The saga comes to an end: Jerome Block Jr. pleads guilty, will step down from the PRC

From Capitol Report New Mexico - Jerome Block Jr. accepted a plea bargain in Santa Fe District Court on Wednesday pleading guilty to two felonies and no contest to another stemming from scrapes he had with the law this summer and as part of the arrangement with the state’s Attorney General’s Office, Block will resign from the Public Regulation Commission within 10 days and promises never again run for public office. In addition, Block Jr. is expected back before District Judge Michael Vigil in about three to 10 days to plead guilty to three felony charges (embezzlement, violating the election code and conspiracy to violate the election code) stemming from his 2008 campaign that saw him elected to the PRC. Block faces up to four and a half years in prison but Judge Vigil said after the hearing that Block could conceivably spend no time in prison, provided he successfully goes through state-ordered drug treatment court. Block admitted two months ago he has an addiction to prescription drugs. Block did not say anything to reporters after Judge Vigil went over the terms of the plea agreement. The 34-year-old from Española could formally tender his resignation as early as tomorrow when the the PRC holds one of its twice-weekly public meetings. Read more

36 Criminal Immigrants Arrested in NM

From -Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) just completed a week-long raid that nabbed 2,901 foreign nationals with criminal records living in the United States, 36 of which were apprehended in New Mexico.  More News New Mexico

Funding drop-off may raise rail fares

From the Santa Fe New - Rail Runner fares could go up by year's end to cover an anticipated $5.4 million drop in federal funding for the passenger train service. Three years of funding under the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program is about to end. The last of the money will be allocated in December and will run out by July, said Dewey Cave, executive director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments, which oversees the operation of the commuter trains in metropolitan Albuquerque and as far north as Santa Fe. The increases under consideration would vary depending on how far a rider travels on the Rail Runner, which bases fares on how many zones a traveler passes through. Under the proposal, the regular rate between the Santa Fe Depot and downtown Albuquerque would be $10 instead of $8 for a day pass. A monthly pass would increase from $100 to $110. Riders who travel the length of the train system, from Belen to Santa Fe, would pay $11 for a day pass instead of $9. A monthly pass for that distance would cost $121 instead of $110. Discounted fares are available for students and senior citizens. Cave said he hopes to have a decision on the proposed increase by December. Read more

Richardson Joins the Baker Institute

Gov. Bill Richardson
From -Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is the Baker Institute’s new senior fellow for Latin America. In this new role, Richardson will provide direction to the Baker Institute Latin America Initiative’s policy focus on crucial issues, including immigration, natural resources and energy, as well as the emerging roles of key countries such as Brazil.  More News New Mexico

Federal officials ban medical marijuana users from owning firearms

From - The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is cracking down on medical marijuana users who own or want to own a gun. Federal authorities say firearms dealers in New Mexico cannot sell guns or ammunition to registered users of the drug. Licensed gun dealers are not allowed to sell guns to buyers who answer "yes" when a required form asks them if they are "an unlawful user of, or addicted to," marijuana or other controlled substances. William Walters is a Vietnam veteran. He is trying to get a medical marijuana card. "They're trying to take away our rights, we have a right to possess a gun," Walters said. A September 21 letter from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also says dealers cannot sell a gun or ammunition if they have "reasonable cause to believe" the buyer is using controlled substances, even if the state allows it. Valerie Jackson runs Charlie’s Sporting Goods in Albuquerque and commented on the requirement. “It’s going to be hard to tell, I’m not law enforcement,” said Jackson in reference to the gun dealer’s responsibility with the new directive. Read more

The media shouldn’t decide who gets to be president

From NM - by Heath Haussamen - Though he has a strong résumé, ideas about how to fix America, and a penchant for being brutally honest, Gary Johnson’s presidential campaign is dead simply because the mainstream media decided he couldn’t win The mainstream media’s successful efforts to shut down the presidential campaign of former N.M. Gov. Gary Johnson are outrageous. I’ve been angry for months about the media’s subjective judging of who is and who isn’t a serious presidential candidate and how it has destroyed the hopes of a candidate who should have been credible. It’s not because I have a high opinion of Johnson or want him to be president. It’s because I believe voters should get to decide whether to take Johnson seriously. Instead, the media has made that decision for them. Read more

