Haussamen: Upheaval at the Roundhouse

From NM - by Heath Haussamen, There’s been a lot going on at the Roundhouse in the week after voters dictated a massive shift in power. Budget numbers are getting dramatically worse, leadership positions are up for grabs, political appointees are moving to classified jobs and the incoming governor is threatening to fire them all. How things are going to shake out isn’t clear. But here’s where things stand:
• The Richardson administration said Thursday that the state’s budget shortfall will be at least $452 million next year. That’s almost $200 million more than the Legislative Finance Committee has estimated, because the Richardson administration isn’t assuming that the new Legislature and governor will renew cost-saving measures that expire at the end of the year. In addition, federal stimulus money is drying up.
• After the Albuquerque Journal reported that additional Richardson political appointees had moved into classified jobs in recent months – which would seem to make their jobs more secure – the Martinez transition team sent a letter to Richardson demanding that it halt such moves and stating anyone who makes such a move after Nov. 3 will be fired when Susana Martinez takes office.
• There may or may not be a new speaker of the House in January. Rep. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces is considering running, even exploring the possibility of a bipartisan coalition. That could lead to Cervantes becoming speaker. Or House Democrats might pick someone else to be speaker. Or Ben Luján could retain the position.
• House Republicans might also change leadership. Rep. Larry Larrañaga of Albuquerque is challenging Tom Taylor of Farmington for the position of minority leader at this weekend’s caucus meeting.
• There’s even another potential pay-to-play scandal brewing that might affect the administrations of outgoing Gov. Bill Richardson and outgoing Land Commissioner Pat Lyons. Read more

Richardson, Martinez wrangle over state budget

From the New Mexico Independent - Governor-elect Susana Martinez and the outgoing administration Gov. Bill Richardson swapped accusatory statements Thursday over how bad New Mexico’s budget woes are. Before it was all over Martinez was accusing the Richardson administration of playing “financial shell games” to hide the true size of New Mexico’s budget woes while the Richardson administration was questioning Martinez’s understanding of how state budgeting works. The fireworks erupted Thursday afternoon after a top Richardson administration financial official gave the Associated Press a briefing of New Mexico’s budget that projected a $450 million budget shortfall for the year that starts July 1. That projection was based on certain assumptions and was, at the risk of oversimplification, a sort of worst-case scenario. The $450 million figure is significantly higher than the $260 million figure the Legislature was briefed on earlier this fall. The lower estimate was based on a different set of assumptions than the scenario outlined to the Associated Press on Thursday. But once the $450 million number was out, Martinez issued a blistering statement accusing the Richardson administration of playing hide-the-bad-financial-news. Read more

Voters approve Arizona medical marijuana measure

From - By a narrow margin, Arizona voters have given their OK to legalized medical marijuana for people with chronic or debilitating diseases. The decision makes Arizona the 15th state to approve a medical marijuana law. California was the first in 1996, and 13 other states and Washington, D.C., have followed suit. Proposition 203 won by just 4,341 votes out of more than 1.67 million ballots counted, according to final tallies Saturday. Approval came as somewhat of a surprise after the measure started out losing on Election Day by about 7,200 votes. The gap gradually narrowed until it surged ahead during Friday’s count by more than 4,000 votes. Saturday’s final count was 841,346 in favor of the measure and 837,005 opposed. "We really believe that we have an opportunity to set an example to the rest of the country on what a good medical marijuana program looks like," said Andrew Myers, campaign manager for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project. The Arizona measure will allow patients with diseases including cancer, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and any other "chronic or debilitating" disease that meets guidelines to buy 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana every two weeks or grow plants. The patients must get a recommendation from their doctor and register with the Arizona Department of Health Services. The law allows for no more than 124 marijuana dispensaries in the state. After ballots are canvassed Nov. 29, the state has 120 days before the law goes into effect. Backers of Proposition 203 have argued that thousands of patients faced "a terrible choice" of suffering with a serious or even terminal illness or going to the criminal market for pot. They collected more than 252,000 signatures to put the measure on the ballot-- nearly 100,000 more than required. All Arizona’s sheriff’s and county prosecutors, the governor, attorney general and many other politicians came out against the measure. Read more

Swickard column: Negating the negative advertising

Commentary by Michael Swickard - We just finished what seemed to most people to be a forever campaign of hard-hitting, ugly and downright nasty negative advertising. It started with, “How can anyone trust someone who would return a library book in third grade three days late? And, the good people of New Mexico deserve a better representative than someone who would spell chile with an i in seventh grade.” Quickly it moved to, “No one can possibly vote for a candidate who does unspeakable things to small animals in the dead of night.” No lie proved to be too small or liar too big. Only those running unopposed and a few notable exceptions restrained themselves. So we, the public, suffered day after day, week after week. It was relentless. The campaign advertising was like getting the very same tooth filled every day for an entire year. It was tedious at best, mind boggling at worse. Everyone I know was put off by negative advertising this last election cycle. Yet, like the weather, people complain a lot but do nothing about it. What is there to do? For the weather I advise moving to my area because many people cannot identify the several types of snow shovels as anyone in the great north can. As to negative advertising, perhaps there is something to do. I will propose how to stomp it out. Read more

