Saudis Can't Pump Enough Oil to Keep Lid on Oil Prices

From -The US fears that Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices escalating, confidential cables from its embassy in Riyadh show. The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom's crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%. The revelation comes as the oil price has soared in recent weeks to more than $100 a barrel on global demand and tensions in the Middle East. Many analysts expect that the Saudis and their Opec cartel partners would pump more oil if rising prices threatened to choke off demand. More here

AOL Stock Sheds $315 Million Since Huffington Deal

From -You pay for what you get. Arianna Huffington and Ken Lerer, co-founders of the Huffington Post, are said to be walking away with a combined $80 million to $100 million from an original $2 million per person investment -- but so far AOL stockholders aren't seeing that kind of return. Since Feb. 1, the price of AOL shares has dropped from $23.85 to $20.89 at yesterday's close. With 106.7 million shares outstanding, that means AOL has shed $315 million in value over the last five trading days -- which happens to be exactly the same price AOL agreed to pay to acquire HuffPo. More here

Poll Shows Bingaman is a Lock for Re-election

From -Sen. Jeff Bingaman, who has not yet announced his decision on whether to run for re-election, leads major potential Republican candidates in a poll released by the Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling. PPP showed that Bingaman had an extremely high approval rating: 56 percent approved of his job performance while just 27 percent disapproved, the fourth highest among senators polled in the last year by PPP. The poll shows that Bingaman would lead former Gov. Gary Johnson 51 percent to 40 percent, U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce 54 percent to 37 percent and former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson 56 percent to 37 percent. The poll showed that Democratic U.S. Reps. Ben Ray Luj├ín and Martin Heinrich would be in strong positions against Pearce and Wilson though would narrowly be behind Johnson in such a race. “Jeff Bingaman is a near lock for reelection,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Gary Johnson could be competitive in an open seat situation but whether some of his unorthodox views would allow him to get the Republican nomination is a different question.” More here

Efforts to Kill Cap and Trade? Not Dead Yet

Capitol Report New Mexico - Like that scene in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” the fight to undo cap and trade in New Mexico isn’t dead yet. Two pieces of legislation aimed at reversing regulations passed by the state Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) have been tabled in recent days, but that doesn’t mean more attempts won’t be made in this 60-day legislative session – or even, that those attempts won’t be successful. There’s been plenty of three-dimensional chess-playing at the Roundhouse when it comes to the EIB regulations, which were passed in November and December of last year before Bill Richardson left the governor’s office. Read full story here:

A.G. King Wants Richardson Docs UNSEALED

Gary King
Capitol Report New Mexico - The state Attorney General’s office wants Bill Richardson’s documents unsealed. The AG’s chief deputy released a letter Tuesday (Feb. 8th) it sent to the head of the State Records Center and Archives, saying that Richardson and the records center are improperly interpreting a statute in which the former governor’s public as well as personal records can remain under seal for the next eight years. Read full story here:

Martinez Names Spaceport Board

Susan Martinez
SANTA FE – Governor Susana Martinez announced today that she has made appointments to all positions on the Spaceport Authority Board of Directors. The appointments come as the Martinez administration continues to review all boards and commissions to make necessary adjustments and ensure that New Mexico’s taxpayers receive the best possible return on their investment. Each member has agreed not to conduct business with the Spaceport for two years after leaving their position on the board. “I believe that with the right leadership and the right approach, the Spaceport can be a successful venture that brings jobs to New Mexico,” said Governor Martinez. “New Mexico’s taxpayers have made a significant investment in the Spaceport project. It’s time to see the project through to completion by bringing in private funding. In order to let taxpayers know that their government will operate in an open and honest manner, I have also asked each board member to make a commitment that they will not conduct business with the Spaceport for two years after their tenure on the board ends. I look forward to working with the new board members to ensure that we responsibly develop the Spaceport to its full potential, bring new jobs into New Mexico, and give taxpayers a healthy return on their investment.” The members of the Spaceport Authority Board of Directors are listed here:


Richardson's Seal Efforts Facing Full Assault

Bill Richardson
Capitol Report New Mexico - Here are a couple updates on the fight to unseal Bill Richardson’s public records from his eight years in the governor’s office: First, in light of the state attorney general’s opinion that Richardson’s records should be unsealed, the Albuquerque Journal quotes a statement coming from the office of the State Records Center and Archives saying that records administrator Sandra Jaramillo, “will honor requests for those records as advised by the attorney general.” Second: Does that mean former state investment officer Frank Foy and his attorney Victor Marshall will start requesting — and receiving — Richardson documents as soon as possible? Not necessarily. Read full story here:

Governor Ticked Off at NM Gas Company

Rob Nikolewski
Capitol Report New Mexico - Gov. Susana Martinez says she’s angry at New Mexico Gas Company that nearly one week after a massive cold front swept through the state, thousands of homes are still without heat as another storm bears down. After speaking to a joint session of the state legislature Tuesday (Feb. 8th) to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Day, we caught up with the Governor: To read rest of the story and watch video click here:

Pay to Play Losses Targeted

George Munoz
Santa Fe, NM- The state's money watchdogs will get some sharper teeth to go after Pay-to-Play under a bill introduced by Gallup Senator George Munoz (D-Cibola, Mckinley-4). Sen. Munoz' Senate Bill 86 (SB86) authorizes the State Investment Council to hire legal services on a contingent fee to track money from Pay-to-Play scandals that wracked the state a few years ago. "This bill helps us right the wrongs that were done to the Permanent Funds and the citizens of New Mexico," said Sen. Munoz. Sen. Munoz' SB86 has been endorsed by the Investments Oversight Committee to look into possible Pay-to-Play schemes in which lucrative work on state bond deals were allegedly given to political donors of key government leaders. A Federal Investigation that dated back to 2008 resulted in no criminal charges being filed, but concerns about the potential for wrong-doing persist.
The State Investment Council manages New Mexico's $14 billion permanent trust funds; the Land Grant Permanent Fund, the Severance Tax Permanent Fund, the Tobacco Settlement Permanent Fund and the Water Trust Permanent Fund. Those funds contribute recurring revenue for the operating budget of the state and provide resources to various fund beneficiaries. The SIC investment goals are to preserve the permanent endowment funds for future generations and also to provide future benefits by growing the funds at a rate at least equal to inflation.


Unemployment Fund in Jeopardy

Mimi Stewart
Santa Fe, NM – With increasing numbers of New Mexicans unemployed and an unemployment fund in jeopardy, Rep. Mimi Stewart (D-Albuquerque) in conjunction with Governor Susana Martinez and the Workforce Solutions Department Secretary Designee, Celina Bussey, is working to shore up the state’s unemployment fund. She is sponsoring legislation, HB59cs, that would both increase employer contribution to the fund and reduce expenses on the benefits side in order to make the fund solvent. The bill passed the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee today with a vote of 5-0.
Rep.Stewart said, “The money from this fund is important to the day-to-day lives of so many New Mexican families and it is imperative that it remain solvent. This measure will shore up the fund while preventing a deficit which would then require even greater contributions by employers. Sacrifices on both sides of the spectrum have to be made in order to make the fund financially sound.” She added, “I appreciate the input I’ve received from Governor Martinez and Secretary-Designee Bussey on this critical matter.” House Bill 59cs would increase employer contributions from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3 on January 1, 2012 and it would also reduce expenses.
Expense reductions would come from reforms that have been made in previous years. They include: full-time students; reduce dependent allowance from 4 to 2; and discontinuance of EB/HUP (Extended Benefits/High Unemployment Period) extensions contingent of 100% federal funding on July 1, 2011. Modernization reforms that were made in previous legislation that garnered federal money sponsored by Rep. Stewart will remain intact as a good-faith effort. Beverlee McClure, President and CEO of the Association of Commerce and Industry, and Jeff Parker, Regional Vice President for Manpower (a global employment services agency) and Chairman of Albuquerque Economic Development spoke in support of the bill. McClure called it “the best of a worst-case scenario.” House Bill 59cs now heads to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.


