NM won't have floats in Rose Parade

From KRQE-TV.com - SANTA FE (KRQE) - As hundreds of volunteers prune and primp roses, leading up to one of the most popular parades around, New Mexico will be sitting on the sidelines. The Land of Enchantment has entered floats four of the last five years, showcasing everything New Mexico, from hot air balloons to a Roswell UFO theme to even Wile Coyote and the Road Runner. The floats flourished under former Gov. Bill Richardson, whose administration believed the parade catapulted the state into the national spotlight and boosted tourism. But the new administration has charted a new course when it comes to tourism marketing, and it doesn't plan to participate in the parade. "Our entire focus is on spending the taxpayer dollar in the most efficient and effective way possible," said Tourism Secretary Monique Jacobson. Building a float cost upwards of $200,000 a year, money that Jacobson said can be better spent elsewhere. Read more

Buffalo Barges Through Edgewood Community

From KOAT-TV.com - EDGEWOOD, N.M. -- Edgewood residents got a noisy surprise Wednesday when a buffalo ran wild through the town. The wild beast even got the Torrance County Sheriff himself out to wrangle the critter. The buffalo was spotted about 8:30 a.m. in one of the town's subdivisions. "It zigzagged in and out of backyards and on roads," Sheriff Heath White said. Resident Irene Buynar looked outside to see the buffalo in her fenced-in backyard. "I might have a pet for the rest of the year," Buynar said. After about three hours of the buffalo being on the run, deputies began their first earnest attempt to catch the beast. Unfortunately the buffalo got spooked by their first try and they had to change tactics. White said this was buffalo No. 3 for his department this year. "We usually deal with outlaws of a different manner," White said. Deputies said the buffalo will be released back to the wild where it belongs. Investigators said it's unclear whom the buffalo belongs to. Read more

Senate Republicans Seek to Block Unconfirmed Appointments to Labor Board

From FoxNews.com - WASHINGTON – As a year marred with fights and stalemates within the federal government comes to a close, Republican lawmakers and President Obama are embroiled in yet another battle of wills. Republican lawmakers are refusing to officially adjourn for the year in hopes of deterring Obama from making any unconfirmed appointments to controversial boards while Congress is on vacation. Senate Republicans and the president can’t agree on new National Labor Relations Board members, leaving only two chairs on the board filled going into the new year. This will cause the board to shut down, as a quorum cannot occur with two chairs filled. Obama will then be forced to make recess appointments in order to keep the board running. However, under the Constitution the president can simply appoint someone to fill any of these slots on his own if the Senate is not in session. In an effort to prevent these recess appointments, Republicans are having the Senate ‘gavel in gavel out’ every few days, meaning they are not officially adjourning for the year. If this prevents the Senate from taking a recess, lawmakers believe Obama will be stopped from making any recess appointments. However, this may all depend on how one defines a recess. Obama could argue that two or three days can be defined as a recess, although recent history dictates that is not the case. Political expert Stephen Hess of Brookings says the president would have to stretch to justify qualifying two or three days as a recess. "He's got the option," Hess said, "but he's got to go back a long way in history to find an example that's going to suit his convenience if he wants to go ahead with a recess appointment." Democratic strategist Doug Schoen believes an effort by the president to challenge the recess would be too risky. Read more


Tarzan's Chimp Sidekick, Cheetah, Dies at 80

NewsNM: Swickard - cute story but we think that it has to be a sham. Still, cute story. From People Pets - Cheetah, a chimpanzee who starred alongside Tarzan in the franchise films of the early 1930s, died Saturday. He had experienced kidney failure earlier that week, and was thought to be 80 years old. Cheetah, also known as Cheetah-Mike, acted as Tarzan's comic sidekick "Cheeta" and was one of several chimpanzees who appeared in the films of 1932 to 1934, with Johnny Weissmuller in the starring role. Around 1960, after living on Weissmuller's estate, Cheetah retired to Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor, Fla. "It is with great sadness that the community has lost a dear friend and family member," the sanctuary announced this week on its website. Chimpanzees live an average of 45 years in the wild, and captive chimps have an average lifespan of 60 years. While at the sanctuary, Cheetah enjoyed watching sports on television, listening to nondenominational Christian music, and occasionally throwing poop when he was feeling disgruntled. Read more

