Jim Harbison - Beware of Gov't Agencies Bearing Grants

Jim Harbison
At the most recent City Council meeting the Council passed several resolutions accepting various government grants from both Federal and State agencies. Now on the surface this seems like a great deal for the City because after all it is free money. Right? Well not exactly.
Many of these government grants contain conditions or restriction such as matching funds or other constraints on how the money can be used. Not all of these conditions are necessarily consistent with the policies of the City Council. This money is used by the Federal and State governments to implement policies or programs that may or may not match the needs or priorities of the City or more importantly the needs or desires of the citizenry.
One of the resolutions that passed concerned a Federal HUD grant of approximately $1 million which required the City to provide $500,000 in matching funds of to the Affordable Housing Land Bank. Another was a $758,000 grant from NMDOT to construct the 6-mile Outfall Channel multi-modal trail from I-25 to the Rio Grande and requires the City to provide $252,000 in matching funds. Unfortunately, the City has not identified where these matching funds will come from. In the case of the HUD grant the City may identify them in the 2011-2012 budget year. Bottom line is that acceptance of this grant obligates a half a million dollars from next year’s budget and gives it a priority over other City projects without consideration of the actual needs of the City.
Sharon Thomas
The Outfall Channel Trail was number 4 on the City’s list of unfunded projects. Accepting this grant now moves it to the top of the list and circumvents the priority list established by the Council and City staff. Councilor Sharon Thomas is the City’s advocate for walking paths and bicycled trails. Obviously she was very excited about this grant and voted for its acceptance.
There are several questions that should be answered before the City accepts these “gifts”. First, what is the impact of the loss of the $252,000 from the current budgeted projects to suddenly fund an unfunded project? Second, if there are other funding sources for the existing City projects, why weren’t they included in the creation of the original City budget? Third, what is the impact on those projects that had a higher priority on the project list?
The various City departments will frequently state that matching funds do not need to be actual dollars but can be “in kind contributions.” What are “in-kind contributions?” As I understand it, it is where the actual value of work performed on the project by City staff can be considered as payment toward the matching fund amount. Examples would include design work done by the Engineering Department or preparatory work performed by the Public Works Department or the Utilities Department.
Sounds simple, right? Well consider that this is work effort that is diverted from currently approved and funded City projects. This may force the previously funded project to be delayed or even moved into the following budget year. Ever wonder why your road isn’t repaired, or why your neighborhood continues to have drainage problems? Perhaps it is because the City staff is working on in-kind projects because the City didn’t have the budget to fund these grant driven projects.
Remember, there is no free lunch and acceptance of grants can have consequences. Let’s hope our City Council realizes this and does not jeopardize other projects. They must not allow the Federal and State governments to divert the direction of the City Council by the offer of “free money”.


Councilor backs off proposal to ban feeding prairie dogs, hopes for urban wildlife plan

From The Santa Fe Newmexian - City Councilor Ron Trujillo has backed off an idea to make it illegal to feed wildlife such as prairie dogs on Santa Fe city property. Instead, he is calling for a task force to help the city enforce policies about handling such critters. Like the burrowing rodents that have lost habitat to urban encroachment, Trujillo is somewhat trapped. He's thinking about his — and other — elementary-school-age children whose sporting events are affected by animal burrows in city parks. He says he's also listening to their parents, whose tax dollars pay hundreds of thousands each year for park maintenance and prairie dog removal. However, there's an outspoken contingent of Santa Fe residents and taxpayers — many of whom also live in his district — who advocate for prairie dog protection above recreation. People with all those viewpoints will be invited to participate in the group Trujillo hopes the city will convene to discuss a citywide "wildlife management plan," with prairie dog issues at the top of its list. In June, he proposed an ordinance to impose an unspecified penalty for feeding wildlife on city land. When fellow councilors, city staff and some in the community balked at the idea, he decided to withdraw the proposal. Read more

Holocaust Denier Ahmadinejad Dodging Grenades?