Sustainable Growth: A Threat to Private Property (Part 3)

Jim Harbison
This editorial is based on an article from the American Policy Center. There are four parts to this drive to destroy private property. The first is the rural process called the Wildlands Project which calls for returning 50% of the lands in each state back to wilderness status. It does this by creating buffer zones around government owned lands such as national parks or forests. Human activity within the buffer zone is limited and is increasingly restricted until all human activity ceases.
Once this is accomplished the buffer zone is again extended and the process is repeated. Another method to stop human activity is to restrict livestock access to river banks which forces ranchers out of business. They also lock down access to natural resources (minerals and forests) on government lands to shut down these activities. When this occurs the towns that were supported by these industries die and the population moves into large towns and the former towns are abandoned. These programs are also known as “Heritage” areas for land management, protection and re-introduction of bears and wolves, rails to trails, conservation easements, and open space. There are currently 31 Wildlands Projects, 22 in the West including New Mexico, seeking to lock away 40 percent of the nation’s lands.
The second part called Smart Growth occurs after they have driven people from the rural areas and into regimented and dense urban communities. Because of restrictions on development inside the controlled City limits housing prices rise. This is caused by a shortage of housing and the implementation of mandatory “green” initiatives or regulations. The Vision 2040 plan being adopted by the City of Las Cruces is an example of the restrictive guidelines that will force people into “growth nodes” and mandate if or where your private property can be developed.
The third part of this strategy requires the local Councils be controlled by a ruling elite class and the environmentally driven progressives supported by the many bureaucratic boards, commissions and non-government organizations (NGO’s) that live off the public trough. It is usually necessary to seek approval from many of these “socially driven” groups to make any changes or dispositions of your private property. In San Francisco, for example, the new federal building was required to install an elevator that only stopped at every third floor so that occupants are required to use the stairs as a forced method of exercise for “their own health”.
The fourth part is the Public/Private Partnerships (PPPs) purportedly free enterprise organizations used to keep taxes down and using business to make society better. Many PPPs are nothing more than government-sanctioned monopolies that can charge what they want and use the power of the government to drive out any competition. The success of PPPs is not based on the quality of the product and service but on accepting the mantra of Sustainable Development even if it means going against their own products. This is why Home Depot uses its commercials to oppose cutting down trees and British Petroleum advocates reducing the use of oil.
Sustainable Development is not driven by free enterprise, but rather by the UN’s Agenda 21 blueprint for Sustainable Development. Unfortunately under the guise of some “better for society” banner we get involved in organizations or causes that have hidden motives, goals, and agendas. My intent in raising this issue is to raise public awareness of some of the unpublicized but clear objectives of the UN’s Agenda 21, and the ICLEI, to adversely impact private property ownership under the Sustainable Development banner.


EMT Background Checks Coming?

Las Cruces Sun-News - SANTA FE - A bill that would require criminal background checks for paramedics and emergency medical technicians cleared another hurdle Tuesday. Members of the Senate Public Affairs Committee passed the measure, the second committee to endorse it. The sponsor, Sen. Sander Rue, R-Albuquerque, said in an interview that he was optimistic it would become law. His bill would require applicants and license holders under the Emergency Medical Services Act to submit to a national criminal background check. Read full story here:

Gradually Gas Service Restored in Espanola and Taos

Susana Martinez
SANTA FE – Tonight, Governor Susana Martinez announced significant progress in returning natural gas service to residents of Espanola and Taos. At the current time, all homes and businesses in the two communities have been canvassed by teams of technicians and guardsmen or emergency responders. With the exception of a small number of homes where residents are still not present, natural gas has been restored throughout Taos and Espanola tonight. During the past thirty hours, 512 National Guard troops, 44 Albuquerque Police Department officers, 14 Albuquerque Fire Department firefighters, 15 State Police officers, and an additional 60 contractors and plumbers have been working around the clock to restore natural gas service.