Martinez Wants More Money For College Prep

From washingtonexaminer.com -New Mexico high school students will get more access to advanced placement classes and be able to take the PSAT for free under a plan unveiled Wednesday by Gov. Susana Martinez. Martinez said the budget recommendations to the 2012 Legislature also include more frequent testing to ensure students are learning what they need to know to get into college. "Today's students are tomorrow's workforce," Martinez said at the University of New Mexico. "When they graduate high school, New Mexico students deserve every advantage to make sure they are successful in college. When our students earn their diploma, they expect to have all the skills they need for college. These reforms will help us deliver on that promise." The recommendations call for $4.2 million to fund increased access to AP programs, and $2.5 million for statewide short-cycle tests for more than 180,000 students in grades 4 through 10.  More News New Mexico

Top 10 Worst Federal Rules of 2011

From the Foundry - Hindsight is supposed to be 20/20, but looking back on the past 12 months, it’s tough to see any sense in many of the Administration’s regulatory missteps. Of course, there are bound to be a few howlers when government churns out more than 3,500 rules in a year, including dozens unleashed by Obamacare, Dodd–Frank, and the perpetually errant Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But by any standard, 2011 brought forth a remarkable number and variety of regulatory blunders. Fair warning: Our Top 10 list may prove fatal to any bit of faith in government as a “fixer,” if faith somehow has managed to survive despite all evidence to the contrary. In any event, it should steel our resolve to fight the Leviathan in the coming year.
1. The Dim Bulbs Rule. As per Congress, of course, for issuing an edict to phase out the incandescent light bulbs on which the world has relied for more than a century. With the deadline looming in 2012, Americans by the millions spent the past year pressing lawmakers to lift the ban which, contrary to eco-ideology, will kill more American jobs than create “green” ones. (Congress evidently overlooked the fact that the vast majority of fluorescent bulbs are manufactured in China.) The 2012 appropriations bill barred the use of funds to enforce the regulation, but it remains in law.
2. The Obamacare Chutzpah Rule. The past year was marked by a slew of competing court rulings on the constitutionality of the individual mandate, the cornerstone of Obamacare. The law requires U.S. citizens to obtain health insurance or face financial penalties imposed by the Internal Revenue Service. Never before has the federal government attempted to force all Americans to purchase a product or service.
3. The Nationalization of Internet Networks Rule. Regulations that took effect on November 1 prohibit owners of broadband networks from differentiating among various content in managing Internet transmissions. (In other words, the Federal Coercion Communications Commission effectively declared the broadband networks to be government-regulated utilities.)
4. The Equine Equality Rule. As of March 15, hotels, restaurants, airlines, and the like became obliged to modify “policies, practices, or procedures” to accommodate miniature horses as service animals.
5. The Smash Potatoes Regulation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed stricter nutrition standards that would prohibit school lunch ladies from serving more than one cup per week of potatoes per student. Instead, schools would be required to provide more dark green, orange, and dry bean varieties (think kale) in order to foster vegetable diversity. The cafeteria mandate will affect more than 98,000 elementary and secondary schools at a cost exceeding $3.4 billion in the next four years.
6. The Bring on the Blackouts Rule. The EPA is proposing to force power plants to reduce mercury by 90 percent within three years—at an estimated cost of $11 billion annually. A significant number of coal-fired plants will actually exceed the standard—by shutting down altogether. Indeed, grid operators, along with 27 states, are warning that the overly stringent regulations will threaten the reliability of the electricity system and dramatically increase power costs.
7. The Wal-Mart Windfall Amendment. One of hundreds of new regulations dictated by the Dodd–Frank financial regulation statute requires the Federal Reserve to regulate the fees that financial institutions may charge retailers for processing debit card purchases.
8. The Plumbing Police Rule. The U.S. Department of Energy began preparations for tightening the water efficiency standards on urinals. It’s all spelled out in excruciating detail in the Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products Other Than Automobiles, which also regulates the efficiency of toilets, faucets, and showers. And refrigerators and freezers, air conditioners, water heaters, furnaces, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers, ovens and ranges, pool heaters, television sets, and anything else the Energy Secretary deems as electrically profligate. 9. The Chill the Economy Regulation. The EPA issued four interrelated rules governing emissions from some 200,000 boilers nationwide at an estimated capital cost of $9.5 billion. These boilers burn natural gas, fuel oil, coal, biomass (e.g., wood), refinery gas, or other gas to produce steam, which is used to generate electricity or provide heat for factories and other industrial and institutional facilities. Under the so-called Boiler MACT, factories, restaurants, schools, churches, and even farms would be required to conduct emissions testing and comply with standards of control that vary by boiler size, feedstock, and available technologies. .
10. The Unions Rule Rule. New rules require government contractors to give first preference in hiring to the workers of the company that lost the contract. Tens of thousands of companies will be affected, with compliance costs running into the tens of millions of dollars—costs ultimately borne by taxpayers. The rule effectively ensures that a non-unionized contractor cannot replace a unionized one.

