Obama's old Chrysler offered on eBay for $1 million

From the Washington Post - If you’ve got $1 million and a burning desire for a 2005 Chrysler 300C once driven by the then-senator, you can snag it on eBay. Obama leased the car until 2007, when he replaced it with a greener Ford Escape hybrid, reports CNN. Chicago’s Tim O’Boyle bought it from a showroom — only 20,800 miles on it — and tried to auction it off after the 2008 election. Jokers ran the price up to $100 million. Ha! No sale. Hoping to capi­tal­ize on the campaign season, O’Boyle got serious again two weeks ago and re-listed the car — with pre-screening and a $2,000 deposit required to bid. ”Please understand that the $1 million dollar starting price is not a joke,” reads the listing. The current Blue Book value of the Chrysler is around $14,000. The auction ends Wednesday night. As of press time, exactly zero bids. Read more


2012 Non-political humor


2012 Political Humor (On the Right)

My Daughter's Moving Out  -
Last night, my daughter just walked into the living room and said, "Dad, cancel my allowance immediately, rent my room out, throw all my clothes out of the window, take my TV, stereo, iPhone, iPod, and my laptop. Please take all of my jewelry to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Then sell my new car. Take my front door key away from me and throw me out of the house. Then disown me and never talk to me again. And don't forget to write me out of your will and leave my share to my sister."
Well, she didn't put it quite like that. She actually said...
'Dad, I have decided to work for Obama's re-election campaign.'"

2012 Political Humor (on the left)


Approved: $21.5M Rate Increase for NM Gas Co.

From therepublic.com -New Mexico regulators have approved a $21.5 million rate increase for New Mexico Gas Co.  The Public Regulation Commission made its decision Tuesday after a two-hour meeting in which commissioners heard recommendations from a hearing examiner and the utility's attorneys.  The rate increase was $13 million less than what the utility initially requested. Commissioners say they approved the lower rate to ease the burden on low-income customers.  The rate hike will take effect Wednesday.  New Mexico Gas officials say residential customers will see their monthly bills increase by an average of $3.19, or about $38 a year.  The 6.4 percent rate increase stems from a settlement reached last fall by the utility, ConocoPhillips, an advocacy group and the U.S. Department of Energy.  The utility serves about 505,000 New Mexico customers.

N.M. To Hold Tours Of 1980 Pen Riot

From koat.com -New Mexico's Corrections Department is opening to the public the site of the violent 1980 riot at the state's penitentiary near Santa Fe.  The state will begin offering public tours Thursday of the infamous "Old Main" prison building. That's the anniversary of one of the nation's worst prison riots in history that claimed 33 people before National Guard units were called.  Corrections Department spokeswoman Rosie Sais said the idea for the tours followed Gov. Susana Martinez's request that all state government departments organize public events in connection with the state's Centennial celebration this year.  More News New Mexico

Law Abiding Mexicans Taking Up Illegal Guns

From npr.com - In Mexico, where criminals are armed to the teeth with high-powered weapons smuggled from the United States, it may come as a surprise that the country has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the world.  Law-abiding Mexicans who want a gun to defend themselves have no good options. Either they fight government red tape to get a legal permit, or they buy one on the black market. After an outbreak of violence, one embattled community in northern Mexico called Colonia LeBaron has begun to ask if it's time for the country to address its gun laws.  More News New Mexico

Occupier Strangles Parents

From thegatewaypundit.com - Friends and relatives said Susan Poff and Robert Kamin of Oakland were the perfect pair to adopt a foster child.  They had dedicated their careers to helping others escape poverty, she as a physician assistant in a city-run clinic in the Tenderloin and he as a clinical psychologist for inmates in the San Francisco County Jail system.  But now, less than a decade after they adopted, their 15-year-old son stands accused of strangling both Poff, 50, and Kamin, 55, then hiding their bodies in the back of the family’s PT Cruiser… Co-workers said Poff and Kamin were having some arguments with their son, some of it having to do with him spending too much time in the Occupy Oakland encampment, but nothing that sounded beyond the scope of typical teenage rebelliousness.  More News New Mexico