Mahmoud Ahmaddinejad
A flurry of conflicting reports about a grenade attack on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were published in Iranian media on Wednesday. A conservative Iranian website published a report saying an explosive was thrown at Ahmadinejad who was standing in an open roof car as he drove through the western Iranian city of Hamedan. Later in the day, the report was removed from the site. Semi-official Fars news, reported that a grenade had been thrown at the route of the president, but only after the president’s motorcade had already passed by, reported AP. Iranian state media also quickly published a string of articles denying there had been an attempted attack against Ahmadinejad. Officials and state media attributed the explosion to a firecracker taking place about 300 feet behind the president’s car. Read more here:


State Budget Deficit Keeps Getting Bigger

Governor Bill Richardson

The state will receive $104 million in extra Medicaid dollars thanks to federal legislation projected to clear Congress in the next few days, New Mexico state officials said Wednesday. The funding contained in the $26 billion federal legislation for New Mexico’s Medicaid program is $56 million below the $160 million the state had anticipated. That means the state budget gap New Mexico is struggling to address for the fiscal year that began July 1 will grow to about $220 million. Read more here:

Picacho Hills Water Utility in Hot Water

Picacho Hills
The Public Regulation Commission (PRC) might not issue a record $850,000 fine or order a fraud audit of a Las Cruces water utility’s finances despite protests from some of its staff. The difference of opinion emerged during a hearing Tuesday and included a reference to a letter submitted by one staff attorney reiterating staff’s desire to see the utility face stiff punishment. “If penalties are not warranted here, where will they be,” reads a letter penned by PRC attorney Ashley Schannauer. The company “violated almost every procedural order in this case, illustrating disregard and defiance of Commission authority,” Schannauer wrote. The alleged violations by Picacho Hills Utility Company — the company at the center of Tuesday’s hearing — include failing to comply with a PRC order to extend a sewer discharge line to the Rio Grande in order to avoid sewer contamination of ground and surface water at the Picacho Hills Country Club, southwest of Las Cruces, according to a PRC staff report. Read more here:


Progressive Magazine - Mosque Controversy

The Republican response to the proposed New York City interfaith center and mosque has very little to do with Islam and a lot to do with what the party has become. Once upon a time, the Republicans were comprised of at least two distinct wings: the pro-business, country club types, and the more socially conservative group. Now, with the exception of a rapidly dwindling moderate faction (best exemplified by Maine’s two women senators), the GOP has been taken over by a hard right that sees the party as dedicated to defending America’s Christian character. Read more here:

Ken Blackwell - The Rangel Scandal

Ken Blackwell
Four years ago, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised to “drain the swamp” of corruption in Washington, D.C., but after failing miserably to do so it now appears she’s choosing to ignore it – while letting her colleagues sweep it under the rug. In the latest example of this trend, a House ethics panel last week recommended that Rep. Charlie Rangel be “reprimanded” for a laundry list of corruption charges. Rangel, a Democrat who has been in the House for forty years, is facing a battery of serious allegations which, if proven, should cost the career lawmaker his job – if not land him in jail. Read more here:


Caroline Baum - Squeezing the Rich

Arthur Laffer
Thirty-six years after an academic economist named Arthur Laffer drew a curved line on a cocktail napkin, the debate over supply-side tax cuts paying for themselves is still going strong. Why, after all this time and an extensive body of data, are we still questioning whether reductions in marginal and capital- gains tax rates increase economic activity enough to generate more revenue for the federal government? “Because they don’t like the answer,” Laffer says of the doubters. “It’s not tax cuts that pay for themselves. Tax cuts on the poor cost you lots of money. Tax cuts on the rich pay for themselves. Rich people can afford lawyers, accountants, and can defer income.” Read more here:


Borrow Money to Study Ants & Improv Music?