At It's Roots, Global Warming Theory/Alarmism is "Interpretation".....Not Science

Dr. Ivar Giaever
Townhall - In truth, global-warming alarmism is not science at all -- not in the way that electromagnetic radiation or the laws of planetary motion or molecular biology is science. Catastrophic climate change is an interpretation of certain scientific data, an interpretation based on theories about the causes and effects of growing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It is not "denying science" to have doubts about the correctness of that interpretation any more than it is "denying economics" to have doubts about the efficacy of Kenyesian pump-priming. You don't have to look far to see that impeccable scientific standards can go hand-in-hand with skepticism about global warming. Ivar Giaever, a 1973 Nobel laureate in physics, resigned this month as a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) to protest the organization's official position that evidence of manmade climate change is "incontrovertible" and cause for alarm. In an e-mail explaining his resignation, Giaever challenges the view that any scientific assertion is so sacred that it cannot be contested. "In the APS it is ok to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves," Giaever writes, incredulous, "but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?"
Albert Einstein
Nor does Giaever, a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute faculty member, share the society's view that carbon emissions threaten "significant disruptions in the Earth's physical and ecological systems, social systems, security, and human health." In fact, the very concept of a "global" temperature is one he questions: "The claim (how can you measure the average temperature of the whole earth for a whole year?) is that the temperature has changed from ~288.0 to ~288.8 degrees Kelvin in about 150 years, which (if true) means to me … that the temperature has been amazingly stable, and both human health and happiness have definitely improved in this 'warming' period." By now, only ideologues and political propagandists insist that all reputable scientists agree on the human responsibility for climate change. Even within the American Physical Society, the editor of "Physics and Society" (an APS publication) has acknowledged that "there is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree … that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are … primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution." Giaever is only one of many distinguished scientists who dissent from the alarmist view on climate change. Among the others are Richard Lindzen of MIT and John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville, both noted climatologists; the eminent physicist Freeman Dyson of Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study; and S. Fred Singer, professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia. Within the population of weather experts best known to the public -- broadcast meteorologists -- The New York Times reported last year that skepticism of the prevailing anthropogenic global-warming theory "appears to be widespread." Read full analysis here: News New Mexico

Block Jr. Pays Traffic Ticket Fine

Jerome Block Jr.
Santa Fe New Mexican - Nearly 16 months after a Santa Fe police officer cited him for reckless driving, state Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block Jr. finally appeared in Municipal Court to pay his fine. But, even though court officials gave Block a letter to present to the New Mexico Motor Vehicles Division to get his driver's license reinstated, MVD records show the 34-year-old elected official hasn't done so, an MVD spokesman said Tuesday. "As of this afternoon, his license is still suspended," spokesman S.U. Mahesh said. "Once you get a clearance letter and take that to any MVD office and pay a reinstatement fee, which is $25, they give you a permit for 45 days. Then the driver's license will come in the mail." Asked whether it was possible that Block presented the letter and the agency had not yet processed it, Mahesh said, "Our records show he hasn't produced the clearance letter and paid the reinstatement fee." Block didn't return two phone messages left for him Tuesday. Read full story here: News New Mexico

The Things Government Guaranteed Loans Buy

Bloomberg - The glass-and-metal building that Solyndra LLC began erecting alongside Interstate 880 in Fremont, California, in September 2009 was something the Silicon Valley area hadn’t seen in years: a new factory. It wasn’t just any factory. When it was completed at an estimated cost of $733 million, including proceeds from a $535 million U.S. loan guarantee, it covered 300,000 square feet, the equivalent of five football fields. It had robots that whistled Disney tunes, spa-like showers with liquid-crystal displays of the water temperature, and glass-walled conference rooms. “The new building is like the Taj Mahal,” John Pierce, 54, a San Jose resident who worked as a facilities manager at Solyndra, said in an interview. The building, designed to make far more solar panels than Solyndra got orders for, is now shuttered, and U.S. taxpayers may be stuck with it. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy protection on Sept. 6, leaving in its wake investigations by Congress and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a Republican-fueled political embarrassment for the Obama administration, which issued the loan guarantee. About 1,100 workers lost their jobs. Read full story here: News New Mexico

U.S. Solar Bank (Energy Dept.) At It AGAIN

Forbes - The Energy Department on Wednesday approved two loan guarantees worth more than $1 billion for solar energy projects in Nevada and Arizona, two days before the expiration date of a program that has become a rallying cry for Republican critics of the Obama administration's green energy program. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the department has completed a $737 million loan guarantee to Tonopah Solar Energy for a 110 megawatt solar tower on federal land near Tonopah, Nev., and a $337 million guarantee for Mesquite Solar 1 to develop a 150 megawatt solar plant near Phoenix. The loans were approved under the same program that paid for a $528 million loan to Solyndra Inc., a California solar panel maker that went bankrupt after receiving the money and laid off 1,100 workers. Solyndra is under investigation by the FBI and is the focal point of House hearings on the program. Read full story here: News New Mexico

1st Year of Obamacare: Health Insurance up 9%

ABC - Health insurance premiums shot up 9 percent this year, nearly three times the rate of inflation and the most since 2005, a new study shows. This year, the annual premiums paid out for employer-sponsored programs topped $15,000, according to Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust, which conducts an annual health benefits survey. Average health care premiums rose to $10,944 for employers and $4,129 for workers for a total of $15,073. At a time when economic news is gloomy, the rate of payment may seem troublesome. “This year’s 9 percent increase in premiums is especially painful for workers and employers struggling through a weak recovery,” Kaiser President Drew Altman said in a statement. The rate of increase is faster than wage hikes and general inflation, which rose 2.1 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively. The figure has risen a whopping 113 percent in the last 10 years, according to Kaiser. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Enivronmentalists Gather in Santa Fe to Criticize Industries

KOB - TV - A national advocacy group challenged Gov. Susana Martinez’s record on New Mexico environmental issues in a report released Tuesday. In a press conference at the Roundhouse, Food & Water Watch was joined by local groups Conservation Voters New Mexico and the New Mexico Federation of Labor in criticizing Martinez for what it called her practice of giving “special privilege to industries like oil and gas, industrialized dairy, homebuilders and mining at the expense of environmental protection and the local economy.” Read full story here: News New Mexico

"Texas Fire Starter"


Miller: Dems Can't Criticize Martinez on Jobs

Jay Miller
Inside the Capitol - Ever since Gov. Susana Martinez presented her initiatives to the Legislature last January, Democrats have accused her of concentrating on wedge issues instead of job creation. Gov. Martinez countered that insisting on no new taxes and reduction of regulations on businesses was the best jobs program possible. Democrats disagreed and argued that more immediate solutions were necessary. Democrats picked up some extra ammunition as the Legislature adjourned in March. A group of Republican senators, upset that some of the governor's priorities were not scheduled for debate, staged a filibuster that caused a big capital outlay bill to die upon adjournment. An omnibus bill, funding public works projects throughout the state is usually always the final item heard on the floor of the Senate before adjournment. The strategy is to preclude senators from last-minute efforts to add projects in their districts. Martinez had no visible connection to the death of the capital outlay bill but it could be argued that she was more interested in issues other than jobs. When the special session rolled around in September, that capital outlay bill was a major priority of the governor. The state's business and labor communities got together to support it. Capital outlay bills are popular because they don't require taxpayer money. They are funded by taxes on the minerals that are mined or pumped out of our state land. Capital outlay bills are especially popular these days since they fund infrastructure projects at a time when our state and nation is becoming aware of our decaying infrastructure. So it came as a big surprise when the Senate Finance Committee pared the capital outlay bill from $213 million to $86 million. Committee chairman John Arthur Smith, of Deming, took the lead in arguing that in a time of such economic uncertainty, we should hold some money back in case there is less income to the fund or in case interest rates on severance tax bonds increase. It was assumed that more moderate Democrats, along with Republican supporters of Gov. Martinez, could push the appropriation back up to its original level. But it didn't happen. Republicans were not united behind the governor's proposal. Any hopes of House members rallying in support of a higher figure were dashed when the Senate passed the bill at its lower amount and then adjourned at 1 a.m. last Saturday morning, leaving the House with no choice other than to accept the Senate's figure or go home empty handed again.  Read full column here: News New Mexico