State senator throws Susana a curve at news conference

From Capitol Report New - On Monday afternoon (Aug. 29), Gov. Susana Martinez held a news conference announcing her decision to re-introduce a bill ending the practice of what’s called “social promotion” (allowing students to move on to the next grade even if they have not mastered the school work required). A number of legislators showed up at the newser, standing figuratively and literally with the governor in support of adding the legislation to the upcoming special session of the legislature. But when it came her turn to speak to reporters, Garcia — a Democrat from Doña Ana County — announced that she had changed her mind about placing the social promotion bill on the call for the special session. “I’m sorry, governor,” Garcia said. “I made this decision last night after hearing from so many of my constituents … Perhaps if it comes up in January [during the legislature's regular, 30-day session], I would support it … It’s premature. Governor, I hate to disappoint you … we need to concentrate on redistricting.” Later, when talking to reporters, Garcia said that while she endorsed a bill in this past 60-day session that would prevent third graders who have not mastered reading skills from getting promoted to the fourth grade, she thinks the social promotion bill and other pieces of legislation Martinez wants placed on the special session docket should be postponed. “I say, let’s wait,” Garcia said. But speaking moments after Garcia’s about-face, Martinez said lawmakers — and students in New Mexico — can’t wait. “I’m not satisfied with being 49th in the nation,” Martinez said, referring to a number of recent educational studies showing dismal results from New Mexico schools. Read more


Rail Runner Eating into Road Maintenance Funds

KOB - TV - Gov. Susana Martinez's administration plans to ask the Legislature to provide $41 million for road maintenance across the state to help offset a drain on the Transportation Department from costs of the Rail Runner commuter train system. The Republican governor wants lawmakers to provide the money in a capital improvement bill during a special legislative session next week. The Martinez administration developed the request after reviewing the Rail Runner's long-term costs. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Block Unlikely to Face Impeachment in Special Session

Jerome Block Jr.
Capitol Report New Mexico - With the special legislative session scheduled to start in exactly one week (Sept. 6), New Mexico legislators were told Monday (Aug. 29) by the director of the Legislative Council Service, the Roundhouse agency that works with lawmakers of all political stripes, that should legislators decide to impeach Public Regulations Commissioner Jerome Block Jr. the proceedings should not be done during the special session. Instead, director Raul Burciaga said impeachment should be reserved for what’s called an “extraordinary session” because of what Burciaga says is the serious nature of an impeachment hearing. Speaker of the House Ben Luján (D-Nambé) last week approved the formation of a subcommittee to look into whether the allegations facing Block Jr. rise to the level of impeachable offenses. The special session is expected to last for two to three weeks and given its time constraints, Burciaga said Monday “it would be inappropriate” to hold impeachment proceedings in the same session as the subcommittee looking into the Block case. Instead, Burciaga recommends having the legislature call itself into a separate, extraordinary session. It takes three-fifths approval of each chamber of the legislature to convene itself into extraordinary session. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Lujan Enlists Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi and Ben Ray Lujan
Capitol Report New Mexico - Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) made a trip to Santa Fe on Monday morning (Aug. 29) with Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-New Mexico), portraying themselves as defenders of Social Security and Medicare with Pelosi saying Republican calls for reining in entitlement spending “isn’t about the deficit … Republicans didn’t say boo during the (George W. Bush) deficit.” Luján told a group of more than 100 supporters at the Mary Esther Gonzales Senior Center that “working people need our help … our message is to protect our Medicare and hands off our Social Security.” Luján also told the crowd some sitting Republican lawmakers want to privatize Social Security (apparently alluding to a bill introduced by Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas that would allow people to opt-out of Social Security and have 6.2 percent of their wages sent to a savings account) and pointed to comments made in the past couple days by Texas Gov. Rick Perry that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme for young Americans. “These are programs we have to protect,” Luján said. But how do you do that when 10,000 baby boomers per day are turning 65 and the federal deficit is more than $14 trillion? Read full story here: News New Mexico

Federal Judge Blocks Alabama Illegal Immigration Law -- For Now

From Fox - BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- A federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of Alabama's new law cracking down on illegal immigration, ruling Monday that she needed more time to decide whether the law opposed by the Obama administration, church leaders and immigrant-rights groups is constitutional. The brief order by U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Blackburn means the law won't take effect as scheduled on Thursday. The ruling was cheered by opponents who have compared the law to old Jim Crow-era statutes against racial integration. But Blackburn didn't address whether the law is constitutional, and she could still let all or parts of the law take effect later. The judge said she will issue a longer ruling by Sept. 28. Instead, she said she needs more time to consider lawsuits filed by the Justice Department, private groups and individuals that claim the state is overstepping its bounds with the law. Both supporters and opponents say Alabama's law is the nation's toughest against illegal immigration. Among other things, it would require schools to verify the citizenship status of students. Officials say it wouldn't prevent illegal immigrants from attending public schools. Read more

What is a Ponzi Scheme?

Charles Ponzi
A Ponzi scheme is an investment operation that pays returns to separate investors, not from any actual profit earned, but from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors. Typically the Ponzi scheme entices new investors by offering "guarantees" other investments cannot make, in the form of promises of returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent. The perpetuation of a Ponzi scheme requires an ever-increasing flow of money from investors to keep the scheme going. These systems are destined to collapse because the earnings, if any, are less than the payments to investors.


Astronauts May Evacuate Space Station in November, NASA Says

From Yahoo - The International Space Station may have to start operating without a crew in November if Russian engineers don't figure out soon what caused a recent rocket failure, NASA officials announced today (Aug. 29). The unmanned Russian cargo ship Progress 44 crashed just after its Aug. 24 launch to deliver 2.9 tons of supplies to the orbiting lab. The failure was caused by a problem with the Progress' Soyuz rocket, which is similar to the one Russia uses to launch its crew-carrying vehicle — also called Soyuz — to the station. Currently, six astronauts reside on the space station. They shouldn't be unduly affected by the Progress crash, NASA officials said, because they have enough supplies to last a while on orbit. But three of these astronauts are due to return to Earth next month, and the rest are scheduled to come back in mid-November. At the moment, the Soyuz is the only way to get astronauts to and from the station. So if the rocket anomaly isn't identified and fixed soon, a fresh crew won't be able to reach the orbiting lab before the last three spaceflyers head for home. That situation would leave the $100 billion orbiting lab unmanned for the first time since 2001. Still, it wouldn't be a disaster, according to NASA officials. "We know how to do this," NASA's space station program manager Mike Suffredini told reporters today. "Assuming the systems keep operating, like I've said, we can command the vehicle from the ground and operate it fine, and remain on orbit indefinitely." Read more

Perry Calls Social Security a Ponzi Scheme

Rick Perry
Daily Caller - There goes Rick Perry again, saying things that make liberals’ heads explode. Speaking to a crowd in Iowa this weekend, the Texas governor and GOP presidential hopeful doubled down on statements he made in his book, Fed Up!, that Social Security is essentially a pyramid scheme. “It is a Ponzi scheme for these young people,” Perry said. “The idea that they’re working and paying into Social Security today, that the current program is going to be there for them, is a lie. It is a monstrous lie on this generation, and we can’t do that to them.”  Read full story here: News New Mexico

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