House Committee Delays Budget Vote

KOAT TV - A proposed $5.6 billion state budget hit a last-minute snag in a House committee Monday after Republicans objected that several of the GOP governor's initiatives might get chopped if the state's revenue outlook dims. The Appropriations and Finance Committee postponed a final vote on the budget, and the chairman, Rep. Henry Kiki Saavedra, D-Albuquerque, said he was surprised by the GOP complaints because members of the panel had tentatively agreed last week on provisions of the spending plan. The budget proposal calls for a spending increase of nearly $216 million, or about 4 percent, in the fiscal year that starts July 1. However, the plan leaves about $41 million available for possible tax cuts - a high priority for the governor - or additional budget increases.
Economic growth is expected to generate about $257 million in new revenues next year that lawmakers can use for the budget or to cover the cost of tax reductions. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Journal Takes Gary King to Woodshed

Gary King
Albuquerque Journal - This month New Mexicans were treated to an absolutely surreal exercise in dissembling courtesy of their attorney general, one that would almost be amusing if it wasn’t coming from the state’s top lawyer on taxpayers’ time and dime. When confronted with a civil lawsuit investigation that concluded his office had been made aware of an alleged multimillion-dollar fraud scheme at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center back in 2008 — and the fact his staff claimed it had known about the case for only a few months — New Mexico Attorney General Gary King offered the astonishing explanation that his “folks” were “just trying to be indefinite” and not say too much about an ongoing investigation.
His “folks” also haven’t tried to prosecute the case criminally — four years in. And that should prompt New Mexicans to ask what else have they gotten from this attorney general. Read full column here (subscription required) : News New Mexico 

"Pigs Snout"


Reader Feedback and Reply

Michael and Conrad
Received Monday, January 30, 2012 10:45 PM from a reader.
Subject: Excuse me?
"You obviously miss the point of the #Occupy movement.
It doesn't play by your rules, or the rules that the 1 percent have put in place.
The only way the #Occupy Movement can command attention is to act within its own rules.
Not yours, not the 1 percent's, but OURS.
Wrap your head around that.
Your dog is bigger than your mind."
Dear Reader,
How Quaint! Yes, my dog Conrad is smarter than me and I might add that he lives a much better life. For one thing I am up at four a.m. to do the News New Mexico broadcast statewide from 6 to 9 a.m. and he says, “See ya.” And goes back to bed. He and Brownie hang out all day and enjoy that I take them on walks and direct their attention to the backyard at regular intervals. Because of coyotes, I even stand with them while they are outside for their protections. Yep, much smarter, no argument from me.
I have not missed the point of the Occupy movement, I point out that the movement must move within our society, it cannot violently overthrow the government. Yes, you do have to play by the rules of the society or suffer the consequences. Remember that I do agree with some of what you believe but not actions outside the law, which law? The law. Now that you have commanded our attention, now what? You have told us off, and we have heard you, now what? Now what? Do something constructive. Run for office, support someone for office. You cannot overthrow the government from the outside as much as you might wish to do so, you must get within the belly of the beast and make the change for a better future. Or is the movement all talk?
Thanks for reading - Michael


Carlsbad Troubadours perform at Roundhouse

From the Carlsbad Current-Argus - CARLSBAD — The Carlsbad High School Troubadours are singing their way onto the political scene recently, and they started in the state capital Monday. The Troubadours, directed by Ken Miller, were invited to a centennial celebration in a joint House and Senate session of the state legislature. Gov. Suzanna Martinez, her cabinet and visiting dignitaries also were present. "We are truly honored to have been selected to sing our National Anthem and our State Song for this historic occasion," said Miller. Sen. Vernon Asbill, R-Eddy/Otero, and Rep. Cathrynn Brown, R-Eddy, nominated the Troubadours for this honor, and moved the nomination through the selection processes in the Capitol. "These beautiful singers made all of us in Southeastern New Mexico proud today with their renditions of the National Anthem and our state song," Asbill said. "What a tribute to our state and to its 100th anniversary as a state." "These young people moved all of us in the capitol, some of my fellow legislators even mentioned they had goose bumps. These students are quite remarkable," he said. Read more


