Rail Runner Getting "New" Scrutiny

Santa Fe New Mexican - Could commuter train service become a thing of the past in New Mexico? Or might there be a different operating schedule — under a private company — now that Susana Martinez is governor? Martinez has said she's taking a hard look at the heavily subsidized and increasingly less-used trains. Some lawmakers set to gather today in Santa Fe also question whether the service is worth it. Before they shut down the trains between metropolitan Albuquerque and Santa Fe and sell the cars on eBay, however, leaders say they want more information about what could be done with the hefty investment the state has already made. "I don't think we can dump those (train cars) off without making an attempt to get the ridership up and the cost to the taxpayers down," said Rep. Larry LarraƱaga, an Albuquerque Republican and former state transportation secretary. "I think the first attempt ought to be to see if we can find a better way to run this train." LarraƱaga wants a study of what the train's true costs are, and ways the state might be able to improve services and cut costs. Martinez has said she is looking into the train's fares and schedule, among other things. Read full story here:

Heath's Take on Cervantes Interview

Heath Haussamen
Rep. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, says the “culture of corruption” in Santa Fe is real and has existed for decades. He says his unsuccessful attempt to become speaker was motivated by his desire to change the culture in Santa Fe. Cervantes’ comments about corruption, which came during an interview on the radio program News New Mexico, were among the strongest I’ve heard him make publicly. “It’s horrible,” Cervantes said. “… There’s a great deal of pay to play. You’ve got to be plain deaf, dumb and blind not to see it,” he added. “… It’s a culture of corruption that has existed for decades.” Cervantes said he believes “most Democrats reject corruption… unethical conduct, play to play,” and the reason Susana Martinez won last year’s gubernatorial race is because she “so soundly rejected those things.” Read full story here:

Analysis of the Canning of Keith Olbermann

Keith Olbermann
Washington Post - So Keith Olbermann is out. As best as I can tell, none of the news accounts about his departure have gotten to the bottom of what happened here. But Olbermann himself offered enough clues in his final broadcast for us to reasonably speculate that he abruptly got the ax, perhaps even as late as last night. A "knowledgeable official" at MSNBC told Howard Kurtz that the separation was "mutual." But it's hard to see how that squares with this, from Olbermann's last words on Countdown last night: "I think the same fantasy has popped into the head of everybody in my business who has ever been told what I have been told, that this is going to be the last edition of your show. You go directly to the scene from the movie 'Network,' complete with the pajamas, and the raincoat, and you go off on an existential, otherworldly journey of profundity and vision... "When I resigned from ESPN 13 and a half years ago, I was literally given 30 seconds to say goodbye at the very end of my last edition of "Sports Center." As God is my witness, in the commercial break just before the emotional moment, the producer got into my earpiece and he said, `uh, can you cut it down to 15 seconds, so we can get in this tennis result from Stuttgart? So I'm grateful that I have a little more time to sign off here." Read full column here:

Spence Column: Philosophical Debating

Jim Spence
Please note: all columns are the opinions of the authors and not NewsNM. In the debate on what the Tea Party should have done in the NM Speaker of the House issue, Jim gives his opinion below. Likewise, when Michael Swickard, Rachel Pulaski, Janice Arnold-Jones and others post columns, especially when we post opinion columns from other sources, always read them as individual opinions.
by Jim Spence - There are certain people in American society that are completely turned off to the idea of discussing politics. When the topic comes up, the subject gets changed. This week we had some interesting experiences during political discussions. Here is the background. Our life experiences lead us to defend the idea of limited government and lower taxes. We support the interests of business, the magnificence of the free market, and a strict adherence to the interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.
There was a barrage of criticism directed towards News New Mexico this week. Surprisingly it came from all sides. Democrats, Republicans, and Tea Party members were all upset. We were criticized before, during, and after our analysis of the collapsed coalition in Santa Fe that could have removed New Mexico House Speaker Ben Lujan. Democrat’s criticisms of our commentary were familiar. Mocking those who endlessly look for reasons to trust big government, higher taxes, and the shackling of businesses does not always get a nice reception. Mocking those views did not sit well in that camp again this week. Additionally, when we chastise those who give in to the temptation to look for ways to stretch the meaning of the words contained in the U.S. Constitution, Democrats are the ones who are most often angered.
In my extended family, there have been deep philosophical debates for years. And after many years of circular “debates” Kristi and I made the conscious decision to stop talking politics. The reason is pretty simple. As business people, we had noticed that political discussions tended to drift towards an unmistakable moral inference. The inference was that since we are business people, we merely serve our own private interests rather than the higher calling of the “greater good.” The idea being that those on public payrolls serve public interests and are not tempted to give in to the lower calling of a “profit motive.” Most debates eventually were condensed down to a single premise. Businesses and entrepreneurs are operated by the selfish. The inference being this is generally speaking, a morally inferior element of society.
Since we love all of our family members, at some point we realized nothing good could ever come about as the result of a so-called debate where the framing of all discussions came from the assumption that the profit motive is a morally inferior impulse. This week on News New Mexico our analysis moved towards a discussion of the tactical efficacy of the New Mexico Tea Parties’ dismantling of the coalition in the House of Representatives. During the week we offered commentary from many seasoned observers on the question. Some analysts concluded that the causes of limited government, lower taxes, promoting business took a step back, instead of a smaller step forward. The thought was that New Mexico Democrats united behind Ben Lujan after the Tea Party’s insistence that a two-year coalition was unacceptable. The conclusion reached was that once the party with the majority in the House was united, Democrats were able to realize the strength of their numbers and the status quo returned. Continue reading column here:


A Month After START Treaty Signed Russia Renews Opposition to Unilateral Sanctions on Iran

From gatewaypundit.com -US and Russia presidents Barack Obama and Dimitry Medvedev agree over the phone to sign the new SMART treaty. One month after Obama and democrats rammed through the START Nuclear Treaty with Russia, Moscow today renewed its opposition to unilateral sanctions on Iran.Fars News reported: Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov underlined his country’s strong opposition to unilateral sanctions against Iran.“We have never supported unilateral sanctions, which will only serve as a spoiler for Iran,” Lavrov said after talks with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu in Istanbul on Thursday. Lavrov also expressed hope that the sanctions are lifted in the talks between Tehran and major world powers. Lavrov added that his country has always been very clear at pointing out its concerns. Pointing to the talks between Iran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) in Istanbul, the Russian minister said that an agreement between the two sides on a perspective for future steps would mean the talks were a success, noting the negotiations would not be limited to the West’s standoff with Iran, but would also focus on solutions to regional problems. Senior negotiators from Iran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) ended their first round of talks in Istanbul, Turkey minutes ago.