Another Triumph for the Greens: To go with toilets that don’t flush and light bulbs that don’t light, we now have dishwashers that don’t wash.

From the Weekly Standard - by Johnathan V. Last - My dishwasher is an amazing machine. The manual runs a brisk 63 pages. I read it cover to cover, highlighting and annotating as I went, marking the manufacturer’s preferred method of arranging dishes and the proper way to sit utensils in the dedicated wash basket. At first the dishes were so clean you could eat off of them. But a few months ago I started noticing problems. A fork would come out with food between the tines; a glass would have bits of grime stuck to the bottom. Surely this was a fluke? Alas, no. My dishwasher no longer shines. What went wrong? It so happens that in the last six months, a lot of people have suddenly discovered their dishwashers don’t work as well as they used to. The problem, though, isn’t the dishwashers. It’s the soap. Last July, acceding to pressure from environmentalists, America’s dishwasher detergent manufacturers decided to change their formulas. And the new detergents stink. One of the key ingredients in dish detergent is (or was) phosphorus. Phosphorus is a sociable element, bonding easily and well with others. In detergent, it strips food and grease off dirty dishes and breaks down calcium-based stains. It also keeps the dirt suspended in water, so it can’t reattach to dishes. Best of all, it prevents the washed-away grime and minerals from gumming up the inner-workings of your dishwasher. Traditionally, phosphorus was loaded into dish detergent in the form of phosphates, which are compounds of phosphorus bonded to oxygen. Prior to last July, most detergents were around 8 percent elemental phosphorus. Now they’re less than 0.5 percent phosphorus. Read more News New Mexico

Republican Bill to End Medical Marijuana Program

From -A bill put forward by a freshman state legislator would repeal New Mexico’s medical marijuana program. A spokesman for Gov. Susana Martinez said she would sign the bill if it came across her desk, according to the Associated Press The bill, put forward by Rep. Jim Smith, R-Sandia Park, would end New Mexico’s medicinal marijuana program by repealing the entire medical marijuana program law. The text of HB 593 is available on the state legislature’s website. The medical marijuana program “sends a bad message to kids, that somehow marijuana is good for you,” Smith told the Associated Press. The bill has not yet been heard by its first committee, the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee.

Push For State Level Single-Payer Health Care

From - Obama cited that opt-out provision in his speech to the governors today as evidence of not only what a flexible program ObamaCare is but how interested he is in cost control. Yet while he was telling them that, the White House was telling the left something different: Health care advisers Nancy-Ann DeParle and Stephanie Cutter stressed on the off-record call that the rule change would allow states to implement single-payer health care plans — as Vermont seeks to — and true government-run plans, like Connecticut’s Sustinet. The source on the call summarizes the officials’ point — which is not one the Administration has sought to make publically — as casting the new “flexibility” language as an opportunity to try more progressive, not less expansive, approaches on the state level. “They are trying to split the baby here: on one hand tell supporters this is good for their pet issues, versus a message for the general public that the POTUS is responding to what he is hearing and that he is being sensible,” the source emails.  More News New Mexico

Google Backs Global Warming Insurance Company

From -Google on Monday was among investors pumping $42 million into a climate change inspired technology startup that calculates the chances of crops being ruined by weather.  WeatherBill launched Total Weather Insurance in 2010 as a way for US farmers protect themselves against being devastated by weather, which the US Department of Agriculture blamed for 90 percent of crop losses last year. "The flip flop of weather from one year to the next is the biggest challenge farmers face," said Steve Wolters, a farmer who grows corn, soybean and wheat in the US state of Ohio. "It makes sense to me to take advantage of WeatherBill's automated weather insurance programs that pinpoint the weather conditionns expected to affect my land and pay me if they happen." WeatherBill continuously aggregates weather data and runs large-scale weather simulations on its computers.   More News New Mexico

U.S. Sending Aid Teams to Border!

Newsnm note - (Spence) We got all excited when we saw this headline. Then we realized that it was not the Mexican border where tens of thousands of people (many of the victims Americans) have been murdered. Nope, this headline refers to another border, one that Washington D.C. cares much more about. The story is about the Libyan borders......with Egypt and Tunisia. Oh well. At least for a few brief seconds we actually thought somebody cared.
Hillary Clinton
Fox News  - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the U.S. is sending assistance teams to Libya's borders with Egypt and Tunisia. The teams will help desperate refugees trying to flee a potential civil war. Clinton says the U.S. has pledged $10 million to help refugees. Speaking after a day of discussions with European allies in Switzerland, Clinton says the U.S. is leaving all its options on the table to deal with Libya. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Increasing Transparency and Accessibility

Heath Haussamen
NMPolitics - by Heath Haussamen - When people ask what motivates me to publish this site, I point to instances like the exchange I had with two senators while I was in Santa Fe last week. Senators passed a rule that gives them the authority to quiz someone who wants to photograph or film a public committee meeting and then decide whether to allow them to do it. The rule – and the enforcement of it, as illustrated by the questions asked of me last week – is simply not constitutional. I detest attempts, intentional or otherwise, to shut the public out of the public’s business. So I devote a great deal of time to promoting government transparency and accessibility. Last week, that included calling senators out for their attempt to decrease accessibility. It also included publicly challenging the governor to webcast meetings of the State Investment Council, and it was rewarding to have her respond by announcing that she would do just that. Read rest of column here: News New Mexico

Schmitt: Senator Lopez Made False Statements

Harrison Schmitt
NMPolitics - by Harrison Jack Schmitt - The chairperson of the N.M. Senate Rules Committee, Democrat Linda Lopez, repeatedly has made false and erroneous statements about the reason for my withdrawal as secretary-designate for the Energy Department. The simple truth is that I agreed to background investigations by both the Rules Committee and the Department of Public Safety. I only said “no” to releasing Ms. Lopez’s handpicked private eyes from liability for the misuse of personal and family information. I did not say “no” to the committee having full access to that information. Read full column here: News New Mexico

Schmitt and Richardson Do Weekend Op-eds

Bill Richardson
Capitol Report New Mexico - Over the weekend, former Gov. Bill Richardson and former nominee for Secretary of the state’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, each appeared on the opinion pages of two different newspapers. The New York Times asked a number of former governors to write about “difficulties their successors face — and provide guidance on how to conquer them.” Read full story here: News New Mexico

NYC Pays 1,500 Teachers to Perform Union Duties

From -In the city's funny math, you get only one teacher for the price of two. The Department of Education pays about 1,500 teachers for time they spend on union activities -- and pays other teachers to replace them in the classroom.  It's a sweetheart deal that costs taxpayers an extra $9 million a year to pay fill-ins for instructors who are sprung -- at full pay -- to carry out responsibilities for the United Federation of Teachers.  With Mayor Bloomberg calling for thousands of teacher layoffs to balance the 2012 budget, critics say it's time to halt the extravagant benefit. "In these tight fiscal times, it defies common sense to pay two different people to do one job," said Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union, a government watchdog. "It's a waste of money." That $9 million would cover the salaries of 198 new teachers at the current annual $45,530 starting pay.  More News New Mexico

What The School Districts Don’t Tell You

by Ben Levine - When discussing the cost of public education, many times people will provide the figure of cost per-student. However, this is not an accurate representation of how much education costs. Rather, schools should publish cost per-graduate. To use an analogy, think of Major League Baseball. Often times, players get bonuses in the playoffs for hits, home runs, or other accomplishments. However, it’d be ridiculous for a team to pay a player merely for swings. According to a CATO Institute report on the 5 largest school districts in America, as well as the D.C. school district, the actual cost per-student is 44% higher than the “official” figure that the district releases, some districts choose to exclude health benefits to employees from their total expenditures as if tax payers are not paying for those benefits. Sometimes districts will even leave out expenses on buildings and classrooms, which is even more ridiculous because these very facilities are necessary to produce successful students. Read more News New Mexico