Anti-Corruption Bill Heads to House Floor

Rep. Nate Gentry
From newmexicowatchdog.com - A bill that would stiffen penalties for public officials convicted of corruption charges — include potentially forfeiting their state pensions as well as banning them from lobbying or entering into contracts with the state — cruised through the House Judiciary Committee on Monday (Jan. 30) and is now heading to the House of Representatives for a floor vote.  House Bill 111′s co-sponsor, Rep. Nate Gentry (R-Albuquerque), thinks there’s momentum behind the measure — not only from legislators but also from voters across the state: “It’s clear to me that we’re not getting through to all our public officials. There’s just one corruption scandal after the next and people are taking note of that. I think there’s public support for this type of legislation.”  More News New Mexico

N.M. Counties Receive $11M in School Payments

From alomogordonews.com -Nearly two dozen New Mexico counties will share more than $11 million in federal rural schools payments. The funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help pay for schools, roads, forest restoration projects and other programs in 22 counties.   U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman says the payments are designed to help rural counties that rely economically on national forest lands.  He says the payments have been particularly important during the national economic downturn.  Bingaman's office says the senator led the congressional effort to reauthorize the program in 2008. At that point, there was a change to the distribution of program funds that dramatically increased the benefits of the program to New Mexico counties. The highest payment of more than $3.4 million will go to Catron County in western New Mexico.

Chicano Movement Icon to Speak at N.M. Capitol

From krqe.com - Reies Lopez Tijerina an icon of the Chicano Movement, is slated to make a rare appearance.  The 85-year-old ailing land grant activist is scheduled Thursday to speak at the New Mexico Capitol Rotunda at an event honoring the anniversary of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo signing.  Tijerina was the leader of a land grant rights group and said the U.S. government stole millions of acres from Latinos after the Mexican-American War in violation of the treaty.  In 1967, Tijerina and a band of armed followers raided a Rio Arriba County courthouse in Tierra Amarilla, N.M. to attempt a citizen’s arrest of then-District Attorney Alfonso Sanchez. The raiders shot and wounded a state police officer and jailer, beat a deputy and took a sheriff and reporter hostage. The hostages later escaped.

New N.M Water Boss Talks Drought Challenges

From therepublic.com -The past month has been a whirlwind for New Mexico's new water czar. There have been meetings with lawmakers, mayors and federal officials and briefings with staff around the state.  And at the end of every day, State Engineer Scott Verhines finds time for an hour or more of reading so he can catch up on pending lawsuits over how New Mexico's water is managed, lessons learned by other drought-stricken states and the latest high-tech tools for measuring and monitoring the dwindling resource.  Coming up with solutions to New Mexico's water problems promises to be a challenge as long as the drought lingers, Verhines said.  Having worked as a civil engineer for more than three decades, Verhines said he always knew the decisions made by water managers were far from black and white.  More News New Mexico

NM House Puts Off $5B Budget Vote

From cbsnews.com - A proposed $5.6 billion New Mexico budget hit a last-minute snag in a House committee Monday after Republicans objected that several of the GOP governor's initiatives might get chopped if the state's revenue outlook dims. The Appropriations and Finance Committee postponed a final vote on the budget, and the chairman, Rep. Henry Kiki Saavedra, D-Albuquerque, said he was surprised by the GOP complaints because members of the panel had tentatively agreed last week on provisions of the spending plan.  The budget proposal calls for a spending increase of nearly $216 million, or about 4 percent, in the fiscal year that starts July 1.  However, the plan leaves about $41 million available for possible tax cuts — a high priority for the governor — or additional budget increases.  More News New Mexico

Mr. President, you are building the wrong car.