A new report from Republican senators Tom Coburn and John McCain says too much of the $862 billion in stimulus money is being spent with dubious results: $700,000 for a researcher to study improvised music. For a project on interactive dance, 44 percent of the money goes to "overhead." The $1.9 million spent to photograph ants in foreign countries has created two jobs created so far. That's better than other ant research stimulus projects: $451,000 has created one job, $276,000 spent on another created six one-hundredths of a job, and the $800,000 spent on a different one created no jobs. Read more here:

Two Year Treasury Notes Yield .58%

Treasury two-year note yields were near a record low on speculation employment reports will add to evidence that the U.S. economic recovery is too fragile for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates. The difference in yield, or spread, between two- and 10- year Treasury notes narrowed as investors reduced their inflation expectations. The possibility of deflation and a recession in the U.S. is 25 percent, according to Mohamed A. El- Erian, chief executive officer at Pacific Investment Management Co. The Fed’s next policy decision is scheduled for Aug. 10. “Markets are once again more fearful about the economic outlook,” said Glenn Marci, a fixed-income strategist in Frankfurt at DZ Bank AG, Germany’s biggest cooperative lender. “Investors are not confident enough to believe we’ll see a sustained recovery and are looking more at the double-dip scenario.” The two-year note yielded 0.58 percent as of 10:04 a.m. in London, after falling to a record low of 0.5143 percent on Aug. 3. The 0.625 percent note due July 2012 traded at 100 3/32, according to BGCantor Market Data. Ten-year yields were little changed at 2.96 percent. Read more here:


Geithner Sees No Evidence Tax Cuts Pay for Themselves

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said tax cuts don’t pay for themselves in economic growth, and he urged lawmakers to let the reductions for the wealthiest Americans expire. Geithner dismissed the “long-discredited idea” that tax cuts generate enough growth-related income to offset their fiscal impact, in a speech in Washington today at the Center for American Progress, a policy research group run by John Podesta, an adviser to the Obama administration. “There is absolutely no evidence to support it,” he said. The administration wants to let tax breaks expire for households earning more than $250,000 a year, while maintaining reductions for households earning less than that. The tax cuts, enacted in 2001 and 2003 during former President George W. Bush’s administration, are expiring Dec. 31. Geithner said the administration can’t afford to extend the reductions for higher- income households. Read more here:

Larry Elder - Newsweek or Newsweak

Larry Elder
A well-known "civil rights activist" made the cover of Newsweek, the left-wing "news" magazine reportedly sold for its debt and $1. Based on this cover story, the buyer overpaid. The headline, above the flattering photograph of a Man of Gravitas, reads: "The Reinvention of the Reverend Al: From Tawana to Obama, What Sharpton's Longevity Says About Race in America." It's good to be the Rev. Al Sharpton, one of America's pre-eminent race-hustlers and demagogues. The word "shameless" doesn't do him justice. The word "whitewash" understates the gushing makeover accorded him by Newsweek. Read more here:


Update - STILL No Way to Do Business

Stranded Golf Course off N. Sonoma Ranch Boulevard
The “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” is a story that has exposed troublingly untrustworthy business practices on the part of city council. These practices have cost our area fundamental credibility and much more.
This story did not begin with NewsNM looking into the reasons why $1 million in refunds due the Las Cruces Public School District was lost by the actions of council. Nor did it begin as an investigation into the reasons why councilors turned their backs on the multiplier effect of $10 million in local economic impact. We were simply curious about the reasons why such a beautiful golf course (above right) seemed to be stranded out on the northeast mesa of Las Cruces.
Background: Members of the Las Cruces Country Club had spoken often earlier this year about the various ways in which the use of the new golf course was being held up by red tape and meddling micro-managing city councilors. In the early course of our investigation, NewsNM learned that the spectacular new golf course already had a perfectly suitable paved access road, but the road was being rendered useless because city councilors were insiting that city staff demand not one, but two access roads to the golf course.
First Access Road to Golf Course - Not Good Enough? 
We decided to take pictures of the so-called “Road to Nowhere” (left). During our visit to the site in City Councilor Gil Sorg’s district we also noticed that there were two brand new schools under construction in the area. The first school, Monte Vista Elementary School (below), was scheduled to open August 16th. Unfortunately, all of the road contruction delays have caused a delay in the school's opening. As of the start of the 2010-2011 school year, both schools in the area still have only one access road (Jornada Road). Logic dictated we ask why a school could open with only one access road while a private golf course with only one access road was being kept closed.
Monte Vista Elementary School
The events that followed are typical of any unfolding situation where bad behavior is being uncovered. Once one question related to this fiasco was answered definitively, it immediately led to another question. Eventually, the question and answer process unearthed some of the worst sort of public policy blunders made by elected city officials in this area in quite some time.
During our investigation LCPS officials indicated that the district had planned to build the two new schools in the new golf course area several years ago. Unfortunately for LCPS, as the completion of Monte Vista Elementary School continued to approach, the seemingly endless timeline for construction of a second access road to the school got tight for the school district. Then, and suddenly, the illusion of good news for Las Cruces Public Schools came late last year. Through the use of financing provided by the New Mexico Finance Authority, the extension of North Sonoma Ranch Boulevard appeared to finally be ready for completion after years of delays.
Sharon Thomas
Professional staff members at both LCPS and the city, along with city bond counsel, the city finance director, and the single property owner/developer in the proposed Special Assessment District worked diligently to reach detailed agreements in January of 2010. These agreements were affirmed by the Las Cruces City Council after it reviewed the proposal, including the properties to be included in the district. Councilors voted 7-0 in favor of a resolution to act as fiscal agent for the state funds. It seemd the pieces were finally in place to get the four lane divided road completed. Based on unmistakable signals from city council, detailed descriptions and surveys of all the property to be assessed to pay for the project were sent out for an independent appraisal.
Olga Pedroza
Then, inexplicably, and without any notice to LCPS staff or the property owner providing sufficient collateral for the Special Assessment District, in an early April work session it soon became clear to those in attendance that six city councilors (shown in order top to bottom in this story), Sharon Thomas, Olga Pedroza, Nathan Small, Gil Sorg, Dolores Connor, and Miguel Silva, all speaking from what seemed to be the same set of notes and talking points, were reneging on agreements they made in January. It seems clear now that all the work related to this road project, with four lanes, multi-purpose paths, bike lanes, street lights, ample drainage and professionally engineered ponding areas, was derailed by a tiny sliver of the local population. The sliver being a group of vocal anti-developer, anti-construction industry, anti-job, and anti-growth elements. It would seem this element of local society now controls city council as they quietly secured the ears council members (except the mayor) and engineered a political ambush. Left in their wake was the destruction of thousands of hours of planning and untold dollars that were spent in good faith.
With council's astounding one hundred and eighty degree reversal in position, LCPS, local area residents, the business people providing the financing, and all local unemployed road building and construction workers were blindsided. And despite the betrayal of good faith, there was not a single mention of this in the local daily news outlets.
Nathan Small