Iran Has Several Military Bases in Libya

From - In an interview today on the Al Arabyia news network, an informed source within the Revolutionary Guards Corps revealed that Iran has several military bases in Libya.  The source, who requested anonymity due to his sensitive position within the Guards, elaborated further that the Iranian military bases are located mostly along Libya’s borders with the African countries of Chad and Niger. From there, he said, the Guards actively smuggle arms and supply logistical assistance to rebellious groups in the African countries.  According to this source, Guards enter Libya under the guise of oil company employees. Most of these companies are under the control of the Revolutionary Guards. The source, who is a colonel in the Guards, added that Gaddafi and his government are quite aware of these activities and have even signed joint contracts with those Iranian oil companies so that the the Guards can enter Libya without any trouble. The colonel stated that with the current unrest in Libya, over 500 Guards  have been unable to evacuate and are under orders to destroy all documents. According to this source, the military collaborations between the Revolutionary Guards and the Gaddafi government date back to 2006.  More News New Mexico

California Public Pensions Collide with Reality

Bloomberg - California should scale back pension promises to public workers and reshape the benefits system to make it similar to those used in industry to rein in costs, a state oversight panel recommended. Government pension costs are no longer sustainable, the independent Little Hoover Commission said yesterday. It called on lawmakers and Democratic Governor Jerry Brown to hold benefits at current levels and recalculate yet-to-be-earned payments under a new hybrid that includes elements of a traditional pension plan and a 401(k) account where beneficiaries bear the investment risk.
The rising cost and underfunding of public employee pensions has sparked a national debate, most recently in Wisconsin where Republican Governor Scott Walker has asked the Legislature to boost contributions from state workers. California’s 10 largest public pension funds were short a combined $240 billion in 2010, the commission found. “California’s pension plans are dangerously underfunded, the result of overly generous benefit promises, wishful thinking and an unwillingness to plan prudently,” commission President Daniel Hancock said in a letter to lawmakers and Brown yesterday. “Unless aggressive reforms are implemented now, the problem will get far worse, forcing counties and cities to severely reduce services and lay off employees to meet pension obligations.” Read full story here: News New Mexico


Newly Released FBI Files on Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy
From Doug Ross- Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained previously redacted material from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) file of the late Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy...The documents include a December 28, 1961, State Department memo describing a tour of several Latin American countries taken by then-Assistant District Attorney of Suffolk County Kennedy. This document as it was originally made public was almost completely redacted. After an initial challenge by Judicial Watch, a version with fewer redactions was released. Judicial Watch continued to argue that the blackouts were baseless and, after six more months, the FBI relented. Among the statements previously withheld but now made available to Judicial Watch.  More News New Mexico

Film Subsidy Deal Taking Shape

Ben Lujan
Santa Fe New Mexican - New Mexico will limit film production subsidies to $45 million a year under a proposal approved by a House committee Saturday after Democrats yielded to Republican demands to scale back the measure. House Speaker Ben Luján, D-Santa Fe, was unable to push through a higher subsidy limit, a reflection that Democrats no longer enjoy a solid majority in the House because of GOP gains in last year's elections. "It's better than nothing," Luján said after the Taxation and Revenue Committee unanimously endorsed the film subsidy measure. The bill goes to the House for debate and a possible vote. The film industry opposes the revised measure. "This is a job killer," Eric Witt, executive director of the Motion Picture Association of New Mexico, said after the committee vote.
The bill was developed by House leaders as a potential compromise to free up about $25 million next year for budget increases sought by GOP Gov. Susana Martinez for schools, health care and public safety programs. The state provides a 25 percent tax credit on expenditures by film and television projects in New Mexico. Martinez has advocated reducing the subsidy to 15 percent, saving about $25 million next year. Democrats and film industry representatives have scrambled for weeks to find a middle-ground proposal that can win approval in the Legislature. Film industry supporters say a reduction in the rebate rate will discourage movie and television projects from coming to New Mexico. On Friday, Luján had suggested a $65 million yearly subsidy limit. That was rolled back to $60 million when Luján outlined his bill Saturday to the committee. However, the measure failed on a 7-7 tie, with Republicans and one Democrat opposing it. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Haussamen: Interesting Budget Dynamics