Marita Noon
In a May 2007 speech before the Detroit Economic Club, Candidate Obama chastised American automakers for building the wrong cars—while they were building “bigger, faster cars,” “foreign competitors were investing in more fuel-efficient technology.” He stated that “it’s not enough to only build cars that use less oil—we also have to move away from that dirty dwindling fuel altogether.” He noted that “the transformation of the cars we drive and the fuels we use would be the most ambitious energy project in decades.” He promised “generous tax incentives” and “more tax credits” to make this happen. He believed that the additional costs are “the price we pay as citizens committed to a cause bigger than ourselves.” He claimed to be a leader who could make this happen as he intoned, “Believe me, we can do it if we really try.”
While that speech did not mention the Chevy Volt, or even electric cars, it surely laid out his ideology. For the most part, these are campaign promises he has kept. He has driven Detroit to “move away from that dirty fuel altogether.” He has offered “generous tax incentives” and “more tax credits.” To see “the most ambitious energy project in decades” become a reality his administration has handed out loans to virtually every strata in the electric car’s foundation.
He’s bailed out GM—which allowed government manipulation of the market to produce the Volt in the first place. Read the rest of the column: News New Mexico


AARP Dubs Cruces and Santa Fe

The Three Crosses in Las Cruces
NM Business Journal - Las Cruces and Santa Fe are among AARP’s Top 10 Sunny Places to Retire. The organization touts Las Cruces’ average of 350 days of sunshine per year, its small town feel and its four-month “full-tilt fiesta season” that starts around Labor Day. It also highlights the presence of New Mexico State University, which it says “supports a fertile arts and music scene.” And it gives a nod to COAS Books, which stocks half a million titles and has frequent readings and book signings.
Downtown Santa Fe
AARP also highlights the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra and the historic village of Mesilla, as well as the farmers’ and crafts markets, and the proximity of public land. It also mentions the low pay of many jobs and the fact that more than one-fifth of residents live below the poverty line. Read full story here: News New Mexico


Senator Says Put an End to Free Political Billboards

KOAT TV - A New Mexico senator said Sunday the state's habit of naming public buildings after sitting public officials needs to go.  Sen. Mark Boitano, R-Bernalillo, called public buildings named after officials who are still in office 24/7 campaign billboards, and he said he wants to put a stop to the practice. "The buildings are 24/7 billboards to advertise for those elections officials," Boitano said. For example, Boitano said that Albuquerque Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, who is still in office, has her name on the African-American Cultural Center. Boitano said his bill would set up a committee to get community input on naming buildings but only after an official had died. Read full story here: News New Mexico

7th Straight Month of Job Growth in NM in December

The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions reported late last week that the state benefitted from the seventh straight month of positive job growth. On a year over year basis there were 7,400 more jobs in December. However the department's payroll survey showed that the construction industry continued to suffer job losses. Many experts believe the looming threat of local impact fees in areas like Las Cruces added to joblessness. Government jobs also declined slightly.


New Approach to Wolf Reintroduction

Santa Fe New Mexican - ALBUQUERQUE -- Wildlife managers are running out of options when it comes to helping Mexican gray wolves overcome hurdles that have thwarted reintroduction into their historic range in the Southwest. Harassment and rubber bullets haven't worked, so they're trying something new -- a food therapy that has the potential to make the wolves queasy enough to never want anything to do with cattle again. As in people, the memories associated with eating a bad meal are rooted in the brain stem, triggered any time associated sights and smells pulse their way through the nervous system. Wildlife managers are trying to tap into that physiological response in the wolves, hoping that feeding them beef laced with an odorless and tasteless medication will make them ill enough to kill their appetite for livestock. Cattle depredations throughout southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona have served as an Achilles' heel for the federal government's efforts to return the wolves. Conditioned taste aversion -- the technical term for what amounts to a simple reaction -- is not a silver bullet for boosting the recovery of the Mexican wolf, but some biologists see it as one of few options remaining for getting the program back on track after nearly 14 years of stumbling. Read more News New Mexico


In 2011 Verizon Poured $180 Million into NM

NM Business Journal - Verizon Wireless spent nearly $180 million in New Mexico and El Paso in 2011 to provide new wireless services, expand network coverage and add capacity for customers. The company has invested a total of $550 million since 2000 in New Mexico and El Paso, said Verizon Wireless Southwest Region President Brian Danfield in a news release. “We know customers depend on their smartphones, tablets, laptop modems and other wireless devices to stay connected, to be more productive and for entertainment,” Danfield said. “That’s why we are always investing and working to ensure our network wireless solutions are the very best.” Read full story here: News New Mexico

Sandia Labs Paid $400 Million in 2011 to NM Businesses

NM Business Journal - Sandia National Labs paid about $400 million to New Mexico businesses for goods and services in fiscal year 2011, according to Sandia’s annual economic impact report, released Jan. 26. About $296 million, or 74 percent, went to small businesses, said Small Business Utilization Program Manager Don Devoti in a news release. “Sandia National Laboratories is committed to strengthening our relationships with the New Mexico business community and, in particular, to be a strong advocate for New Mexico’s diverse small business suppliers,” Devoti said. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Tres Amigas Super Station Needs One More Friend

Albuquerque Journal - Legislators are considering tax incentives aimed at enticing the developers of the $1.5 billion Tres Amigas SuperStation to locate their headquarters and an associated trading exchange in the state. The Tres Amigas project, announced in 2009, includes building a hub across 22 square miles of rangeland in eastern New Mexico to link the nation’s three major electrical grids. Construction is set to begin this summer, but Tres Amigas President and CEO Phillip Harris said New Mexico’s tax structure is forcing the company to consider locations in Texas for its headquarters and the exchange. Read full story here (subscription rquired): News New Mexico

Firefighter & Pecan Growers Arrested in Federal Bust

From washingtonpost.com -Federal authorities said Friday they’ve taken down two major drug trafficking and money laundering operations in different parts of New Mexico, one involving an Albuquerque firefighter and the other southern New Mexico pecan growers.  Agents have seized caches of drugs, cars, cash, guns and even a tractor from a pecan growing operation near the New Mexico-Texas border.   Federal officials said both busts will make communities safer and help with the effort to shut down distribution networks that funnel marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines throughout New Mexico and from Mexico to other locations in the United States. In one case, 15 men living in the Albuquerque area were named in a 29-count federal indictment that was announced Friday by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales.  More News New Mexico

Santa Fe Woman Pledges $1M for Food Bank

From therepublic.com - Santa Fe woman has pledged $1 million to help a community food bank build a new warehouse and other facilities to meet expanding demanding.  The pledge from Barbara Hall will allow the nonprofit Food Depot to accept and store more perishable food items and accommodate more volunteers.  More News New Mexico

"Johnny" Lee, Former Otero County Sheriff died at 58

From therepublic.com - John "Johnny" Lee, a former Otero County sheriff, has died at his home in a small community east of Alamogordo. He was 58.  His wife Kay found him when she returned from work early Saturday, said his brother, Alamogordo Municipal Court Judge Steven O. Lee. He apparently died of natural causes, his brother told the Alamogordo Daily News.  Steven Lee said the brothers had played a round of golf Friday.  "He was probably the most honest person you'll ever meet," Steven Lee said.  More News New Mexico

Frostbitten Man Pulled From Rio Grande

KOAT TV - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Fire crews rescued a man from the Rio Grande River on Saturday. Officials said a biology teacher and her students from La Cueva found Clayton Senn, 35, tangled in some reeds in the river. Albuquerque police said tall grass and vegetation caused Senn to get disoriented as he took a nature hike around the Bosque. "It was very tough. We're dealing with a couple feet of mud and two feet on top of that. The going was really slow," said Capt. Richard Campos, of the Albuquerque Police Department. The Albuquerque Fire Department said the man claimed to have been in the river for three days. Read full story here: News New Mexico


Dona Ana County Leaders Do Damage Control Tour

Dona Ana County Building
KOB TV - Dona Ana County leaders gave the media a tour of the county detention facility where a DWI suspect was held for nearly two years in solitary confinement. A jury just awarded Stephen Slevin $22 million for what he went through at the jail. On Friday, leaders gave the media access to the solitary confinement area where Slevin was held. From day one, Slevin said he pleaded for medical help to treat his depression, but says his requests were ignored. Jail officials said Slevin was observed for several days and then he was offered to join the jail’s general population, but refused. Read full story here: News New Mexico

N.M. National Guard Deployed to Egypt/Israel

From kob.com -About 400 New Mexico National Guard soldiers will soon be on their way to Egypt, as part of a multi-national mission to help keep the peace between Egypt and Israel.  The troops are from the 1st Battalion of the 200th Infantry Division - the same men and women who helped fight wildfires around the state last summer, and came to the rescue of thousands during the deep freeze cold snap last winter.  It's 7,000 miles from Albuquerque to the Sinai peninsula where the New Mexico soldiers will spend at least 9 months. Today brought farewell ceremonies in Farmington and Albuquerque, and there will be another one in Las Cruces tomorrow.  More News New Mexico

Border Patrol Seized 400 Pounds of Marijuana

From therepublic.com -U.S. Border Patrol agents working in southern New Mexico have seized more than 400 pounds of marijuana and have made three arrests in two separate busts. Agents near Santa Teresa spotted a vehicle and two people north of the border Thursday. The vehicle sped off but agents were able to stop it. Inside, they found three large burlap bundles of pot. The driver, 19-year old Melissa Vargas Otero, and 18-year old Jason Nathaniel Harrison, were arrested.  More News New Mexico

Swickard: The Occupy Santa Fe movement needs to move differently

© 2012 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.

Occupy Santa Fe Press release: “… OSF understands the continuing corruption of our democracy is a matter of sheer survival with 146 million Americans at or below the poverty line. A noisy interruption of the ALEC $250 dinner is mild compared to the economic, social, and environmental devastation caused by corporate domination… ALEC members choked two women protesters with their own scarves while simultaneously punching them in the back, one by Representative Kintigh of Roswell. Following them to the sidewalk in front of the restaurant, an ALEC member punched a male protester in the face, and shoved another male protester to the wall in a chokehold. Four security guards from the Eldorado Hotel contained the violent ALEC legislative member.”

I was not there nor have I spoken to any of the participants. However, I am gravely concerned at two things: first, that a peaceful group of elected New Mexico legislators on private property were subjected to a frightening violent interaction. Second, that the Occupy Santa Fe group was able to barge into a private dinner.
If the Occupy Santa Fe protesters had remained at their protest outside the hotel it would be a non-story. Instead they came onto public property, a hotel dining room and caused a fuss. They called causing a fuss civil disobedience, but they are wrong.
Be noisy, be in the face, be on public property. Step onto private property without permission and it is not fine. The hotel, while open to the public is still private property. The protestors have no right to walk into any store, restaurant or hotel without permission.
The authorities and security forces were absent and that left it up to the legislators to protect themselves. There is a charge of excessive force against Rep. Dennis Kintigh when he removed at least one person. He is a New Mexico certified police officer and a retired FBI agent. That he felt compelled to act speaks volumes as to the safety of the legislators in the room.
Where do we go from here? I hope Occupy Santa Fe troops are not trying to force the legislators to huddle behind protected walls. We have a great citizen legislature where anyone can walk almost anywhere in the Roundhouse without hassle. The dialog may have started to try to contain the “terrorist” effect of protestors.
I do have to protest the protestor press release, “…the continuing corruption of our democracy is a matter of sheer survival with 146 million Americans at or below the poverty line.” So one half of all Americans are at or below the poverty line? Yet most have a house, car and cable. How is that poverty? I suspect the fragile population is closer to five percent and yes, they do need our prayers and our help.
Also, the New Mexico Legislature has been firmly in the hands of the Democrats since before World War Two. The Occupy Santa Fe group was yelling at Republicans who rarely if ever have any say in what the Legislature does. If corporations have bought the New Mexico Legislature protest the Democrats.
I would like to give some honest helpful advice for the people in the Occupy Santa Fe movement. Stay on public property. We hear you and dare I say it, I agree with some of your more reasonable concerns. I have raised them myself as to money and politics.
Importantly, if you really want to make a difference, go to each legislative district and put up a candidate against the incumbent so that a year from now the entire 112 members of the New Mexico Legislature could all be newly elected Occupy members who will completely cleanse the political process. Do the change right.
The Occupy people all over our nation do have our attention but we will not be bullied, we will not be intimidated and they cannot come on private property and attack New Mexico citizens without the full response of angry citizens being conveyed to them. If they want to change the political process it is open to them to do so. Do it in the way that our US and New Mexico Constitution allows, get elected and lead us to a better world.

Defending Tim Jennings

Tim Jennings
by Jim Spence - Senator Tim Jennings of Roswell was talking facts in Santa Fe Friday. He spoke of the enormous contributions the oil and gas industry makes to the revenue side of the NM state budget. Suddenly the tweeting began. One tweet came from Carter Bundy, a well know public employee union lobbyist who said that oil and gas companies contribute a “tiny fraction” of their profits to government coffers. Since the data is so readily available, we looked at Exxon Mobil to determine what "fraction" was truly applicable to the discussion.
First, Exxon Mobil made huge land lease payments to both state and federal governments last year. It also made huge royalty payments to both the state and federal governments last year. Lease payments were received from Exxon Mobil regardless of production. And royalties were paid based on production volume, not profits.
On the pre-tax bottom line (gross income net of costs) Exxon Mobil earned $52.9 billion in 2010 and paid a whopping $21.5 billion in income taxes. Even if you ignore both the royalty and lease payments, which would be foolish, Exxon Mobil paid 40.6% out of its net income in taxes. These tax to income ratios are pretty much the same across the industry whether you are looking at Chevron, Conoco Phillips, or any other oil and gas company. You can see the actual Exxon Mobil income statement by clicking here.
It didn’t take me long to do the homework. But it will always be much easier to simply toss out a grossly misleading phrase like "tiny fraction," when describing the government's share of the oil and gas company’s income and revenue streams. Not only should Senator Jennings be defended, the contributions of the oil and gas companies should too.
Facts are stubborn things. The payment of $21.5 billion in income taxes, out of $52.9 billion in profits is 40.6%. Add in the royalties and lease payments that go to government and it looks like we are looking at pretty close to a 50-50 split, with the oil companies putting up all the capital and taking all of the downside risks while government cashes the checks. When splitting 50-50 is the fundamental fraction involved, it is pretty difficult to see how using the term “tiny fraction” could be anything other than 1) an effort to misinform or, 2) a reflection of being uninformed.
With billions in revenue at stake for our state government, being uninformed in this area can be costly. Though we don’t think about these things very often, most New Mexicans, including public employees, really appreciate the fact that when we need to fill our tanks we can do so. Some of us are old enough to remember the gas lines in 1973…..and we don’t want to go back to those days when everybody lost.