Mayor Ken Miyagishima was the first elected official to go public with a few of the details of this collosal $10 million blunder. When he first appeared on NewsNM on July 7th, the mayor offered suggestions as to why the biggest project Las Cruces has had going in many years had effectively been derailed three months earlier.
Gil Sorg
The mayor attributed the problem to the “inexperience” of the other six councilors as well as a wealth of misinformation that was fed to councilors between January and April 2010. During the July 7th show the mayor also made it known for the first time that the school district would lose out on the $1 million reimbursement commitment from the Special Assessment District's sole property owner.
Confirming the details of the financial disaster for the Las Cruces Public Schools was LCPS associate superintendent Herb Torres when he appeared on NewsNM on July 28th. Local businessman and developer John Moscato, representing the sole property owner providing the assessed property for the entire road building project, also appeared on NewsNM on Monday July 26th. Like Mr. Torres, Mr. Moscato confirmed everything essential in what Mayor Miyagishima said earlier in the month regarding this fiasco.
Dolores Connor
The political posturing that has proliferated since this story first began to break in early July has been fairly predictable. When NewsNM first began to report and investigate what the mayor had actually said on the show concerning the lost value of the project to the community, city councilors Sharon Thomas and Dolores Connor expressed outrage, but initially only behind the scenes. In emails to NewsNM Posse members both councilors suggested NewsNM (not the mayor) was spreading misinformation. Angry phone calls and visits to the radio station offices quickly followed. It was a classic case of a "shoot the messenger" strategy despite the fact it was Mayor Miyagishima that blew the whistle on this ridiculous blunder.
Miguel Silva
Since it has been repeatedly proven that the New Mexico Finance Authority (and not the city) was at risk for the financing, in the weeks that followed Councilor Dolores Connor and Councilor Sharon Thomas gradually backpedalled from many of their earlier claims about the city's financial exposure to the project. Councilor Connor has also finally, though grudgingly, acknowledged that her preference for a longer road were made without realizing there was an additional mile (instead of a half of a mile) of distance between Arroyo Road and Dragonfly Road. Connor has also becomebetter informed about the exact location of the temporary road that LCPS is being forced to construct.
LCPS Herb Torres
In the end the trustworthiness and credibility of city council continues to be lacking and the stubborness of councilors in error continues. Facts are stubborn too. The horrible meddling practices of this group of city councilors has now caused a massive waste of public and private funds that has harmed this area.
1. Once to properties to be included in the SAD were agreed to in January, an order was placed for an expensive property appraisal of the agreed upon properties. The appraisal was completed and paid for by the property owner. That appraisal was later rendered worthless when council changed its mind.
2. A tentative $10 million funding commitment for the entire project from the New Mexico Finance Authority was obtained and the commitment was communicated to the city council. This commitment was never capitalized on and hundreds of jobs remain lost to the area.
3. The $1 million reimbursement to LCPS from the property owner, which was contingent upon the timely fulfilling of all agreements reached by all parties in January has been squandered. Simply put, the ambush orchestrted on the developer by council and antijob elements within the area has cost LCPS $1 million.
Ken Miyagishima
It is quite ironic that Councilor Dolores Connor continues to claim the re-negotiation with the developer (road builder) was necessary so that we can "get it right the first time." NewsNM will be taking and posting photographs of the road the area will get in exchange for these councilor's decisions to abrogate their agreements. Herb Torres of LCPS did a good job of describing what citizens will actually get as a result of this blunder. The area around the schools will have to get by for the forseeable future with a temporary low grade, colonias-style, maintenance plagued road. The opening of Monte Vista Elementary will continue to be delayed. This multi-million dollar new school financed by local citizens will sit idle for many more weeks.
And thus we have the Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Inexperienced city councilors with an inability to differentiate between facts and misinformation have morphed into stubborn elected officials denying essential facts about bad practices. Political posturing, public posting of half-truths, and the regrettable act of attempting to justify the breaking of important good faith agreements is now an integral part of the fiasco. These are not the qualities citizens expect from elected officials going about the business of managing the resources and relationships for the people they represent. We at NewsNM will continue to work on this story and we will issue a final report complete with pictures of how "right" the city got it the first time, once the temporary road is laid down. What is obvious to us at this point is that this is no way for the city of Las Cruces to do business and citizens have decisions to make about the leadership they want for this city in less than fifteen months.