Heath Haussamen
NMPolitics - While I’ve been in Santa Fe this week, I’ve been talking to people about the state budget and found that there are some interesting and, in some instances, unconventional dynamics in play. For example, a Republican governor is proposing cutting government incentives for an out-of-state industry (the film industry). She’s also pushing smaller cuts in Medicaid than many lawmakers and proposing exempting teachers from employee increases to retirement plans. On the flip side, it’s largely a group of Democrats who are opposing cuts to the film program based on the argument that the industry is creating economic development and boosting the state’s economy. And Martinez’s proposal to exempt teachers from increased pension payments is going nowhere in the Legislature. Read full column here: News New Mexico

O'Reilly: Getting Schooled in Wisconsin

Bill O'Reilly
Townhall - Here's a lesson that is both ironic and sad at the same time. According to the U.S. Department of Education, two-thirds of the eighth graders in Wisconsin cannot read proficiently. But assuming the kids are skilled enough to watch TV, they can now see their teachers demonstrating to keep their generous union benefits. So while things do not seem to be going well in the classroom, any thought of holding teachers somewhat responsible is cause for a protest march. As a former high-school teacher, it pains me to criticize those trying to educate American children. You will never become rich doing that, and the job can be maddening. Today, many children are the victims of a permissive society that often refuses to hold kids responsible for their actions. Cowardly parents make excuses for the failures of their kids, rather than finding a solution to their poor academic performance. Instead of preparing their children for rigorous academic challenges, derelict parents sit it out. read full column here: News New Mexico

Near Record Low Temps for Oscars Tonight

Newsnm notes - (Spence) It snowed in San Francisco yesterday for the first time in 35 years. New Mexico has applied for Federal Disaster Relief as a result of damage done by record cold temperatures earlier this month. Now it seems the revealing dresses worn by Hollywood stars as the arrive at the Oscar ceremonies tonight may not be enough to keep them warm. One has to wonder why global warming "deniers" are being supplied with one temperature data point after another that blows holes in the theory.
Accuweather - Alongside reporters, unusually chilly weather will greet Hollywood celebrities at the red carpet ceremonies of Sunday's 83rd annual Academy Awards. Temperatures will only manage to rise to the mid-50s today in Los Angeles, including at the host site of the Oscars, the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. The red carpet ceremony kicks off at 2 p.m. PST. Such a high temperature is more than 10 degrees below normal, making this one of the coldest red carpet ceremonies in Oscar history. In fact, the forecast high of 56 is just two degrees above the record for lowest high temperature for the date. Read full story here: News New Mexico


BOTH Caucuses: Let's EXEMPT Ourselves!

Representative Mimi Stewart of Albuquerque has introduced House Bill 605. The bill would create much greater opportunities than ever for successful influence peddling by incumbent politicians, especially the partisan party bosses in charge of their respective caucuses. HB 605 would EXEMPT both Democratic and Republican Party caucuses from the most fundamental restrictions regarding campaign finance fundraising.
Mimi Stewart
Apparently Representative Stewart is hoping she can easily persuade incumbents in both parties to cast a self-serving vote that gives themselves additional political advantages over their opponents in primaries and general elections. The Albuquerque Journal reported that GOP House Minority Leader Tom Taylor is also on board with this atrocious legislation. Many find it simply astonishing that amidst all the contrived fanfare surrounding countless insignificant bills being introduced in Santa Fe, that there was no pomp or ceremony, let alone a press release regarding this bill. 
Tom Taylor
Why were there no efforts by either Stewart or Taylor to trumpet the wisdom of this proposal? For her part, Stewart pointed to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling when asked by the Albuquerque Journal what her excuse was for introducing such a self-serving bill. And no doubt already too powerful House Speaker Ben Lujan is licking his chops over this new power-grabbing proposal. As New Mexicans learn more about this cynical attempt by party bosses on both sides of the aisle to strengthen the advantages of incumbency, we can only hope that thousands of citizens in our state will shower their elected officials with objections to this outrageous proposal. You can read the bill here: News New Mexico