Martinez: Won't Sign a Bill That is a "Sham"

Michael Sanchez
NewsNM note (Spence) Think it is easy to clean up this state? Think again. New Mexico's driver's license issuance law has created a sanctuary for crime syndicates. And those crime syndicates were heard cheering wildly this week. Why? Because Democrats in the New Mexico legislature led by Michael Sanchez of Belen in the Senate and Speaker Ben Lujan in the House, consciously chose to either look the other way, or actively work in unison, mostly behind closed doors, to kill reform that would send these crime syndicates packing. Not a single Democrat was heard condemning the obstruction and none lifted a finger to put a halt to what was happening. This is true despite the fact that early in the week an Associated Press report showed that unidentified and undocumented foreigners are as a matter of routine, fraudulently and repeatedly using the same addresses at smoke shops and auto-repair shops to get state driver's licenses. The conditions are creating nightmares for law enforcement. Governor Martinez spoke out.
Ben Lujan
KOAT TV - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Gov. Susana Martinez called an alternate bill that aims to tighten the state's driver's license laws "a sham." Martinez told Target 7 that she won't stop until illegal immigrants are banned from getting licenses in the state.
On Thursday, Martinez's bill was shelved in committee and Democrats offered an alternative that would, in part, require license renewal after two years.
"What they've done is actually drafted a sham. They're still going to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, and I won't sign a bill that does that," Martinez said.
This is the second time in two legislative sessions that the bill has disintegrated.
"I will never give up doing what New Mexicans want me to," Martinez said. "Every opportunity I have, I need to fight to repeal this law." Read full story here: News New Mexico


Martinez PRC Appointment is "News"

Susana Martinez
NMPolitics reports that back in November Susana Martinez appointed Doug Howe, an openly gay man, to serve on the Public Regulation Commission. According to the story (which you can read here) neither the Governor nor Howe made an issue of his sexual orientation during the interview process or after the governor appointed him.
Strangely enough, and despite the fact there is hardly an extended family in America of any size whatsoever that doesn't have at least one gay member, this story is still considered "news."
There are several factors at work that make this story news. First, it is a complete contradiction to the stereo-type perpetuated mostly by progressive activists seeking leverage for additional group rights, that goes like this: all Republicans are gay bashing bigots. Second, there are more than a few naive, narrow-minded, and/or hateful people, who claim they are for limited government......except when the subject of sexual orientation comes up in policy debates. Third, there is the vast majority of what could best be described as "the rest of us." This is the huge majority in New Mexico and in America that simply wants government to leave us alone and also leave our family members, friends, acquaintances, and anyone else who happens to be gay, alone.
Doug Howe
The truth is Governor Martinez did not do anything extraordinary when she appointed Dough Howe to the PRC. She simply did what successful business people do every day. She hired a very talented individual with the credentials to get the job done. All of us who want to live in peace will be far better off when fringe groups that continue to stir up prejudices wise up and shut up. And we will also be better off when those that traffic in paranoia about prejudice, and do so strictly for political purposes, shut up too.


A TRI-Partisan Bill Introduced in the House

Andy Nunez
Santa Fe – Today Representatives Nate Gentry (R-30), Joseph Cervantes (D-52), Zach Cook (R- 56), Cathrynn Brown (R-55), and Andy Nunez (I-36) introduced a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the state to recover the costs associated with impeachments proceedings for corrupt government officials.
Currently, the New Mexico constitution provides that the New Mexico Legislature may only remove public officials from office. HBX would permit the legislature to enact legislation that would require impeached officials to pay for the costs associated with their impeachment.
“There is no reason that the taxpayers of the state should pay to remove corrupt government officials from office. This constitutional amendment would allow the state to recover the cost of impeachment proceedings from the corrupt official,” said Rep. Gentry.
“This constitutional amendment should make corrupt elected officials think twice before running up the tab on the people of this state for their corrupt behavior,” said Rep. Cook.
Added Rep. Brown, “This constitutional amendment would not deter honest people from running for public office.” Although they both resigned before the proceedings were completed, the New Mexico Legislature spent over $233,000 on the Jerome Block Jr. and Robert Vigil impeachment proceedings. Some estimate that a completed impeachment proceeding could cost the state as much as one million dollars.
Representatives Cervantes and Cook were co-chairs of the impeachment committee empanelled to begin the impeachment proceedings against former PRC commissioner Jerome Block, Jr.