Heath - Wilderness Bill Puts Teague in a Tough Spot

Heath Haussamen
From NMPolitics.net - The Doña Ana County wilderness bill that New Mexico’s U.S. senators and local activists are trying to push through Congress before the end of the year puts U.S. Rep. Harry Teague in a very tough political spot. The Democratic is in a difficult re-election battle against former GOP U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce. It’s a Republican-leaning district in a Republican leaning year, and Pearce already has an advantage. Read more here:


Waste not, want not: Smart energy pricing is key

From NMPolitics.net - Commentary by NM State Senator Steve Fischmann - Adding new electric generating capacity is expensive. Data from New Mexico’s largest electric utility, PNM, shows that it costs $150 per megawatt hour to add new natural gas power generating capacity, $140 to add coal power, $130 for nuclear, and $85 for wind. New generation is so costly that whenever new capacity is added electric rates go up. By contrast, installation of energy efficiency measures costs about $20 per megawatt- hour saved, according to PNM. In other words, electric consumers save somewhere between 75 percent and 87 percent when we invest in efficiency rather than building new electric plants. Efficiency also largely eliminates the pollution, health, noise and landscape impacts that come with new power generation. Read more

NMSU Volleyball Picked to Finish Second

DENVER (Aug. 4) - The Western Athletic Conference volleyball coaches have selected New Mexico State to finish second in the preseason poll, while the Aggies placed the most players on the preseason All-WAC team with four selections, the league office annouced. The Aggies received 57 points in the poll, while earning one first-place vote, with Hawai'i taking eight first-place votes and earning 64 points. The Rainbow Wahine have been selected to win its 15th-straight WAC regular season title in 2010. Senior outside hitters Kayleigh Giddens and Whitney Woods were Preseason All-WAC selections along with junior setter Jennah DeVries and junior middle hitter Kelsey Brennan. Rainbow Wahine outside hitter Kanani Danielson was selected as the preseason player of the year. Read more here:

NMSU's Aguayo Making Waves

Rocky Ward
According to Rocky Ward NMSU's head baseball coach, Senior Ryan Aguayo recently earned third team honors on the 2010 California All-League Team.  While tallying 50 hits as a part of the San Luis Obispo Blues. The Pico Rivera, Calif, native posted a .321 batting average, which was seventh best in the California Collegiate League (CCL). His 12 doubles was fourth-best in the league, adding 25 RBI and a team-leading six multiple RBI games. A 2010 second-team All-WAC selection and an academic All-WAC selection, Aguayo posted a team-high 92 hits on the year, while posting a .365 batting average. He was in the top five in the Western Athletic Conference in RBI (66) and total bases (148). He also led the league in runs scored. The California Collegiate League is a non-profit organization incorporated by seven non-profit amateur baseball organizations in the greater Southern California and Las Vegas areas dedicated to the development of student-athletes from across the country. The CCL organizes a 36-game championship season (teams play a total of approximately 50 league and non-league games) from June 1-Aug 15 annually and requires its players to use wood bats and professional-level baseballs to further their development as prospects. There are approximately 230 collegiate athletes participating in the league this year, 48% of the athletes are D-I players, representing 19 D-I conferences and 53 D-I schools, 48% are D-II-III, NAIA and Junior College athletes and 4% are undecided.