DHS Following Tweets and Postings on Social Media Sites

From theblaze.com -Earlier this month, we reported that an archive of tweets could be held indefinitely by the Library of Congress if they have any “long-term historical interest.” But what about active monitoring of social media by the government? If you think the government is tracking your online movements, keywords in your tweets could be just what turns its eye onto you.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its plans to monitor social media sites in the interest of public safety in February 2011. Now, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), according to Courthouse News, says DHS could track words like “human to animal,“ ”collapse,“ ”infection,” “outbreak” and “illegal immigrants” using fake accounts.  More News New Mexico


Rail Runner to Try "Quiet Car"

KRWG - New Mexico's commuter rail service will begin testing a "quiet car" next week in which passengers will speak in subdued voices and refrain from cell phone use. The Rail Runner Express will launch the 90-day trial period on Tuesday to test the "quiet car" on certain early and afternoon trains. Operators of the rail system say hundreds of passengers in a survey earlier this year said they would use such a car. Read full story here: New New Mexico

Campaign Against Clarence Thomas Underway

NewsNM note: As a subscriber to the Nation, a favorite website of progressives, we receive regular emails. This one came in today:
Dear Progressive Ally: Efforts to hold Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas accountable for ethics violations have jumped to the next level, with a group of House Democrats led by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) now pushing for a Justice Department investigation into Justice Thomas' possible serious violations. Please sign our petition supporting the call for an investigation now. Various reports have raised concerns about Justice Clarence Thomas' seemingly flagrant disregard for important disclosure requirements under the Ethics in Government Act of 1978. Justice Thomas failed to disclose his wife's earnings on judicial financial disclosure forms on which he was required to do so.
Clarence Thomas
And there are questions about his acceptance of gifts from interests with significant stake in several Supreme Court cases. The Supreme Court's very legitimacy and the public's trust in the institution are under threat if Justices do not strictly adhere to ethical standards. It's incredibly important that Justice Thomas' violations are not ignored and that he be held accountable. Hold Justice Clarence Thomas accountable -- take action to support a DOJ investigation now! After you sign, please help spread the word and recruit more Americans to this cause. Thank you for stand up for fair and just courts -- the American Way.


N.M Deputy Crashes Car in Restaurant

From officer.com - A Taos County sheriff's deputy crashed his car into a packed El Prado restaurant on Christmas Eve, landing in the patio. As the deputy's car spun and rolled through the parking lot into the patio, it took out more than half of the restaurant's fence and three trees before coming to rest on the patio fire pit, in an area where there also was a tank of kerosene and a propane tank, said a restaurant employee who was in the restaurant at the time. Beer cans were found in the deputy's car, but Romero was adamant that Lamendola had not been drinking. "He had just borrowed the vehicle from another officer, and that officer had responded to open container calls," Romero said. "(Lamendola) wasn't drinking."  More News New Mexico


Fed Quietly Using "Swap" Contracts to Bail Out Europe

Ben Bernanke
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, America's central bank, the Federal Reserve, is engaged in a bailout of European banks. The arrangement is getting no play in the media in the U.S. The Fed has engaged in a "temporary U.S. dollar liquidity swap arrangement" with the European Central Bank (ECB). In this type of arrangement, WITHOUT ANY CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT or regulatory approval the Federal Reserve "swaps" dollars for euros with the ECB. The Fed receives an interest rate of one-half of 1% above the overnight index swap rate. For its part the ECB, guarantees to return the dollars at an exchange rate fixed at the time the original swap is made. This frees the ECB up to lend the dollars to European banks.
Why are the Fed and the ECB doing this? Both central banks appear to be attempting to fly under the radar. The Fed does not want the debt of foreign banks on its books and a currency swap with the ECB is not technically a loan.
The ECB has even bigger political problems. The heads of many European governments want the ECB to do a bail out. However, most European governments hold the positon that the ECB cannot legally do so.
How big is this deal? As recently as October the amount under a swap renewal agreement from last summer was only $2.4 billion. And for the week ending Dec. 21, the total was $62 billion. These figures leave no doubt that the United States Federal Reserve Board is bailing out European banks and, indirectly, reckless undisciplined European governments. Will Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and President Obama ever get around to offering honest accounting to Congress and the American taxpayers of what they are doing? Don’t hold your breath.


New Mexico Retail Sector 10th Best Since Recession

New Mexico Business Journal - Things may be looking up for the retail sector, but it's still a long way from a full recovery. Just six of the 50 states have more retail jobs today than they did at the end of 2006, according to an On Numbers analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Business Journals Texas retail sector leads nation in jobs and Florida was among worst states for retail job losses.  The study reflects the devastating impact of the recession that officially began in December 2007. The nation lost 753,800 retail jobs between November 2006 and November 2011, the latest month for which official figures are available. Retail sector employment in New Mexico has fared better than most states. In Nov. 2006, the state had 94,500 retail jobs and in Nov. 2011 it had 92,600, for a loss of 1,900. The decline still ranks New Mexico 10th-best in the BLS data. In addition, the drop of 2.01 percent is 9th-best among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Dangerous Border Patrol Interdictions Continue

NewsNM - Agents from the Ajo and Casa Grande Stations in Arizona arrested nine individuals attempting to smuggle more than $200,000 of marijuana and seized a loaded assault rifle during two incidents over the holiday weekend. Late Friday evening, Ajo agents working on horseback in the remote Quijotoa Mountains arrested three adults and three juveniles from Sinaloa, Mexico, and seized eight bundles of marijuana weighing 400 pounds and worth approximately $200,000. The smugglers face federal prosecution for narcotics smuggling.
Monday, Casa Grande, Arizona agents using infrared detection technology spotted three suspected smugglers. Agents arrested the trio found to be transporting 25 pounds of marijuana, several 2-way radios, and one loaded AK-47 assault rifle. The narcotics, valued at $12,500, and equipment were seized. The Border Patrol uses a combination of proven technology, intelligence, and specialty units to target transnational criminal organizations.


#Occupy Santa Fe May Shut Down

Pulaski note: For more information on OSF please click on the following link to their website. From newmexico.watchdog.org -Check out this comment about Occupy protesters: “Mostly it’s been a haven for drunks and the mentally ill.” Another blast from Newt Gingrich, who told Occupiers to “Go get a job right after you take a bath”? Nope, it’s a quote from a member of Occupy Santa Fe, the movement based in “The City Different” that has been camping out for months for free as Santa Fe Mayor David Coss waived city permits and fees so that occupiers can remain at Railyard Park. But in a front page article in the Wednesday (Dec. 28) edition of the Santa Fe New Mexican, the movement appears to be breaking apart on its own as some members are fighting among themselves — literally.  More News New Mexico

