Tom Molitor - Does NM Have a Chris Christie Candidate?

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made some big promises to get elected last November – even bigger than his suit size (Christie is northbound of 300 pounds). Christie campaigned on the promise that he would make the tough choices needed to address the $11 billion state deficit without raising taxes. Christie is a Republican. But it doesn’t matter which party a candidate is running on this year. This fall, 37 governorships and 6,000 legislative seats are up for grabs, and voters are looking for candidates able to make the tough fiscal choices as has Christie in his first seven months in office. Read more here:

Ahead in the Polls Pearce Offers Debates Anyway

    Harry Teague
From the - Republican Steve Pearce today challenged the incumbent member of Congress he’s trying to unseat, Democrat Harry Teague, to 10 “town-hall style” debates across the 2nd Congressional District before the Nov. 2 election. Teague’s spokeswoman said a response would be coming. Pearce said in a news release that the two should take part in the 10 debates in at least eight counties, “in addition to the traditional media-sponsored debates already proposed.” Currently the campaigns are negotiating with media outlets to conduct two or three formal debates during the last two months of the campaign, Pearce’s release states, adding that Pearce has agreed to appear with and debate Teague at any time during the campaign.
   Steve Pearce
“The people of our district have the right to see their candidates in a side-by-side setting to find out exactly where both of us stand on the issues,” Pearce said. “Ten debates in eight different counties would give the people of Southern New Mexico multiple opportunities to ask the candidates various questions and make an informed decision.”


Armstrong Williams - On Hope and a Prayer

Armstrong Williams
It’s no secret that Election Season 2010 has already begun. The first off-year election for the party of a sitting president has historically been messy. This year promises to be no different. Obama’s approval numbers are buoyed only by the cellar-like approval ratings of congressional Democrats. In many respects, the congressional campaigns started the day President Obama was elected. He knew the odds were stacked against him: a Depression era economy, two unpopular wars and a foreign perspective of the United States as a modern-day Evil Empire. The White House’s tactical response was as easily-wrought as it was to state in a soundbite – it was all Bush’s fault. Read more here:


Germany: Fiscal Sanity Can Be a Source of Confidence

Angela Merkel
On a late June afternoon in Berlin, Germany’s Angela Merkel has come to the main conference hall in the Chancellery building to deliver a stark message on the need to reduce budget deficits. “If there’s another crisis, we won’t be able to pay for it unless we get onto a path of sustainable growth,” says Merkel, her hands resting above the national eagle emblem on the lectern. While the deficit in Germany, at about 4.5 percent of gross domestic product this year, is smaller than those in most euro zone countries, the chancellor is not satisfied, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its September issue. The road to prosperity begins with austerity, she says, and Germany will show its neighbors how it’s done. Read more here:


Hassett: Obama's Obsession Drives Progress in Reverse

Days before Michelle Obama jetted off to her lavish vacation in Spain, her husband the president visited a General Motors plant in Hamtramck, Michigan. Defending his policy of nationalizing GM and Chrysler, Barack Obama described the auto industry as “what has been the heart and soul of American manufacturing, what has built a middle class not just here in Detroit, but all throughout the Midwest, what has made us proud and has been a symbol of our economic power.” With that, Obama revealed his obsession with manufacturing.
While other presidents have shared this unhealthy fixation -- see George W. Bush’s Manufacturing in America strategy -- Obama has raised it to another level. Manufacturing has been on a more-or-less-steady decline as a share of national output for decades, part of the natural evolution of the U.S. economy. It’s time politicians stop calling this a national crisis. Lots of firms went bankrupt during the recession without the federal government sweeping in to save them. Big manufacturing firms had to be rescued because of their symbolic power. Massive government intervention, it seems, is advisable to save the auto industry because manufacturing output is somehow more valuable than other types of output. Like the rest of Obama’s economic policy, the foundation for this idea is nonexistent. Small wonder his economists are quitting. Read more here:


Tax Cuts Are Only Way to Economic Growth

David Blanchflower
If we don’t act fast, a plunge into depression is a growing risk in both the U.S. and the U.K. Quantitative easing will probably have to be started again this year in both countries. The so-called Bush tax cuts, which are scheduled to expire at the end of the year, should be extended as soon as possible. In the U.K., the draconian public-spending cuts alongside the increase in value-added tax planned for the end of the year should both be scrapped. Now is the time to cut taxes, not increase them. Payroll tax holidays are the way to go. U.S. unemployment remains worryingly high at 9.5 percent and initial jobless claims are up again. Banks are still not lending, especially to small businesses and even though mortgage rates are at historic lows, house prices show no signs of recovering. Consumer confidence is down and spending is slowing. Read more here:


Del Hanson - No Congressman Left Behind

Del Hanson
With impeccable timing, just as teachers returned to school, the New Mexico Public Education Department released the latest AYP standings. Plastered over anxiously waiting front pages of newspapers, it ominously announced that about three-fourths of schools did not make AYP, up from about two-thirds the year before and about half the year before that. Letters to the editors and sound-off columns were filled with nasty comments deriding teachers and observing that “them gummamint schools” were failing worse than ever before. Instead of returning to school rooms with the floors waxed and fresh new faces awaiting them, teachers once again faced the unkind comments generated by a system that, by testing design, consigns them to not making the grade. By the year 2014, unless drastically amended, the NCLB law will leave all, that is 100%, of public schools not making AYP. Crazy? Absurd? It is the law.
So what is AYP? It is an evaluation device associated with the No Child Left Behind law which ranks schools. For all the billions of dollars paid to testing companies and weeks of school lost to tedious testing procedure, it provides actual teachers with little useful information about individual students. Instead, it paints different groupings of children within schools with the broad brush stroke of “being or not being proficient.” The tests administered are not consistent throughout the nation, with each state devising their own exams and assigning their own proficiency levels. New Mexico, believe it or not, set some of the highest proficiency requirements in the nation. Therefore, a state like Texas can have hundreds of more schools making AYP than New Mexico, not only because of student ability, but because its standard of proficiency is different. Furthermore, the passing score for proficiency does not remain constant; it is a moving target. By the year 2014, every student in public school in the United States of America must be proficient in math and reading.
In the wonderful NPR radio broadcast of the “Prairie Home Companion” starring Garrison Keillor, the opening lines describe the little hamlet of Lake Wobegon as the place where all men are good looking, all women are strong, and all children are above average. Despite common sense and the standard deviation “Bell” curve, the gurus of education will, by decree, make all children above average in 2014.
The vast majority of the public probably concludes that attainment of AYP status is determined by averaging the scores of all the children taking the exam and comparing that with the desired proficiency level. Not so. That is too easy. Instead, the population is disaggregated or broken down into subgroups which are scrutinized separately. In Las Cruces, that means there will be sub-classifications of not only male and female, but Hispanic, Anglo, Native American, Black, and Asian, disadvantaged, special education, and English Language Learners (ELL). The same student may fall into several categories; for example, a single child may be classified female, and ELL, and Hispanic, and disadvantaged (receives a subsidized lunch). In most schools, about thirty-seven categories are examined. Out of a group of 500 juniors taking test, some groupings may be large, such as 255 females and 245 males. Some maybe very small, such as special ed where there may be 54, or maybe only 31 ELL students. If any one of the thirty-seven groups does not achieve the desired proficiency level, the whole school fails. Yes, you heard correctly. It is quite possible a school suffers non-proficiency in all thirty seven categories, but highly unlikely. Instead, it is much more likely that the school is passing most categories, but still does not make AYP because a few do not pass muster. It is akin to giving a test to an entire classroom of children and announcing that they will receive punishment if all of them do not pass. When the results come back, after weeks of intensive study and preparation by all the kids, one special education student with a diagnosed learning disability fails the test. The rest pass. The whole class receives punishment, however. Obviously, it is hardly fair as well as being an horrible use of educational strategy. Notice I did not say if they all passed they would receive a reward. NCLB is underlain and predicated on punishment. And, like Dante’s Inferno, there are increasingly horrendous levels of punishment, in this case for the sin of not having all subgroups pass the test.
Let me be even more specific. Let’s say 500 students are in the testing population. Unless at least 95% of the group takes the test, the entire school fails, no matter what the scores were. Schools hope and pray that a flu virus does not rage through the population or that parents of ELL migrant children don’t pull their children out to work in another agricultural region. Of the 500 who take the test, let us presume 43 are in the sub-category of special ed. That is less than ten percent of the group. If only 23 of that small sampling pass the test, the whole school fails, even though the other 90 percent of the students passed the exam. Now, let’s look at a school across the county that only has 28 special ed students. All 28 fail the test, which is many more than the previous school. That school can actually make AYP! You see, the scores of that subgroup are not counted, because the sample falls under the arbitrary limit. This allows many smaller schools to make AYP while almost all large schools do not make it. Los Alamos High School in New Mexico has been repeatedly named one of the top 100 schools in America, but it cannot make AYP. Cloudcroft High School makes AYP. Does that imply that Cloudcroft High School is a better school than Los Alamos? No, probably not. Both schools may be excellent, but not because one made AYP and the other doesn’t. Having a dozen National Merit Finalists and the largest number of students per capita in the nation taking advanced placement courses does not make you AYP friendly. Not in New Mexico.
As an editorial writer, I have been accused by some as being a “bleeding heart liberal afraid of accountability for teachers” because I have adamantly opposed NCLB from its inception. In fact, I left the education profession because I observed that NCLB robs the classroom of the creativity, innovation and joy that used to be the staple of good teaching. I am probably more liberal than Newt but more conservative than the new Republican senator from Massachusetts. I am decidedly not against accountability. I am, however, against enforced stupidity, of which NCLB is riddled, with contributions coming from both sides of the aisle. It has been a multi-billion dollar boondoggle and has not produced any demonstrable positive results. It has effectively demoralized America’s best and brightest teachers. After eight years and untold megabucks of spending, NCLB has done little but provide test manufacturers with a lucrative jobs program.
So did your school make AYP? It really doesn’t matter. The Gallup Poll still shows that most Americans think their neighborhood school is just fine, but all those others out there aren’t. The American public, for the most part, understands that not making AYP does not mean a school is a failing school. Allow me to propose something. Let’s have a “No Congressperson Left Behind” law. One misstep and there are ascending degrees of punishment until you are thrown out on your kiester. This would mean consequences, real consequences, for insider information given to family members, wide stances at urinals in the men’s room, accepting illegal gifts to lobbyists, lying, cheating, or embarrassing the entire nation and your family by being an idiot. How about some real accountability in Congress like it is applied to teachers? No Congressperson Left Behind. I would support that.