Jim Harbison - Inconsistency of the City Council

    Last year at this time Mayor Miyagishima had a revelation. He had read “somewhere” that driving while using a cell phone was 20-times more dangerous than drunken driving. He set out on a campaign to prohibit the practice in Las Cruces. There was no overwhelming public outcry for this legislation. Each Council member supposedly queried their constituents and determined that this activity was so dangerous and such a threat to the public safety that it was absolutely necessary to enact sweeping legislation to end this extremely dangerous activity. So dangerous in fact that it would warrant up to 90 days in jail
    Ironically and coincidentally this was prior to the fall campaign season. Did the Council pass this to convince their constituents they were truly looking out for their best interests? Despite numerous citizen comments opposing this legislation they passed this “critical public safety measure”. They imposed increasing fines for repeat offenses that included fines of up to $500 and 90 days in jail. It also included mandatory appearance in court to insure the offender was sufficiently repentant (and inconvenienced). The law went into effect in early 2010.
    That was then, this is now. At the City Council meeting on July 19th the Police Department presented a resolution to change the penalty structure from an increasing fine for repeated offences to a ”penalty assessment” of $126 for each offense. This was driven, in part, by the inability of the police officer issuing the ticket to be able to determine if this was the first offense or a repeated offense. In addition, by changing it from a progressive fine to a penalty assessment it would enable the offender to mail in the fine in lieu of the mandatory court appearance. As an unintended consequence this has the positive effect of reducing the workload on the municipal courts.
    Under the current Code there are five levels of fines. These range from $56 for parking violations and inoperative equipment; $76 for minor moving violations including failure to use seat belts or child safety seats; $126 for more significant moving violations and excessive speed; and two other categories that had increments to nearly $300 which included reckless driving and driving under the influence. The police department surveyed other cities to determine the fines charged for similar offenses. Based on their study, and the fact that the fines would no longer be progressive with repeated offenses, they recommended a standard fine of $126.
    Councilor Connor immediately objected saying this was too much and that her constituents could not afford that level. She recommended that fine be equivalent to a parking violation of $56. Only two of the current City Council opposed this. Both Councilor Small and Mayor Miyagishima thought that the fines should be, as a minimum, equivalent to a minor moving violation fine of $76 which would be appropriate since under the ordinance the offender must be operating the vehicle (moving violation).
    I find it extremely difficult to understand how this “critical public safety” law that the City Council felt was absolutely essential has been relegated to the equivalent of a “parking violation” offense. What changed it from an extremely dangerous driving offense to a minor non-moving violation? Was it originally necessary or was the Council then pandering to a group of vocal individuals? Did the Council fail to do their due diligence prior to passing the legislation or was it just political theater prior to the fall 2009 election?
    No matter the cause, the current penalty demonstrates the insincerity of the City Council and is just another embarrassment for them.

Scapegoating Brown-Skinned Children

Republicans are in full scapegoat mode right now, and they are taking this country into uglier and uglier territory. Their scapegoat is the immigrant who is here illegally. They want to make life absolutely as miserable as possible for these immigrants. Witness Arizona. But not only that. They want the sins of the parents to be visited on the children. Read more here:

John Stossel - Private Enterprise Does It Better

John Stossel
In "Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity," I bet my readers $1,000 that they couldn't name one thing that government does better than the private sector. I am yet to pay. Free enterprise does everything better. Why? Because if private companies don't do things efficiently, they lose money and die. Unlike government, they cannot compel payment through the power to tax. Even when a private company operates a public facility under contract to government, it must perform. If it doesn't, it will be "fired" -- its contract won't be renewed. Government is never fired. Read more here:

David Corn - The Grand Fudge

David Corn
Afghanistan has been much in the news this week. Not because the war there is costing the country $100 billion a year and a national discussion has broken out about its prosecution. Not because the House was voting on a $59 billion bill to fund the war. (The measure passed on a 308-114 vote, with 102 Democrats voting nay.) What nudged the under-cover, under-debated, under-discussed war onto the national radar screen was the news that the Wikileaks website had posted 92,000 classified U.S. military reports from Afghanistan that overall presented a grim picture of the war. And this was bad for the White House, for any high-profile discussion of Afghanistan risks casting light on a fundamental reality: The Obama administration's war policy is based on a contradiction. Read more:


Missouri - Health Care Provision REJECTED

Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a key provision of President Barack Obama's health care law, sending a clear message of discontent to Washington and Democrats less than 100 days before the midterm elections. About 71 percent of Missouri voters backed a ballot measure, Proposition C, that would prohibit the government from requiring people to have health insurance or from penalizing them for not having it. The Missouri law conflicts with a federal requirement that most people have health insurance or face penalties starting in 2014. Tuesday's vote was seen as largely symbolic because federal law generally trumps state law. But it was also seen as a sign of growing voter disillusionment with federal policies and a show of strength by conservatives and the tea party movement. Read more here: