I Like Guns

Michael and Conrad both Like Guns
Sometimes we tease our fearless co-host and quarterback of the News New Mexico radio show. And little does he know that often there is a secret OVER/UNDER side bet going on just how long it will take him to bring up the topic of firearms once a daily show gets underway. There is just no getting around it. Dr. Michael Swickard likes guns. And so it is that when we were tipped off today of the existence of this video on YouTube entitled "I Like Guns" we decided since he would be off the air on Thursday, that we would dedicate this piece to Michael in his absence. If you have three minutes to spare click on the the link below and see if the melodies and lyrics remind you of anyone. You can view the video here: News New Mexico
Update by Michael Swickard: I neither like nor dislike guns. They are only tools that represent the ability to protect oneself against bigger and stronger attackers. The police will arrive in minutes but often you only have seconds. I do a shooting workout regularly and clean my tools often. Maybe I will go through my entire life without a need. However: better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it.


Will NM Bond Ratings be Collateral Damage?

Bloomberg - Five of the 15 states with top bond ratings from Moody’s Investors Service may be downgraded because their dependence on federal revenue makes them vulnerable to a U.S. credit cut should talks to raise the debt limit fail. Maryland, South Carolina, New Mexico, Tennessee and Virginia are under review, Moody’s said today. The action affects $24 billion of general-obligation and related debt, it said. The states are rated Aaa, Moody’s top municipal grade. The credit evaluator said on July 13 it may cut the federal government’s Aaa rating as congressional Republicans and President Barack Obama’s administration failed to agree on raising the U.S. debt limit. Moody’s said the next day it would scrutinize top-rated states, municipalities, housing programs and other debt issuers. Read full story here: News New Mexico


Hispanic Cultural Center Pays $5,000 Fine

According to Veritas New Mexico - The National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC)’s private fundraising foundation has paid a $5,000 fine ordered by Secretary of State Dianna J. Duran, state Bureau of Elections Director Bobbi Shearer confirmed Tuesday. The NHCC Foundation will not contest the fine for violations of the state lobbying law, and “will endeavor to meet all requirements of the Lobbyist Regulation Act in the future,” attorney Brad L. Hays told Duran in a July 14 letter accompanying a $5,000 check.
Clara Apodaca
The Foundation has also now registered as a lobbying entity for 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011, Hays wrote, and will follow up “in a timely manner” with the required lobbying expenditures and political contributions forms for each of those years. “We appreciate that the Foundation acknowledged its responsibility under the law and is complying with the Lobbyist Regulation Act,” Sec. Duran said Tuesday. “The Secretary of State’s office will continue to work to insure full compliance with the Act.” Read full story here: News New Mexico


Santa Fe New Mexican Editorial Warns Bingaman to "Beware of Sneak Attacks"

Jeff Bingaman with John Kerry and Harry Reid
Santa Fe New Mexican - As if congressional Republicans weren't portraying themselves as villains already by toadying to fat cats on whom they can't bear to restore fair tax rates during our national financial crisis, they're also twirling their moustaches on the environmental stage. In the House of Representatives, where they have a 242-193 majority, they've launched a frontal attack on such basic health protections as the Clean Water Act by seeking to block the Environmental Protection Agency from stepping in where state officials cozy up to polluters. In the Senate, the elephants are outnumbered 51-47, so on that side of the Capitol they're clumsily, but threateningly, carrying out guerrilla warfare: On Thursday, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee takes up a couple of bills by chairman Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico. Read full column here: News New Mexico

Top Water Manager Sought

Elephant Butte Dam
KOB TV - Gov. Susana Martinez's office is weighing all options before deciding who will serve permanently as the state's top water management official. A spokesman for the governor says no decision has been made to replace current State Engineer John D'Antonio, but the governor wants to consider "a wide range of options" before making a final decision. D'Antonio, who was appointed by former Gov. Bill Richardson, has been holding the job on an interim basis since Martinez took office in January. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Steve Pearce Calls on President, Senate to Take Action to Face Our Nation’s Debt Crisis

Steve Pearce
Washington, DC (July 20, 2011) Yesterday, Congressman Steve Pearce voted to pass H.R. 2560, the “Cut, Cap and Balance Act of 2011.” The President has asked that Congress raise the debt ceiling, which the Treasury has said will be reached on August 2nd. In response, Cut, Cap and Balance proposes long-term solutions to our national debt crisis. “Our country is spending $3.5 trillion for every $2.2 trillion we take in,” said Pearce. “For over two years, we’ve tried spending our way out of debt, and we’ve seen the consequences: rising unemployment, inflation, skyrocketing gas prices, and record foreclosure rates. The American people said in November that they want change; they want to stop spending money we don’t have. Instead of real solutions to our debt problem, the White House has only suggested job-killing tax increases, while threatening to veto any real plan. Last night’s vote is a much-needed step toward a balanced budget and responsible use of taxpayer dollars.”
The President said last week that “we don’t need a constitutional amendment to do our jobs,” but in less than three years in office, the President has already increased the national debt by 3.7 trillion. This is more than the entire national debt accumulated between 1776 and 1992. The Cut, Cap, and Balance Act provides a long-term plan to address the nation’s out-of-control debt problem.
Rep. Pearce has been in active communication with constituents on the debt limit issue, including discussions at town hall meetings, email surveys, on Facebook, and through other interaction. In a recent email survey to 47,000 constituents, over 83 percent of those who responded said that they do not support legislation like what the President asked for—a debt limit increase with no corresponding spending cuts. An overwhelming 93 percent said that Washington is not doing enough to address our national debt, and over 97 percent, said that the national debt is important to them, with 92% calling it “very important.”


GOP House Members Picking Apart "Gang" Plan

New York Post - WASHINGTON -- House Republicans are finding more than a few flaws with the "Gang of Six" deficit plan, but have not rejected it outright, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The latest evidence comes in an analysis by House Budget Committee Republicans produced on Tuesday night. According to the analysis, the Gang of Six plan "appears to include a $2 trillion revenue increase" relative to current tax rules. The Gang of Six plan says its tax increase is $1.2 trillion compared to a "plausible" baseline that assumes the Bush tax cuts for the middle class are extended permanently. But that baseline also assumes a revenue increase of $700 billion or so from the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy -- hence the $2 trillion total that the House Republicans claim the plan produces. Read full story here: News New Mexico

LCPS - Austerity for Teachers, Not Central Office

Stan Rounds
Las Cruces - Only a few scant months since teachers and school principals were told that the Las Cruces Public School district was essentially broke and that every pencil and eraser would have to be counted to make sure there is enough money to open the schools in August of 2011, it has been revealed that former LCHS principal Nyeta Haines' salary this year, as "principal on special assignment" at the district's central office, will be $92,000. Many observers believe all the austerity trumpeting directed towards professional educators at LCPS, that were also accompanied by nods directed towards Santa Fe, were for show. This summer, LCPS Superintendent Stan Rounds is reportedly growing the size of his administrative staff again. In addition to adding Haines, administrator Herb Torres, who was feted in a good-bye bash as a recent retiree, has also been rehired by LCPS as a special consultant. According to News New Mexico sources, this count is up to at least four "special assignment principals" now drawing salaries at the central office of LCPS.
Susanna Martinez
Earlier this year conflicts between the Martinez administration and the Albuquerque Public Schools over resource management issues were widely reported. Similarly, it appears that these administrative expansions at the LCPS central office seem to directly contradict the objective of creating an administrative austerity philosophy that was encouraged by new Governor Susana Martinez in the wake of the state's budget woes. We also have reports that the additions to the size of the administrative staff at LCPS have not gone unnoticed by school teachers who are deeply frustrated by what many of them perceive to be duplicity and a complete lack of shared sacrifice.


PNM Tries to Hold Down Costs Enviornmentalists Object

Canadian Business - New Mexico's largest electric utility has a plan for meeting future demand, and it includes new natural gas power plants, more renewable energy and greater efficiency. Public Service Company of New Mexico filed its latest resource plan with the state Public Regulation Commission on Monday, but environmental groups said Tuesday they will likely file objections with the panel. Of the more than 1,100 megawatts of new resources PNM will need to serve customers by 2030, it said more than half will come from new small-scale natural gas power plants. Read full story here: News New Mexico