dozen relays of three sunburned hikers carrying big backpacks could trek unmolested up Bingaman's Boulevard, stockpiling materials to obliterate the balloon festival, the state Capitol, the Acoma Pueblo -- anything we treasure. More here


Homeland Security Shutting Down Websites

Janet Napolitano
From the - The investigative arm of the Homeland Security Department appears to be shutting down websites that facilitate copyright infringement. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has seized dozens of domain names over the past few days, according to TorrentFreak. ICE appears to be targeting sites that help Internet users download copyrighted music, as well as sites that sell bootleg goods, such as fake designer handbags. The sites are replaced with a note from the government: "This domain named has been seized by ICE, Homeland Security Investigations." For instance,,, and have each been seized. One of the site owners told TorrentFreak that his site was shut down without any notice or warning. The effort come as Congress considers the Combatting Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA). Critics, including Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) say it is too heavy-handed. He has vowed to put a formal hold on the bill. Read full story here:

Mayfield Advances to the State Championship Game

Heavily favored Albuquerque La Cueva was stunned by Las Cruces-Mayfield 21-17 at the Field of Dreams in Las Cruces Friday evening in the New Mexico 5-A state championship semi-finals. With its third playoff win of the year, the sixth-seed Trojans advance to the state championship game next weekend. Mayfield will face the winner of the Las Cruces High vs. Manzano game, which will be played at Wilson Stadium in Albuquerque Saturday afternoon with the kickoff set for 2:00pm. La Cueva came into the Mayfield game with the state's all-time leading rusher, Ronnie Daniels. The nineteen year-old Daniels carried the ball more than 50 times on the evening for more than 350 yards.
Ronnie Daniels
But it was the scrappy Mayfield defense that made the biggest plays of the game. Trojan defenders stripped Daniels, who is headed for Texas Tech, twice. Unfortunately for La Cueva, Daniels' fumbles came at critical stages of the contest. Mayfield's offense got huge second half performances out of their running game. Both Ricky Milks and Brandon Betancourt reeled off long runs for Mayfield and both ran for over 100 yards. Near the end of the fourth quarter La Cueva had a final chance to regain the lead. However, on a fourth and two play inside Mayfield territory at the forty yard line, Daniels did not get the ball for one of the few times in the game. Instead, La Cueva's fourth down pass was batted down by the Trojan defense. As the ball hit the ground, the end came to La Cueva's dreams of back-to-back state championships. And as Mayfield took a knee to run the final seconds off the clock, the Trojans did what they rarely do, they won as an underdog at the Field of Dreams in Las Cruces. Usually it is Mayfield that carries the favorite role into late November games in the State of New Mexico. During the post-game celebration, legendary coach Jim Bradley wished the Las Cruces Bulldawgs success in their semi-final contest against an Albuquerque foe. Clearly a jubilant Bradley was hopeful that the Trojans will get a rematch against their cross-town rivals at Aggie Memorial Stadium next Saturday afternoon. Standing in the way of another all Las Cruces final, and a big payday for the NMAA thanks to a dream matchup that could draw 30,000 football fans, is an outstanding Albuquerque Manzano team that has been virtually unstoppable all year.


Speed Camera Firm a Millionaire Factory

From the - Millions of dollars paid by motorists in red light camera and speed camera fines end up in the pockets of a handful of individuals. In the United States, American Traffic Solutions (ATS) is responsible for about 41 percent of the nation's photo enforcement business, but as a private company its dealings are well concealed from public scrutiny. Based on a review of documents marked "confidential -- attorneys' eyes only," the ATS leadership team has reaped significant personal profit in a short amount of time. "I paid through sweat equity of becoming a member of the leadership, and I made a financial investment in the company," former Wall Street analyst Adam Draizin explained in a December 3, 2009 deposition discussing his joining ATS in May 2004.
Draizin's contribution was $500,000 for which he earned an share equal to that of the company's other three partners. That investment paid off in a big way when Goldman Sachs became the largest shareholder in 2008 with a 30 percent stake. Draizin, John Petrozza, Adam Tuton, James Tuton each share an equal 16.7 percent stake. James Investment (Robert Alpert) held a 3 percent share. Goldman paid $58 million for its slice of the automated ticketing industry, of which $45 million was invested in the company. The original four partners pocketed $3,250,000 each -- a six-fold return for Draizin, a Harvard Business School graduate. Goldman retains significant influence over the business. The deal required that ATS change from a subchapter S corporation to a C corporation, that Goldman representatives sit on the ATS board of directors and that the board meet on a quarterly basis. More here


DENIAL: Organized Labor in Ireland Can't Count

From Bloomberg - The Irish Congress of Trade Unions, an umbrella organization for the country’s labor groups, is holding a march in Dublin to protest a 15 billion-euro ($20 billion) austerity package aimed at reducing the budget deficit. Ireland’s government is talks with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund about an 85 billion-euro rescue package as it seeks to shore up its banks and narrow the deficit. Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said on Nov. 24 that the government will cut spending by about 20 percent and raise taxes over the next four years to trim the gap to 3 percent of output by 2014, from 32 percent this year when bank costs are included. Today’s march, which police estimates said had drawn as many as 50,000 people, started at noon and will wind its way through Dublin to conclude in front of the General Post Office on O’Connell Street. read here: