More NM Parents Opting Out of Child Immunizations

From -New data reveals that there's been a 300 percent increase in the number of New Mexicans choosing not to immunize their children over the last 15 years. Officials with the New Mexico Department of Health said it's an alarming trend. The health department said people tend to opt out in clusters. In some New Mexico schools, the number of parents choosing not to get their children vaccinated is as high as 50 percent.  More News New Mexico

Judge Rules in Favor of GOP in Redistricting Conversations

Brian Sanderoff
From -Judge Hall ruled late Tuesday in favor of the Republicans’ request, saying that the conversations and communication between Sanderoff and Democrats is not privileged information. From AP:A state district court judge is allowing lawyers for Gov. Susana Martinez and  other Republicans to obtain email, notes and other correspondence between lawmakers and a demographer hired by the Legislature to help with redistricting.… Hall ruled there was no privilege of confidentiality because the legislative leaders are using Sanderoff as an expert witness to testify in redistricting trials, which get under way next week. When Hall was announced as the redistricting judge, a number of Republicans told me they were happy because although Hall ran as Democrat when he served on the bench, he had a reputation for being very even-handed.  More News New Mexico

The Latest White House "Dump"

From -Just like clockwork, the Obama administration never misses an opportunity to unload thousands of records it hopes no one will ever bother sifting through during the holidays. On Black Friday, the White House released more visitor log info — trumpeting disclosures it has fought tooth and nail.This August 5, 2011 visit to the president by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and her party of 7. She made no mention of the visit on her Aug. 5 show. What did she and POTUS discuss? Just wondering…Fun fact: According to the White House logs, this was Maddow’s fifth trip to the White House — and fourth to see the president personally.  More News New Mexico

Buh-Bye, Barney, A Video Tribute

Barney Frank
From - Barney Frank announced yesterday that he would not be running for re-election in 2012.  His stated reason was that his district was gerrymandered, which is true.  But Frank was no longer safe in a  safe-district. Remember it took a last-minute infusion of DNCC money to save Barney Frank in 2010 and even then, his 54% of the vote was the lowest he had ever received since his first election in 1980. Frank is retiring because he is chicken, he almost lost last time, and doesn’t have the guts to try again.  More News New Mexico

Convicted Felon Arrested by Border Patrol

From - A Mexican man who's a convicted felon has been arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents. He was recently released from prison and was reporting for the first time to his parole officer. During questioning, agents discovered Avalos had been arrested in 2010 by the New Mexico State Police for criminal sexual contact with a minor. Through a plea bargain, Avalos was convicted of and served time for two lesser felony charges. Avalos had been formally removed from the United States in 2004 but illegally re-entered the country in 2009.  More News New Mexico

NMSU Thinking Beer and Wine Sales Again

New Mexico State University is once again contemplating the sales of beer and wine at athletic events in an effort to raise revenue for the university. Several years ago the university experimented with the idea at the Pan American Center for a couple of games. Reportedly then Governor Bill Richardson made it be known that he would be very displeased if the practice continued, so the plan, which was well-received by the fans was dropped. Ironically, the university broadcasts of Aggie games on television and radio have always included companies that sell beer and wine. Also, beer and wine can be purchased at the Fulton Center by the elite boosters during games. However, apparently these same services (and the potential for revenue streams) have not been offered to the "masses." Nobody seems sure if any adult beverages are consumed during tailgating before the games, but some reports, from seemingly reliable sources, suggest they are.


Obamacare "Grant" Arrives in NM

SANTA FE – Governor Susana Martinez announced today that New Mexico has been awarded a $34.2 million grant by the federal Health and Human Services (HHS) Department to help establish an affordable health insurance exchange in the state. New Mexico submitted a Level 1 Health Insurance Exchange Establishment Grant on 9/29/2011 to begin establishing the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange (NMHIX). The state Human Services Department (HSD) was informed of the award of grant this morning. “States can advance the cause of patient freedom and choice, and take advantage of state and federal opportunities to improve health. We must modernize health insurance markets in New Mexico, built on the fundamental principles of real consumer choice, true market-based competition and value, and the grant is a big step in the right direction,” said Governor Martinez.
The grant funding will be used to establish the NMHIX over the next 12 months and to meet the timelines established by the federal government to become operational by 2014. The grant will help plan a governance structure, hire staff, and fund contractors. The state will also be able to research and prepare to plan to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse, develop a multi-year operations plan, and determine funding mechanisms so NMHIX is self-sustaining by 2015. While this is ongoing, the Office of Health Care Reform will also work to identify, as necessary, state laws that need to be amended to comply with federal laws. NMHIX will act as a one-stop-shop for those who are seeking health insurance coverage for themselves and their families, and for small businesses to have options to insure their employees. The goal of establishing an exchange is to help bring down the rate of uninsured and to reform the insurance marketplace in New Mexico by directly connecting consumers with health insurance carriers. New Mexico’s exchange will include a call center, tribal assistance center, and customer assistance through navigators to help individuals and small businesses choose health insurance benefits tailored to their specific needs.