What the Heck is Going On at the Roundhouse?

Rob Nikolewski
Capitol Report New Mexico - What the heck is going on at the Roundhouse? As we mentioned in an earlier post, some Democrats got annoyed when lower-level staff members of Gov. Martinez started showing up at committee meeting hearings to record the proceedings on Flipcams — and then uploading them onto the governor’s website. (You can access the videos by clicking here.) Even though the proceedings are open to the public and webcast through Senators from both parties passed a measure this week by a 35-3 vote declaring that proceedings can only be photographed or videotaped with the approval of the respective committees’ chairman and vice-chairman. Only Sens. Sander Rue (R-Albuquerque), Mark Boitano (R-Albuquerque) and Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe) voted against the measure, which is pitiful on its face. (NOTE: Rod Adair (R-Roswell) was absent for the vote but says he’s in favor of recording all legislative meetings.) Read full column here: News New Mexico

Open Government Watchdog Group: First Amendment Rights are Being Qualified by Committee Chairs

NMPolitics - The N.M. Foundation for Open Government sent a letter to Senate committee chairs and ranking members today stating that it is “gravely concerned” that senators are placing “new and unconstitutional restrictions” on people wanting to photograph or film public meetings. The letter came after FOG Executive Director Sarah Welsh witnessed an exchange between me and Sens. John Arthur Smith and Sue Wilson Beffort during Thursday’s Finance Committee meeting. Smith and Beffort stopped a hearing to ask who I was and why I wanted to photograph before deciding that I could proceed.
“…we witnessed the rule being implemented in a way that threatens citizens’ First Amendment rights,” Welsh wrote in the letter to senators. She wrote that the exchange between me and the senators “indicates that permission was “predicated on having an identity and a profession or purpose that met with committee approval.” “But the right to film public meetings is not conditional – it is guaranteed to all citizens by the First Amendment,” Welsh wrote. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Good News: Finally We Have Bi-Partisan Spirit - Bad News: It's to Block Open Government

Heath Haussamen
NMPolitics - The state’s Inspection of Public Records Act makes it illegal to ask someone who is requesting public records why they want to see the documents. That’s because they’re records that belong to the public. The reason a member of the public wants to inspect them is none of the government’s business. Similarly, the reason someone wants to photograph or film a public meeting of a legislative committee should be none of the government’s business. Try telling that to the New Mexico Senate. In response to Gov. Susana Martinez’s webcasting and archiving of committee meetings – which she’s using as part of a heavy lobbying effort – the vast majority of senators on Wednesday approved a new resolution requiring permission from the chair and ranking member to film, transmit or photograph a committee meeting. That essentially means you have to justify yourself. The resolution was sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Jennings, D-Roswell. It passed on a vote of 35-3. Read full column here: News New Mexico

