Immigration-focused bills gain steam at Roundhouse

From - by Gadi Schwartz, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - The debate over illegal immigration is gathering momentum at the state capitol with lawmakers on both sides of the issue preparing bills. Governor Susana Martinez has vowed to try and stop undocumented immigrants from getting New Mexico drivers licenses during the current legislative session, which could set the tone for the debate over immigration. The first bills dealing with illegal immigration have been filed by Senate Democrats. One would prevent law enforcement officers from racial profiling people who look like they are immigrants to enforce federal immigration laws. The sponsor of the bill, Senator Richard Martinez (D-Espanola) says the purpose of the bill is to prevent officers from pulling people over and arresting "them based on their color." Another bill introduced by Senator Tim Keller (D-Albuquerque) basically offers sanctuary for immigrants in certain places where officers would not be allowed to ask about immigration status like churches, schools and hospitals. Keller's bill would also limit officers from inquiring about immigration status from witnesses of a crime scene to foster cooperation with a law enforcement investigation. Representative Andy Nunez (I-Hatch) also introduced a bill Thursday requiring a social security number to get a driver's license. Representative Bill Rehm, (R-Albuquerque) is also gearing up to introduce a bill that would require people without social security numbers to get temporary driver's permit, which could not be used to board a plane. Under that bill, licenses already issued to some 84,000 undocumented immigrants would be revoked in 2012. Read more

Swickard Column: Forget reform, only fundamental innovation will succeed

By Michael Swickard, Ph.D. - Calls to reform New Mexico Public Education have gone on for so long no one remembers when there were not reform calls, if ever. They are the status quo. Know this: continuing to do what in the past took New Mexico public education to where it is right now is inexcusable. Rather than attempt to reform a broken model of education; New Mexico must innovate fundamentally or suffer the same old results... Our core goal must be for students to do well. Therefore, at least 90 percent of public school students must be able to read on grade level at all times. To reach that goal we must have a robust measurement both descriptively where students are and prescriptively, if they continue doing what they are doing will they be on grade level by the end of the year? So you know, the 90 percent reading on grade level goal has been tried previously. With lots of work, it was realized. Read column

Iranian Book Celebrating Suicide Bombings Found in Arizona Desert

From -An Iranian suicide book was discovered in the Arizona desert near the border with Mexico.  FOX News reported: A book celebrating suicide bombers has been found in the Arizona desert just north of the U.S.- Mexican border, authorities tell Fox News.  The book, “In Memory of Our Martyrs,” was spotted Tuesday by a U.S. Border Patrol agent out of the Casa Grande substation who was patrolling a route known for smuggling illegal immigrants and drugs.  Published in Iran, it consists of short biographies of Islamic suicide bombers and other Islamic militants who died carrying out attacks.  According to internal U.S. Customs and Border Protection documents, “The book also includes letters from suicide attackers to their families, as well as some of their last wills and testaments.” Each biographical page contains “the terrorist’s name, date of death, and how they died.”

Unanimous: Illinois Supreme Court Rules Rahm is Eligible for Mayor

Rahm Emanuel
From -A cheer went up at Emanuel’s headquarters when the news came out. The candidate was preparing to leave for tonight’s debate with the three other leading contenders…“So there will be no mistake, let us be entirely clear,” the Supreme Court wrote in its ruling today. “This court’s decision is based on the following and only on the following: (1) what it means to be a resident for election purposes was clearly established long ago, and Illinois law has been consistent on the matter since at least the 19th Century; (2) the novel standard adopted by the appellate court majority is without any foundation in Illinois law; (3) the Board’s factual findings were not against the manifest weight of the evidence; and (4) the Board’s decision was not clearly erroneous.”  More here

New Press Secretary has Solid Conservative Smearing Credentials

Michelle Malkin
From -President Obama has chosen former journalist Jay Carney to replace press secretary Robert Gibbs, a longtime loyalist, when he leaves the post in mid-February, according to a senior administration officialCarney’s conservative-bashing credentials are solid.  Those on the right will remember Carney’s shameless attempt to blame Rush Limbaugh and conservative bloggers for spreading an ugly, empty rumor about Michelle Obama that was disseminated by Hillary Clinton supporter Larry Johnson.  More here

Unions Make up 40% of Employees Exempted From Obamacare

From -Yesterday, the Deparment of Health and Human Services announced it had granted more than 500 new waivers to Obamacare's requirement that health plans have annual limits of no less than $750,000. This annual limit requirement climbs to $1.25 million next year and then to $2 million.  The reason these exemptions from the law are needed is that Obamacare forces all health insurance consumers to over-insure themselves and pay high premiums as a result. Without the waivers, many companies, non-profits and unions would simply drop their health plans. As of 2014, the waivers will no longer be available -- at least, that's the way the law is written.  It is worth noting that there are 166 union benefits funds now exempted from this requirement, which account for about 40 percent of the exempted workers. This means that although there are only 14.6 million unionized employees in the United States, and 860,000 of them are already exempted from this provision of Obamacare.  Full list and more here


This day in New Mexico History - January 28

On this day in New Mexico history, January 28, 1917 - The bulk of American forces who had gone into Mexico chasing Pancho Villa for his raid upon Columbus NM the previous March were withdrawn by order of President Wilson. Trouble with Pancho Villa began in 1915, when the United States government disappointed Villa by siding with and giving its official recognition to Carranza's national government. Feeling betrayed, Villa began attacking American property and citizens in northern Mexico.