Big Oil faces new rules after disaster

Editorial - Santa Fe -Environmentalists were aghast when, just this spring, President Barack Obama announced an energy initiative encouraging offshore oil drilling. Only a few weeks later, the president and the rest of the nation got a lesson in the risks of running roughshod over Mother Nature: We're still holding our breath over efforts to put a final cap on the disastrous Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf was to have been the scene of a new oil rush. Our chagrined president and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar quickly put the kibosh on their own plans with a half-year moratorium on deepwater drilling. Legal battles are still being waged over that moratorium, and over the comparative safety of other rigs out there — but the ban is in place for now. Would the Deepwater Horizon have been dangerous if the federal Minerals Management Service hadn't been lip-locked with the oil companies it was supposed to be regulating — and if corporate bosses hadn't been sloppy about following the rig's safety procedures? Hard to say — but our distraught nation has an idea ... It's been clear for the past few months that Obama's people need to rid the minerals-management agency of the bribed-up, oil-cozy officials who thrived under his predecessor before even thinking of allowing any more drilling in water deeper than 500 feet. On Monday, the administration said there'll be no more fast-tracking of deepwater projects. That means an end of previous exemptions from environmental review. Yup — under a policy of leniency imposed by the Ronald Reagan administration in the 1980s... Read more

Mayor to Appear at 8:00am on NewsNM

Ken Miyagishima
Mayor Ken Miyagishima will be a guest on News New Mexico at 8:00am this morning. We will discuss the controversy surrounding the city's use of eminent domain to seize a private water company on the east mesa. We will also seek an update on the stalled Special Assessment District project that was to pave the extension of North Sonoma Ranch Boulevard and provide an access road to Monte Vista Elementary School. Other topics for discussion will include, dust ordinances, impact fees, sign ordinances, and acoustics and safety issues at the new $34 million City Hall building.

Border War Continues Unabated

While the United States House of Representatives prepares to consider dubious legislation that would prevent regular law enforcement and border patrols in newly designated "WILDERNESS AREAS," along the border, local citizens must contemplate the resulting creation of a corridor in Southern Dona Ana County for drug and human smugglers to use. In the meantime, the war across the border involving law enforcement officials and drug cartels rages.
According to the El Paso Times, two Ciudad Juarez police officers were shot and killed yesterday afternoon in Ju├írez. Apparently the officers were in a patrol vehicle when they were shot by gunmen who fired from a moving vehicle about 3 p.m. on Avenida Gomez Morin, a police spokesman said. Once the officer behind the wheel was hit, he lost control of the patrol vehicle and crashed into a tree. The officers were reportedly assigned to prison transport duties. With these latest murders the number of police officers killed in Juarez this year rises to 32.