"Keep Our Forests Open" Rally Set

It would appear that the citizens will have to take time out of their lives again to preserve a basic freedom. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of New Mexicans are expected to rally in Silver City on Saturday, March 5th against the radicals in the Obama administration. Why? this time it is the U.S. Forest Service’s plans to close access roads inside the Gila Forest. The rally will take place starting at noon at the Silver City Convention Center. “This is the time to come together and say, "enough is enough," Congressman Steve Pearce told about 100 residents of Truth or Consequences Thursday night. “It is time for the Forest Service to keep those roads open to the public.
This is about an attempt to take away another of our freedoms as Americans.” The meeting in Truth or Consequences Thursday night was organized by the new group, “Keep Our Forest Open.” It was created by individuals that have voiced frustration over the Forest Service’s proposed Travel Management Plan, which calls for thousands of miles of roads inside the Gila to be closed. “Can we count on you to be at the rally March 5th in Silver City?” Reverend Mike Skidmore asked at the meeting. Nearly every hand was raised. “We’re just regular people leading everyday lives, but it’s time for folks like us to rise up and let our voice be heard,” said Skidmore. “We are against the Forest Service taking away our access, and we need to let them know it.”
Congressman Pearce is expected to be one of several speakers at the rally in Silver City. The “Keep Our Forest Open” organization said it is working with other organizations that use the forest, including ATV users, hunting and gun clubs, Tea Party activists, and other concerned citizens. All are planning to rally March 5th in Silver City, just two days before the deadline set by the Forest Service for public comments to be made on the issue. “I see everyday people getting energized and motivated to get involved when their freedoms are being threatened such as with the proposed road closures,” Pearce said. “It is amazing what can happen when citizens want freedom. These organizations in New Mexico are gathering momentum, and I anticipate the Forest Service will hear the voices of freedom at the March 5th rally.”


Chavez: Public Union Backlash

Linda Chavez
Townhall - It worked well for the unions so long as Democrats controlled most state houses and governors' offices, but with the 2010 election producing huge gains for Republicans, the chickens are coming home to roost. In Wisconsin, newly elected Gov. Scott Walker wants teachers in the state to start contributing to their pensions and pay a larger share of their health insurance costs to help close a $3.6 billion budget deficit. But he also wants to rein in the power of the unions by limiting their collective bargaining rights and the state's obligation to collect union dues. A similar battle is being waged in Ohio, where Republican Gov. John Kasich is facing an $8 billion deficit but also wants to limit public employee unions' power. In Wisconsin and Indiana, which also has a public employee bill pending, Democratic lawmakers have fled the state in order to avoid having to vote on legislation that would limit public employee union power. Meanwhile, thousands of demonstrators -- teachers as well as Democratic operatives on the left -- have crowded the state capitols in noisy protest. Read full column here: News New Mexico

Swickard Column - Oh, such a horrible dream

Whew! I had a really bad dream the other night, a simply horrible nightmare. Usually I dream good things but this time it was different. Luckily I woke up none the worse for wear other than in a cold sweat. It all started when New Mexico’s senior Senator Jeff Bingaman decided he was not going to run for reelection in 2012. As soon as I dropped off to sleep it all seemed so real. I was in a room with lots of people and cameras. They were pointing and shouting at me. What had I done to make everyone so very mad at me? I was trying to figure this out. There was such chaos. As I spoke at the lectern I realized quickly that I was the problem in the room. It seems I was saying things that made the audience very furious at me. I could find no way to stop talking. Being half Irish and having the right to be silent but not the power to be, as Ron White says, is an exact description of my problem. Seems I had lost any good sense I might have had and was running for Bingaman’s empty senate seat. I was answering questions about what I would do if elected and it was not going well. It was one of those dreams where I was compelled to tell the truth that no one wanted to hear. Read more News New Mexico

Analyzing the Martinez Style

Rob Nikolewski
Capitol Report New Mexico - If Susana Martinez were an athlete, she would not worry about getting her uniform dirty. Or breaking up the double play. Or throwing an elbow to get a rebound. The Governor may have less than two months’ experience on the job but she’s not shy about trying to establish a tone and using her bully pulpit to further her objectives — even if means stepping outside the Governor’s Office on the fourth floor of the Roundhouse to put some pressure on the legislators on the third floor. Read full analysis here: News New Mexico