Early in the morning of March 9, 1916, Pancho Villa's troops attacked the border city of Columbus, New Mexico (South of Deming, NM currently on I-10) and its local detachment of the U.S. 13th Cavalry Regiment, killing 10 civilians and 8 soldiers and wounding 2 civilians and 6 soldiers. The raiders also burned the town, took many horses and mules and seized available machine guns, ammunition and merchandise, before they returned to Mexico. On March 15, on orders from President Woodrow Wilson, General John J. Pershing led an expeditionary force of 4,800 men into Mexico to capture Villa, who had already had more than a week to disperse and conceal his forces before the punitive expedition tried to seek them out in unmapped terrain.

Upon returning to the United States, General Pershing publicly claimed the expedition was a success, although privately he complained to family that President Wilson had imposed too many restrictions, which made it impossible for him to fulfill his mission. President Wilson needed the troops back in the United States and ready to go France because he could see he was going to have to declare war upon Germany which he did April 6, 1917. Pershing took his finely tuned battle troops to France and in May they were reconstituted as the 1st Division.

A personal note: My grandfather, Horace Swickard, was one of the soldiers who went with General Pershing into Mexico and then on to France as a member of the 1st Division as a machine gunner. He was wounded twice and also suffered the effects of poison gas. He was a lifelong member of the Disabled American Veterans.


Nunez Intends to Run Again, as an Independent

Andy Nunez
In the entire New Mexico legislature Andy Nunez stands alone as an island of true independence. When asked during his appearance on News New Mexico Thursday morning, Nunez confirmed his intention to seek re-election in 2012, this time as an Independent. In the Land of Enchantment, Democrats have dominated and Republicans have played second fiddle for several generations. Independents are derisively defined as "decline to state" on their voter registration cards. Those of us like Nunez who "decline to state" are treated as non-entities. The good news for New Mexico's independent thinkers is Andy Nunez is hardly a non-entity. Rapidly becoming a folk hero if not a true hero, Nunez has been perhaps the major news maker in the state in 2011. When he refused to cave in to the marching orders of heavy-handed speaker Ben Lujan in the pressure-packed Speaker of the House vote on the opening day on the 2011 legislative session, Nunez was punished like a truculent school boy rather than respected as a seasoned legislator. You can hear the entire interview with Nunez on News New Mexico by clicking here: Personally I am thinking about writing a song about Nunez before the end of the 60-day session.


Reps Baldonado and Garcia Team Up

Alonzo Baldonado
Valencia County News - As the father of three children, it should come as no surprise to hear that state Rep. Alonzo Baldonado (R-Valencia Dist. 8) will be supporting legislative initiatives in the realm of education during his freshman legislative session. "I'm teaming up with some other House members and looking at some model legislation going around," Baldonado said. What he and other House members are looking is a bill that would "ban social promotion" in schools.
Mary Helen Garcia
"Up to the third grade, students are learning to read. From fourth grade on, you need to know how to read in order to learn," he said. "If you can't read proficiently by the fourth grade, the problem is going to continue." New Mexico Rep. Mary Helen Garcia (D-Dona Ana 34) is sponsoring House Bill 21, which says that if "a student is not proficient in reading by the end of grade three, the student shall not be promoted to grade four unless the student meets proficiency before the start of the fourth grade school year." Read full story here:

Saunders: Obama's Take on U.S. Innovation

Debra Saunders
Townhall - The problem with left-leaning elites trying to run the U.S. economy from the top down is simple: They think the answer to America's economic woes is to create more jobs that replicate managers just like them. They cannot comprehend that, to a good number of American voters, the theme of President Obama's State of the Union address -- government innovation -- is an oxymoron. And so they nodded their heads in recognition of their own greater wisdom as the president intoned, "We'll invest in biomedical research, information technology and especially clean-energy technology -- an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet and create countless new jobs for our people." As if more of the same deficit spending is the answer. Read full column here:

Elder: Olbermann's Last Supper at MSNBC

Larry Elder
Townhall - "This will be the last edition of your show," MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, on the air, claimed he was told by management. What to make of Olbermann's abrupt departure, an apparent firing? Did post-Tucson concern over "vitriolic rhetoric" cause Comcast, MSNBC's new owner, to recoil at Olbermann's greatest hits?
Keith Olbermann
They include, but are by no means limited to: Calling opposition to ObamaCare the equivalent of "terrorists ... killing 45,000 people every year"; blaming Rush Limbaugh for the Oklahoma City bombing; calling the tea party-backed Republicans racists who would bring back "Jim Crow ... bread lines ... robber barons" and "hanging union organizers"; calling now-Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., a "homophobic, racist, reactionary ... teabagging supporter of violence against women"; accusing columnist and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin of engaging in "morally bankrupt, knee-jerk, fascistic hatred without which (she) would just be a big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it"; accusing President George W. Bush of "urinating on the Constitution" and of committing "panoramic and murderous deceit"; exclaiming about Bush, "You're a fascist!"; asserting that Bush "lied us into a war and, in so doing, needlessly killed 3,584"; calling Fox News' Chris Wallace "a monkey posing as a newscaster"; and saying of the then-Whitewater prosecutor, "It finally dawned on me that the person Ken Starr has reminded me of facially all this time was Heinrich Himmler ... a persecutor as opposed to a prosecutor." Read full column here:

Progressive: Hated the State of the Union

Mtthew Rothschild
Progressive - I hated Obama’s State of the Union address. He opened with a discussion of the Tucson shooting, but as my colleague Ruth Conniff has noted, he failed to make the obvious point that we need better gun control in this country. And if he can’t make the case for that when a member of the House is in rehab after being shot through the head, when will he ever be able to do it? He said that “each of us deserves the chance to shape our destiny,” but he didn’t once talk about poverty, which is on the rise and which greatly limits the chances of millions of Americans to reach their destiny. Read full column here:

Martinez Names Tourism Dept. Head

Governor Martinez
SANTA FE – Governor Susana Martinez announced today that she has nominated Monique Jacobson to head the New Mexico Tourism Department. Jacobson is a native of Taos, where her family helped pioneer the tourism industry in the Taos Ski Valley, and is currently a marketing executive at PepsiCo. After making the announcement, Governor Martinez said, “New Mexico’s rich history and natural beauty are treasures that we will continue to share with visitors from near and far. A healthy tourism sector is critical to a vibrant economy. Ms. Jacobson’s extensive background as a marketing professional makes her an ideal candidate to lead the charge in promoting everything that our state has to offer.” Since joining PepsiCo in 2002, Jacobson has worked on numerous marketing campaigns, including her most recent efforts as General Manager and Marketing Director for the Quaker Breakfast Business Unit. She holds a degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. After learning of her nomination, Jacobson said, “I welcome the opportunity to promote New Mexico’s natural treasures and storied past to visitors across the country and around the world. I look forward to working with Governor Martinez to jump-start a tourism sector that will contribute to a healthy and vibrant economy.”


NM Rep. Nora Epsinoza Introduces Gay Marriage Ban

Nora Espinoza
 From -Yesterday Tea Party-backed GOP state Rep. Nora Espinoza introduced a state-level version of DOMA. Equality New Mexico reports on their Facebook page: This very concept of creating less equal classes of people has been fought against for generations in New Mexico and is contrary to our state's proud traditions of providing equal protection and opportunity for her citizens from every background and community. Similar legislation was defeated last year when it was tabled in the Senate Rule Committee. This year, however, promises greater challenges given the much more conservative make up of both our state legislature and governor's office.


Border Authorities Arrest Controversial Muslim Cleric

From -U.S. border authorities have arrested a controversial Muslim cleric who was deported from Canada to Tunisia three years ago and was caught earlier this month trying to sneak into California inside the trunk of a BMW, according to court documents. Said Jaziri, the former Imam of a Muslim congregation in Montreal, was hidden inside a car driven by a San Diego-area man who was pulled over by U.S. Border Patrol agents near an Indian casino east of San Diego. Jaziri allegedly paid a Tijuana-based smuggling group $5,000 to get him across the border near Tecate, saying he wanted to be taken to a “safe place anywhere in the U.S.” The arrest marks the unexpected resurfacing of the 43-year-old cleric, whose protracted legal battle to avoid deportation drew headlines in Canada. A Tunisian immigrant, Jaziri was deported for failing to disclose a criminal conviction in France while applying for refugee status in the mid-1990s. More here

Obamacare Waivers Jumps From 229 to 729

From -In November 2010 it was first reported that the Obama Administration had handed out Obamacare waivers to special US companies… And, they hid this information from the American public. It took 6 clicks to find out this information on the government’s health care website. Unfortunately, if you’re a small business or you don’t have the right connections you can’t get a waiver for your company from Team Obama. The bottom line is that democrats did not create a law that benefits all of us. And, now they can pick the winners and losers – who will have to follow their new law and who will get a pass. The House Energy and Commerce Committee last Thursday asked the Department of Health and Human Services to provide detailed information on the over 200 groups requesting and receiving one-year waivers from Obamacare. But, it’s worse than we thought. The Obamacare waivers jumped from 229 to 729 this month covering over 2.2 million employees. At least three SEIU Chapters, including one in Chicago, are included on the list. More here