Pearce Goes to Salazar with Lizard Problem

Washington, DC (November 28, 2011) Today, Congressman Steve Pearce and 17 other Members of the U.S. House of Representatives submitted a bipartisan letter to Ken Salazar, the Secretary of the Interior, opposing the proposed listing of the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard (DSL) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The letter also calls for at least a six-month delay of a listing decision to gather more credible science and to allow for current conservation efforts to enroll additional participants and grow its private funding base.
Steve Pearce
“Given the growing body of evidence, we ask that the Fish and Wildlife Service not list the DSL as endangered or threatened,” the Representatives wrote in the letter. “If the Service feels that it cannot make that determination at this time, then at a minimum, we request that it delay its final decision by at least six months to take into account the rapidly evolving state of facts on the ground.”
The science available to the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) warranting the listing has since come under question, drawing a similar letter from both Senator Tom Udall and Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico. “As with all listings, the crux of our concerns is the science underpinning this decision; there simply is not enough available information to credibly argue that the species is declining,” the letter continued. “There are also important questions about the science on which FWS based this proposed listing. Perhaps most obviously, a paper referenced in the proposed listing contradicts the conclusions drawn by FWS. The study, by Sias and Snell, shows that the lizard’s population actually increased by a factor of 2.4 in areas where oil and gas wells were present compared to an increase by a factor of 1.6 in areas without wells. Yet, FWS asserts that oil and gas wells are detrimental to lizard populations.”
Ken Salazar
Since the initial proposal of the listing, Congressman Pearce has taken a firm stance against a federal listing for the sake of saving jobs in New Mexico. Pearce supported a scientific roundtable to bring forth the truths of the science behind the lizard population, and continually expresses his commitment to solutions that protect both the lizard and jobs of hard working Americans.


House shaking? Blame night maneuvers by F-22 Raptors

From the Las Cruces Sun-News - HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE - Night maneuvers by F-22 Raptors will continue in the area and that concerns Lori English, a retired U.S. Marine. English is torn, she said, because she understands the importance of having a well-trained military but tempers that with the apparent damage to her East Mesa home, allegedly from sonic booms caused by the jets. "I've got a cinderblock house and there's cracks in every single room of my house," English said. "Since the flights started again, in September, these episodes of sonic booms have amounted to the same as 3.0 to 4.0 earthquakes. I know that because I used to live in California. These sonic booms literally rattle my whole house." Officials with the 49th Wing at Holloman Air Force Base, near Alamogordo, said Monday that training flights for F-22 Raptors are scheduled the next two weeks, and those will include flights after dark. That means chances for sonic booms to occur is possible. Because of the F-22's "supercruise" capability, sonic booms can happen when the aircraft is in flight. Read more

Maxine Waters Will Take Over for Barney Frank

Maxine Waters
The Hill - Wall Street executives are bracing for the possibility that Rep. Maxine Waters will take over as the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee after Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) retires. Waters, an outspoken California liberal who is considered to the left of Frank on financial and housing issues, suggested in a statement Monday that she is laying the groundwork to become the senior Democrat on the panel. Read full story here: News New Mexico


NM Jobless Rate 6.6%

New Mexico Business Journal - New Mexico added 5,000 jobs between October 2010 and October 2011, according to the Department of Workforce Solutions. Most of the growth came from the educational and health services sectors. The state’s unemployment rate was 6.6 percent last month, unchanged from September, but down from 8.6 percent a year ago. The national unemployment rate was 9 percent. This was the fifth straight month of over-the-year job growth, which follows a 32-month period of losses. The education and health services sectors added 6,900 jobs, growing 5.7 percent over the year. Retail trade also added 2,700 jobs and wholesale trade added 1,500. Read full story here: News New Mexico