Senator Feldman: It's NOT Over Regulatory

Dede Feldman
Newsnm note (Spence) It would appear that MORE BIG GOVERNMENT is on the way - Pharmacy Benefit Manager's bill (SB16) which is sponsored by Albuquerque Senator Dede Feldman (D-Bernalillo-13) was passed by the New Mexico Senate on a vote of 33 to 4 Thursday (2-24-2011). SB16 creates the authority for the licensure and regulation of Pharmacy Benefit Managers through the Public Regulation Commission/Insurance Division. Pharmacy Benefit Managers provide pharmacy network management, negotiation and administration of product discounts, rebates, and other benefits accruing to the PBMs or other prescription drug or device service to third parties. "This is just an attempt to get them under one roof," said Sen. Feldman, "Its not over regulatory. We just want to license them to find out who they are."
The act sets up conditions for licensure and for suspension or revocation of a license within several new sections of the New Mexico Insurance Code. The act does not apply to a person that is a licensed health care facility, pharmacy, licensed health care professional, health insurer, union, HMO, Medicare advantage plan or prescription drug plan when that person is providing formulary services to its own patients, employees, members or beneficiaries. SB16 sets up a $1,000 filing fee for Pharmacy Benefit Managers with the Department of Insurance to cover costs associated with licensing.


Texas Terror Attempt Foiled

Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari
Washington Times - WASHINGTON (AP) — A young college student from Saudi Arabia studying chemical engineering in the state of Texas purchased explosive chemicals over the Internet as part of a plan to hide bomb materials inside dolls and baby carriages to blow up dams, nuclear plants or the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush, the Justice Department said Thursday. “It is war … until the infidels leave defeated,” the student wrote in online postings. One of the chemical companies, Carolina Biological Supply, reported suspicious purchases by Khalid Ali Aldawsari, 20, of Lubbock, Texas, to the FBI on Feb. 1. Within weeks, federal agents had traced his other online purchases, discovered extremist posts he made on the Internet and secretly searched his apartment, computer and e-mail accounts and read his diary, according to court records. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Governor Cracking Down on Culture of Corruption

Governor Martinez
SANTA FE – Governor Susana Martinez held a press conference at the Roundhouse today to call for tougher penalties on public officials who are convicted of corruption. The Governor announced her support for House Bill 378, a bi-partisan effort sponsored by Sen. Tim Keller (D-Albuquerque) and Rep. Nate Gentry (R-Albuquerque). HB378 contains key provisions that enhance prison sentences for corrupt public officials, prohibit public officials convicted of corruption from lobbying or doing business with the state, and force corrupt officials to forfeit their state pensions.
“Public officials are not above the law,” said Governor Martinez. “Unfortunately, our state’s reputation has been tainted in the past because elected and appointed officials have misused their office for personal gain. By increasing prison sentences for public corruption, prohibiting corrupt officials from lobbying and doing business with the state, and forcing those convicted of corruption to forfeit their pensions, we are sending a clear signal that there will be severe penalties for any public servant who puts their own personal gain ahead of the interests of the people of New Mexico.
It’s time to treat corruption for what it is – a crime that abuses the public trust and wastes taxpayer money.” Governor Martinez was joined by several legislators who are supporting this important anti-corruption measure, and she also voiced her support for the establishment of a public corrpution investigative unit in the Department of Public Safety alongside bill sponsor Rep. David Doyle (R-Albuquerque).


"Considerable Violations" at Housing Authority

Hector Balderas - State Auditor Hector Balderas has made public a January 2009 special audit of the Region III Housing Authority that identified “considerable violations” of the state per diem law and other problems. Those violations by Region III and a related entity, Housing Enterprises, Inc. (HEI), include board members collecting per diem “when official meetings did not take place,” collecting per diem beyond what is allowed by law and collecting it twice for attending meetings held on the same day and in the same place. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Williams: Why D.C. Needs a Tea Party