Blago Headed for Jail? Then Back to Court?

Rod Blagojevich
U.S. prosecutors vowed to retry former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich after failing to win a conviction on 23 of the 24 corruption charges he faced. Blagojevich, a 53-year-old Democrat, was accused of linking official acts, including selecting President Barack Obama’s Senate successor, to campaign contributions and personal favors. A jury in federal court in Chicago yesterday found him guilty only of making a false statement to federal investigators. The jurors failed to reach the necessary unanimous decision on the other charges. U.S. District Judge James Zagel declared a mistrial on those counts. Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar told the judge “it is absolutely our intention” to retry those counts, which include racketeering and wire fraud. Read more here:


Andy Xie - China Swallows Obama Stimulus

Andy Xie
The global economy is like fried ice cream: If you don’t act fast, it turns into a mess. American pundits, Nobel laureates included, are predicting Japan-style deflation for the U.S. and Europe. They are urging the Federal Reserve to pursue another round of quantitative easing to stop the onset of an Ice Age for Western economies. The Fed didn’t oblige at its last meeting, but it threw a bone to the deflation crowd by promising not to pull money out of its previous round of asset purchases to stimulate a recovery. On the other side of the world, consumer prices are surging. Emerging markets as a whole now have an inflation rate of more than 5 percent. India is registering price increases of more than 13 percent. China’s are more than 3 percent. But it surely feels a lot higher for average Chinese. Read more here:


China Growing Weary of Western Currencies

China more than doubled South Korean debt holdings this year, spurring the notes’ longest rally in more than three years, as policy makers shifted part of the world’s largest foreign-exchange reserves out of dollars. Korean Treasury bonds held by Chinese investors rose 111 percent to 3.99 trillion won ($3.4 billion) in the first half of the year, data from the Seoul-based Financial Supervisory Service show. China should allocate some reserves to “financial assets in major Asian economies,” Ding Zhijie, a former adviser to China’s sovereign wealth fund, said in an Aug. 16 interview. “The significance of both the dollar and euro has declined because of the global financial crisis and the European debt crisis, while the role of some emerging-market currencies rose,” said Ding, dean of finance at Beijing’s University of International Business and Economics. Read more here:


Thomas Sowell - Dismantling America: Part II

"We the people" are the central concern of the Constitution, as well as its opening words, since it is a Constitution for a self-governing nation. But "we the people" are treated as an obstacle to circumvent by the current administration in Washington. One way of circumventing the people is to rush legislation through Congress so fast that no one knows what is buried in it. Did you know that the so-called health care reform bill contained a provision creating a tax on people who buy and sell gold coins? Read more here:

Walter Williams - Will Republicans Save Us?

Walter Williams
Democrat control of the White House, House of Representatives and the Senate has produced an unprecedented level of political brazenness and contempt for the limitations placed on the federal government by the U.S. Constitution. As such, it has raised a level of constitutional interest and anger against Washington's interference in our lives that has been dormant for far too long.
Part of this heightened interest and anger is seen in the strength of the tea party movement around the nation. Another is the angry reception that many congressmen receive when they return to their districts and at town hall meetings. According to the most recent Gallup poll, only 20 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, but that's up from a March 2010 low of 16 percent. Read more here:

Sharon Thomas - S.A.D.

Sharon Thomas
A recent posting by Michael Swickard contained many inaccuracies and reflects an incomplete understanding of the elements involved in the effort to extend Sonoma Ranch Boulevard north from U.S. Highway 70 to two new public schools and the new Las Cruces Country Club golf course. Here is what has happened to date: For some time now, the members of the Las Cruces Country Club (LCCC) have been anxiously waiting for their new golf course and club house located north of US-70 at the end of the proposed Sonoma Ranch Boulevard. Originally, the LCCC had an agreement with the developer, Mr. Philip Phillippou, to obtain their new facility. Mr. Phillippou would build a new LCCC golf course and clubhouse and the LCCC would give Mr. Phillippou their old golf course and country club located at Solano and N. Main. Read more here: