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 pajamasmedia.com - 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