 Townhall - If you’ve been following the latest shenanigans of elected officials running the District of Columbia, it’s easy to understand why the city is so messed up. I’m referring, of course, to Lincoln-gate where DC City Council Chairman Kwame Brown ordered not one, but two 2011 Lincoln Navigator SUVs for his official use. Why two? Why not? Well, he didn’t like the color of the interior on the first one the city ordered at nearly $2,000 per month in leases. It appears Mr. Brown wanted a “black on black” SUV and no other color combination would work. The reason he gave is that model “holds its value” longer than any other. So now the Chairman is cost-conscious? How pathetic. What Mr. Brown hopes readers don’t remember is his insistence that the SUV be “fully loaded”, including a DVD player in the back seat.
Kwame Brown
I don’t even want to know the reason behind that request. Late last week, the chairman saw the error of his ways and is now returning the vehicles. The sad irony here is we may never have learned of any of this – including Brown’s personal insistence on such minor (and meaningless) details – if not for a Freedom of Information Act request by area reporters. Cover-up after cover-up, why is that the rule among District of Columbia politicians, even at the highest echelons of office where the magnifying glass of scrutiny is its strongest? Read full column here: News New Mexico


You Can't Find Time to Condemn Everyone!

Scott Walker
Townhall - by Michael Barone - Everyone has priorities. During the past week, Barack Obama has found no time to condemn the attacks that Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi has launched on the Libyan people. But he did find time to be interviewed by a Wisconsin television station and weigh in on the dispute between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the state's public employee unions. Walker was staging "an assault on unions," he said, and added that "public employee unions make enormous contributions to our states and our citizens." Enormous contributions, yes -- to the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign.
Muammar Ghaddafi
Unions, most of whose members are public employees, gave Democrats some $400 million in the 2008 election cycle. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the biggest public employee union, gave Democrats $90 million in the 2010 cycle. Follow the money, Washington reporters like to say. The money in this case comes from taxpayers, present and future, who are the source of every penny of dues paid to public employee unions, who in turn spend much of that money on politics, almost all of it for Democrats. In effect, public employee unions are a mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund the Democratic Party. Read full column here: News New Mexico


Elder: Is "Obamacare" a Disparaging Reference?

Larry Elder
Townhall - "'ObamaCare' ... is a disparaging reference to the President of the United States. It is meant as a disparaging reference to the President of the United States. It is clearly in violation of the House rules against that," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. "ObamaCare," according to several blogs, is the new "n" word. When did "ObamaCare" become a slur? Proponents, after all, boast that President Barack Obama succeeded in signing "universal care'' legislation when every Democratic president since Harry Truman failed to "get it done."
Why isn't President Obama flattered to have his name attached to his signature achievement and a now-fulfilled campaign promise? Was there a hissy fit over "HillaryCare" or the widely used "RomneyCare"? A LexisNexis search turns up what might be "ObamaCare's" first use in print. An April 4, 2008, enthusiastically supportive article in the Salt Lake Tribune said: "Obama's national health insurance program, let's call it "ObamaCare," provides Americans with affordable premiums, co-pays and deductibles." Hmmm, not too much racial insensitivity there. Alrighty then, what exactly is the problem? Assume, for the sake of argument, "right-wingers" use "ObamaCare" in a "mean-spirited" way. The left well understands and embraces the tactic: personalize or make a caricature about a policy; or use a description to induce a negative reaction.
Here are a few:  "Reaganomics": Used to personalize and attach to a "cold-hearted conservative" president an economic agenda the media opposed and assumed would fail. Incredibly, New York Daily News' Joshua Greenman recently wrote, "(HillaryCare and ObamaCare) were used, from the get-go, as slurs, unlike, say, 'Reaganomics.'" Nonsense. Many Reagan supporters actually liked the term, but opponents meant it as a slur. We know this because when President Reagan's policies began to show results, the media's use of the term nosedived. "I could tell our economic policy was working," Reagan said, "When they stopped calling it 'Reaganomics." Read full column here: News New Mexico