Former N.M. Hospital Exec. Sued Over Missing $3M

From canadianbusiness.com - former executive at a Santa Fe hospital has been accused of bilking the care center out of more than $3 million by funneling the money through corporations that he owned in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas that were controlled by a woman with whom he had a personal relationship, according to a recently filed lawsuit.  The Albuquerque Journal reports Great American Insurance Co. filed the lawsuit Friday against Richard Crabtree. It accuses him and other defendants of engaging in a "pervasive scheme" to misappropriate money from Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center by billing and collecting at least $3.2 million for claimed services that either weren't provided or were grossly inflated. More News New Mexico


Dancing in the End Zone

Jim Harbison
I read with great interest a recent editorial by Michael Hayes who wants to “dance in the end zone” and celebrate what he believes was a victory by Democrats to wrest control over the Las Cruces City Council from the “evil” Republicans. I don’t believe at any time, and certainly not in recent history, has the Las Cruces City Council had more than token republican representation let alone been controlled by Republicans. His argument was pretty shallow because the true battle for control over the local government for years has not been between Republicans and Democrats but actually between the moderate wing of the Democrat party and its extreme progressive-socialists.
Las Cruces City Hall
The progressive-socialist wing of the Democrat Party has won 17 of the last 18 City Council elections. Their major focus and success has been in unseating more moderate democrats like Dolores Archuleta, Gil Jones, or Jose Fritz than republicans. Going back in time the progressive dominance began with the influence of environmental activists from Albuquerque. It wasn’t long before the local progressive wing included two paid environmental lobbyists, Nathan Small and Jeff Steinborn, within their ranks. Both were subsequently elected locally to political offices. The progressive’s power has become so strong that moderate democrats are now afraid or unable to oppose them. Read rest of column here: News New Mexico


New Centennial Stamp to Honor N.M.

From nmcentennial.org -Governor Susana Martinez today unveiled a new U.S. Postage stamp to commemorate New Mexico’s Centennial of Statehood in 2012. The Governor was joined on the Santa Fe Plaza by Department of Cultural Affairs Secretary Veronica Gonzales, Santa Fe Postmaster Yasmin MontaƱo and artist Doug West, whose artwork is featured on the first-class “Forever” stamp. West’s image titled “Sanctuary” is a view of the Rio Puerco looking northeast at sunset. The Rio Puerco is a tributary of the Rio Grande and flows west of Albuquerque.  More News New Mexico

Governor Martinez V.P. ? : "Absolutely Not"

Rob Nikolewski
Capitol Report New Mexico - In an interview with Capitol Report New Mexico on Tuesday (Dec. 27), New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez swatted down rumblings that she could be a possible vice-presidential candidate for the future 2012 Republican presidential nominee and said she will definitely place a bill repealing the state’s controversial law that grants driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants on the agenda for the upcoming 30-day legislative session.
We’ll start with the national politics first. Martinez has had her name floated as a possible GOP running mate and on Tuesday, the Capitol Hill publication Roll Call came out with a story saying:
Susana Martinez
"The eventual Republican presidential nominee is likely to come calling for some additional reasons: Martinez is female and Hispanic, and she could be an effective surrogate as the GOP tries to oust President Barack Obama by targeting those key demographics."
With the Iowa caucus just one week away, Capitol Report New Mexico asked the governor about whether she’s favoring one Republican candidate over the others and then asked her about the vice presidential rumors. Here’s what she said: See video and read rest of story here: News New Mexico


"Best of the Rest"


Lobo Village: "A Wild Atmosphere"

Albuquerque Journal - Residents of the University of New Mexico’s privately owned and operated Lobo Village like the swimming pool, the fully outfitted gym and the movie theater, but there is another feature dividing the student population: Residents 21 and over are allowed to drink in their rooms. Underage residents aren’t supposed to but are not subjected to discipline if they are caught doing so. Some students say that’s what attracted them to the new South Campus dorm, but others say a “wild” atmosphere is a distraction that requires them to go elsewhere to study. Read full story here (subscription rquired) : News New Mexico