"Pedobear" Sightings Concern State Law Enforcement

From the Deming Headlight - "Our ICAC unit has received reports that the Pedobear window sticker has been sighted in Albuquerque on at least two vehicles recently," says AG King. "We are very concerned about the potential link between the Pedobear symbol and pedophiles; we also want to increase public awareness of the potential danger to children, especially young girls." The concept of the Pedobear began on the Internet as a digital representation of a bear that has a sexual interest in underage girls. Pedobear symbology has spread from the online subculture to mainstream depictions all over the world in the last couple of years. Recently, a man dressed as the Internet-based Pedobear was escorted by police from the San Diego Comic Con event, where he had been distributing candy to children. A photograph of a vehicle in Albuquerque sporting a Pedobear window sticker was forwarded to the Attorney General's Office by the New Mexico Department of Corrections. The AG's office is also distributing a flyer for parents and other concerned adults with more details about the Pedobear history. Read more

Senator Wirth: Will Push for More Corporate Taxes

Peter Wirth
Santa Fe New Mexican - State Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, hasn't had much luck in the past eight years in his effort to pass a bill to make sure out-of-state corporations pay corporate income taxes in New Mexico. Wirth's past "combined reporting" bills have died repeatedly in legislative committees. Gov. Susana Martinez has said she'd veto it. Lobbyists say such a change would hurt business in the state and not bring in the level of revenue that proponents claim. But Wirth, who announced Monday he is seeking re-election to his Senate seat, isn't giving up. He said he'll introduce the bill once again in next year's Legislature. And he'll be speaking about the proposal Tuesday to a local progressive group called We Are People Here, which has taken up Wirth's proposal as one of its causes. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Duran issues a snarky report we can’t trust

From NM - by Heath Haussamen - We needed Secretary of State Dianna Duran to lead a transparent probe of the voter rolls that included county clerks from both parties so we could know there was evidence to back up the conclusions and that partisanship wasn’t an issue. We didn’t need a snarky report we can’t trust. Read more

Appeals Court: No Water from Rio Grande for Albuquerque

KOB TV - The state Court of Appeals has ruled against the city of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County in a dispute over diverting water from the Rio Grande to supply drinking water for the metropolitan area. The court ruled on Monday that the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Water Authority failed to follow proper procedures in getting a permit from the state engineer's office to divert about 45,000 acre feet of river water. Red full story here: News New Mexico

"Obama's Safety Net"


Public policy and regulatory decisions driving up electricity rates

Marita Noon
Electricity rates now depend more on public policy and regulatory decisions than on actual costs. Based on a newly released report from Oliver Wyman, a leading global management consulting firm, “There is a growing need to increase electricity prices. These rate increases are largely being driven by environmental, regulatory, and security requirements.” And they are adding to “financial strain at the worst possible moment.” The report, designed to help utility companies deal with customer wrath, states that “the increases have been the most significant in the residential segment”—where they grew more quickly than other sectors. Despite declining pricing on some fuels, such as natural gas, electricity rates have risen 2.7% per year with some regions experiencing average price increases of 5.1% annually. In contrast, the consumer price index—excluding food and energy—rose by 1.7%.
Residential customers experiencing the highest increases, and/or potential increases, are those who are heavily dependent on coal-fueled generation, as required retrofits cannot economically meet existing environmental requirements—resulting in the proposed retirement of older coal-fueled plants. Existing and proposed EPA rules are having a significant impact on rates—with the vast majority of compliance costs falling on residents. The report states: “If these are enacted and enforced, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff has informally estimated that 8% of our electric generation capacity, representing 81 GW of the nation’s generating capacity, will need to be retired.”
Four Corners Power Plant
Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator, was recently asked about the mass retirements of coal-fueled power plants as a result of EPA regulations. While they do not technically require shutting down any plant, the rules are such that plants cannot be operated economically—but Jackson doesn’t see that as her problem. “I can’t say what a business will decide to do. Some businesses are investing in nuclear, some are looking at natural gas. There are states that are leading the way on solar or wind.”
Jackson’s comment, plus the Department of Energy’s loan guarantees, makes clear that the only correct path is wind and solar. But why? Read full column here: News New Mexico