Rep. Johnson Says Fast and Furious "Manufactured"

Hank Johnson
Daily Caller - Georgia Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson accused the tea party movement and the National Rifle Association of creating an “manufactured” controversy over Operation Fast and Furious Thursday. Johnson’s comments came during an interview with The Daily Caller outside the House Judiciary Committee hearing room. Attorney General Eric Holder was testifying before the committee about Fast and Furious — a Justice Department program where Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents facilitated the sale of about 2,000 guns to Mexican drug cartels. “I think this is another manufactured controversy by the second amendment, NRA Republican tea party movement,” Johnson said.
Brian Terry

Johnson sung a different tune during the hearing, though, comparing the scandal to what he considers a surge in illegal gun sales to criminals. After asking Holder for the specific number of guns the Justice Department and ATF helped smuggle into the hands of drug cartels — to which Holder responded there were about 2,000 — Johnson alleged that the “gun show loophole” was far worse. Read full story here: News New Mexico


Missing Powerball Ticket Creates Merry Christmas

KOAT TV - ALBUQUERQUE -- An Albuquerque woman is $200,000 richer after she found a winning Powerball ticket she had misplaced while cleaning her house Wednesday. Frances Dominguez's quick-pick ticket matched the five white balls in the Nov. 19 drawing.
Frances Dominguez
She missed out on that night's $60 million jackpot because she didn't match the Powerball. Dominguez found the ticket in a drawer where she puts things found in her pockets before putting clothes in the laundry. She found out how much the ticket was worth when she took it to the lottery headquarters. Read full story here: News New Mexico


Obama's NLRB Backs Down on Boeing Complaint

The Hill - The National Labor Relations Board has dropped its controversial case against airline manufacturer Boeing, which had become a lightning rod for conservatives. The labor board argued for much of the past year that Boeing decided to locate a new plant to build its new 787 Dreamliner jets in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, in retaliation for strikes by unionized workers at its existing facilities in Washington state. But the panel appeared to bow to political pressure Friday, saying that a deal the company reached this month with the International Association of Machinists to build a different type of airline, the 737 Max, in Washington satisfied its concerns. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Balancing Economic Development and Conservation

Steve Pearce
By Congressman Steve Pearce - Like all Americans, I want to protect wildlife in both good and bad times. Gifford Pinchot, the first Chief of the US Forest Service once said, “Conservation means the wise use of the earth and its resources for the lasting good of men.” I concur wholeheartedly. Mr. Pinchot was one of the most publicly known conservationists of the 20th century, and recognized that to have healthy forests controlled thinning operations must take place. He believed as I do that conservation should never mean tying our hands to economic development or good stewardship of our lands, but instead should be about finding a balance between jobs and resource protection.
I have always advocated balance, which is why I support the cooperative efforts between private stakeholders, federal officials and local governments through the Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA), which allows private landholders to enroll their land and money in a program designed to protect the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard without listing it. This is a reasonable approach that will serve New Mexico well by protecting our environment and our economy simultaneously. Of course, common sense is usually in short order when it comes to DC lawyers and lobbyists with their hands on taxpayer dollars.
As Congress moves forward in the appropriations process, various special interests often state that while they understand that we are in tough times, their specific program is just too important to face any sort of belt tightening.
Science - My efforts to cultivate cooperation and common sense conservation of the lizard are based on sound science. Earlier this year, a study conducted by the Range Improvement Task Force at New Mexico State determined that much of the data used as evidence for a listing of the lizard is “not scientifically defensible.” Read rest of column here: News New Mexico


Holder, Blago, Richardson: Triangle of Sleaze

Michelle Malkin
From -It was a rough week for the corruptocracy. White House officials better ho-ho-hold on tight because the sleigh ride isn’t going to get any smoother. On Wednesday, disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, D-Ill., received a 14-year prison sentence for scheming to sell President Barack Obama’s Senate office, along with several other pay-for-play schemes. Blago played the distressed daddy for the federal judge, invoking his young daughters and wife (who held her notoriously foul tongue in check) to bemoan how his “life is in ruins.”
A.G. Eric Holder
How far Blago’s fallen from the glory days of 2008, when he was gloating at the prospect of naming a candidate to fill then-President-elect Obama’s seat. “I’ve got this thing, and it’s f**king golden,” he crowed. All that glitters now, though, are the paparazzi flash bulbs that Blago faces on his perp walks. Earlier this week, Bill Richardson, former Democratic governor of New Mexico, disgraced former presidential candidate and failed Obama Commerce Secretary nominee, faced new reports of a federal grand jury into his possible violations of campaign finance laws. The funny-money business is tied to an alleged mistress payoff a la disgraced former presidential candidate and Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C. Additionally, the Wall Street Journal reports, investigators are probing how “Richardson’s close allies steered more than $2 billion of public money into investment funds run by money managers who in turn agreed to pay millions of dollars in consulting fees to high-profile Democratic fundraisers and other supporters of Richardson.” Read full story here: News New Mexico


When Public Unions Successfully Bargain for Special Benefits Taxpayers Foot the Bill

USA Today - Special retirement benefits once reserved for police, firefighters and others with dangerous jobs are now being given to tens of thousands of state workers employed as park rangers, foresters, dispatchers, coroners, even highway laborers, museum guards and lifeguards. The trend will add heavily to the $70 billion that state taxpayers owe state retirement funds each year and is costing states such as Florida and Maryland $15 million to $30 million annually, a USA TODAY analysis shows.
Thirty-one states have passed laws since 2000 that expand the range of workers who can retire when they turn 50 or 55 or after working 20 or 25 years, then collect special pensions that will pay some an extra $1 million or more in retirement. The pensions are enhanced because they are usually based on a higher percentage of a worker's salary than pensions for ordinary state workers. In 10 other states where lawmakers have expanded early retirement eligibility since 2000, the number of workers in those plans increased by twice as much as the increase in workers in regular retirement plans. The states are Arizona, California, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, South Carolina, Vermont and West Virginia. Read full story here: News New Mexico