Illegal immigration of American liberals into Canada

From The Blog, Just a Substitute Teacher..... - The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration. The recent actions of the Tea Party are prompting an exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray, and to agree with Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck. Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal-rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night. "I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn," said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota. The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn't have any, he left before I even got a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?" In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. He then installed loudspeakers that blared Rush Limbaugh across the fields. "Not real effective," he said. "The liberals still got through and Rush annoyed the cows so much that they wouldn't give any milk." Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons and drive them across the border where they are simply left to fend for themselves." A lot of these people are not prepared for our rugged conditions," an Ontario border patrolman said. "I found one carload without a single bottle of imported drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley Cabernet, though." When liberals are caught, they're sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about plans being made to build re-education camps where liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR races. In recent days, liberals have turned to ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have been disguised as senior citizens taking a bus trip to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half-dozen young vegans in powdered wig disguises, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior-citizens about Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney to prove that they were alive in the '50s. "If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we become very suspicious about their age." an official said. Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and are renting all the Michael Moore movies. "I really feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them." an Ottawa resident said. "How many art-history majors does one country need?" Read more

Aggie Women's Basketball Stuns North Dakota 82-81 Report
The Aggie women's basketball team won their first game of the 2010-2011 season in dramatic fashion as they rallied from a 15-point first half deficit and an 11-point second half deficit as they trailed 49-38 with 14:07 left in the game but chipped away over the final 14 minutes and took the lead for the very first time when Tabytha Wampler hit a layup out of a timeout with under 10 seconds left to go ahead 82-81. The Aggie defense would hold giving the Aggies the comeback victory.

The Aggies had five players in double-figures as Madison Spence and Tabytha Wampler each scored 20 points. Ariella McGhee would add 14 points while Jasmine Lowe would score 13 and Danisha Corbett would add 10.

Trailing by 10 with 6:40 left in the game, the Aggies would start to cut into the deficit one final time. The Aggies would get a three pointer from Madison Spence to cut the lead to seven points at 70-63. With 4:58 left to play the Aggies would cut the lead down to four points as Danisha Corbett was fouled by Mallory Youngblut while shooting a three pointer. Jasmine Lowe would get a steal and a layup on the next play cutting the deficit to just two points at 72-70.

The Fighting Sioux would answer with a three pointer by Corey Lof to push their lead back to five points at 75-70 with 4:36 left in the game. The Aggies would trim the deficit down to two points with 2:07 to go as Madison Spence would hit a pair of free throws. North Dakota would counter with two free throws from Charnise Mothershed to give the Fighting Sioux a four point lead at 81-77 with 1:41 left in the game. Madison Spence would bury her fourth trey of the night to cut the deficit to just one point at 81-80 with 53 seconds remaining.

The Aggie defense would force Nicole Smart to turn the ball over and with just eight seconds left, Tabytha Wampler would get a layup to give the Aggies their first lead of the game at 82-81. The Fighting Sioux would put up a pair of shots but neither would find the bottom of the basket and the Aggies would hold on for the one point victory. Click here to read more.

Aggie Volleyball Swept At Boise State Report
The Aggie volleyball team was denied their 19th victory of the season falling in three sets to Boise State on Saturday night. The Aggies dropped the first set 25-20, lost in extra points 26-24 in the second set and then fell 25-23 in the third set. The Aggies fall to 18-11 overall and 12-3 in WAC play as the Broncos' victory snapped a 13-match winning streak by the Aggies in the series.

Kayleigh Giddens recorded 11 kills on the night tying her for the single-season record at 499 kills, however, the Aggies hit just .032 as a team committing 27 attack errors.

Along with Kayleigh Giddens, Boise State's Alisha Young was the only other player in double-digit kills also finishing with 11. Young finished with the best hitting percentage on the court finished with a match-high .348 with just three errors. Kelsey Breannan and Boise State's Cailin Fellows each recorded nine kills. Rocio Gutierrez finished with just six kills after recording a career-high 17 against Idaho. Fiona Jones finished with eight kills for the Broncos.

The Aggies were out-blocked in the match 13-10 but out-dug the Broncos 39-33 with Kelsi Phillips recording a match-high 15.

The Aggies return home for their regular season finale against Utah State on Wednesday night in the Pan American Center. Click here to read more.