August 1, 1946 - The Battle of Athens Tennessee

The Battle of Athens was an armed rebellion led by WWII veterans and citizens in Athens and Etowah, Tennessee, United States, against the tyrannical local government on August 1,1946. View and think.


Partly personal: one life in the day of the hospital

© 2012 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. - There is no better time to talk about healthcare than when I am at a hospital intake area a couple of hours away from a heart operation. This column started the morning of July 17 at the Arizona Heart Hospital in Phoenix. I will not keep you in suspense; I survived the procedure. Me and my heart are much better. The first thought I had that morning: I am so glad I was born in the 20th century where there are treatments when my heart decides to be a bit funky. There was the regular boring beat, ka-thump, ka-thump and then there was the heart deciding to run away at 200 beats a minutes or do the Samba. The procedure which has been available for several decades is an ablation where two wires are threaded up into the heart and the part of the heart that wants to Samba is fixed so it does not. While doing paperwork, I admired how easily John the concierge at the front desk got people to the correct place as they completed paperwork and made them feel at ease. I had an odd thought: I am used to people being quite scared in my radio studio, knowing they are being heard all over New Mexico when I have no anxiety whatsoever. I caught up with the anxiety index even though I had confidence in the doctor and hospital. Both my local heart doctor and my sister, who used to work in a Lubbock Heart Clinic, urged me to do this procedure in a place that only did heart procedures. My sister said, “Go some place where there is a Conga Line of patients, three before you, three after, all with the same need.” I am glad I did. Read column


Texas GOP Chooses Tea Party-backed Cruz for Senate

From - Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz upset Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in a Republican primary runoff for an open U.S. Senate seat, the Texas Tribune projected on Tuesday.  Cruz, 41, a former state solicitor general who has never held elected office, is the third insurgent Republican this year to defeat an establishment Republican in a U.S. Senate primary. Dewhurst, 66, a wealthy businessman who had the support of top Texas Republicans, including Governor Rick Perry, started the race as the front-runner. But Cruz drew support from conservative stars like former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and money from national conservative groups like the Club for Growth. "Ted Cruz won because he clearly articulated the pro-growth message that Republican voters across the country have responded to," Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said in a statement. Club for Growth's political action committee spent $5.5 million to support Cruz, the organization said. Read more

El Paso Times guest column asks some hard questions

Seems some administrators missed the bus
NewsNM Swickard: while this is an opinion piece by a former principal in El Paso, it is a cause for all educators in our area to pay attention to the politics. Using political solutions for educational problems are certain to cause these kinds of actions. Again, this is alleged behavior, but I, Michael Swickard, Ph.D. in Educational Administration, feel it rings true. Exclusive from the El Paso Times - By John T. Roskosky \ Guest columnist- I usually refrain from writing letters to the editor, but I am making an exception in this case because I can no longer be silent on the activity of the El Paso Independent School District, specifically the board and central office administrators. Shame on you, Russell Wiggs! Your comment in last Sunday's (El Paso Times) paper labeling the unnamed former employee as a "disgruntled former employee" is the typical behavior from the board and central office administrators. I suppose that since I retired from the district due to the pressure imposed upon me by Dr. Lorenzo García, Dr. Damon Murphy, and Dr. Priscilla Terrazas, and I am now writing this letter, I, too, will be labeled as a "disgruntled employee" but I am not.  As an aside, I found out through the FBI investigation that I had been targeted for removal solely because I would not "disappear" my limited English proficient students.  My greatest joy came from being the principal of El Paso High School and I would have continued in that position but for the fact that I would not make my LEP students "disappear" and instead felt our duty was to educate all students, even though that was not what was expected.  My greatest disappointment came from seeing what my replacement did to a great school, excellent faculty, and a wonderful student body. Without even investigating the issue, you have already besmirched the character of that individual by your callous comment.  Have you ever worked under a tyrant such as those I have already named? Have you ever feared loss of employment because you spoke out? Have you ever been yelled at in meetings and given reprimands because you tried to do what you thought was best for every student only to be told it was not the "policy?" Many former employees in EPISD left because of the constant pressure to improve scores at the expense of those most fragile. Are we all "disgruntled" if we speak out? Read more

West Nile Virus mosquitoes in Albuquerque area

A. albopictus mosquito carries West Nile virus
From the Santa Fe New Mexican - AP - Mosquitoes in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties have tested positive for the West Nile Virus. Paul Ettestad of the state Department of Public Health says recent rain across New Mexico has created breeding sites for mosquitoes. Officials are urging the public to use bug repellent when outdoors, especially during the evening and early morning hours when mosquitoes are most active. The city of Albuquerque operates a mosquito control program that also covers Bernalillo County. Common symptoms of West Nile Virus include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. Read more

What Next You Ask? Obama Administration Tries to Grab Control of New Mexico's Water

Jim Spence (left)
What will the federal government try to confiscate next? This is a question asked by libertarians who are very sensitive to a literal epidemic of encroachments to freedom and liberty imposed on Americans by the federal government.
“Oh you are just an anti-government reactionary,” defenders of big government respond. New Mexicans seem mostly unconcerned that the government is seizing control of everything from healthcare, to lending, to energy production, to freedom from domestic spying. It is all about creating a greater good is the progressive's standard argument.
On Monday July 30th freedom loving New Mexican’s got their answer to “what next?” The next thing the federal government will seek control of is management of water and water rights in New Mexico.
According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, yesterday lawyers representing the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, Elephant Butte Irrigation District, and the city of Las Cruces, announced that a state Water Court hearing will be at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, in Las Cruces. It seems that authority over future management of state's water supply will be at stake.
What could the Obama Administration’s officials be thinking? Both Democrats and Republicans in attendance during the meeting of the New Mexico Legislature's Water and Natural Resources Committee seemed stunned by the revelation of the latest grab.
The answer of course is simple to anyone paying even a little attention to public policy in America since 2009. The Obama administration is thinking about same thing it always thinks about. It is determined to grab more power away from individuals, local governments, state courts, and state governments. What it wants to do is concentrate more power and control in the hands of people in Washington D.C.
You see, not only can this administration direct taxpayer “investments” into companies that are the key to our future (like Solyndra and Amonix) it also thinks it can do a better job of managing water that belongs to New Mexicans than New Mexicans can. Has 51% of New Mexico voters had enough yet or should we simply go back to wondering what is next?


Federal Gov't Tries to Grab New Mexico Water

Las Cruces Sun-News - Clearly, it was jolting news the New Mexico Legislature's Water and Natural Resources Committee wasn't prepared for. During Monday's committee meeting, in the Barbara Hubbard Room at the Pan American Center Annex, lawyers representing the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, Elephant Butte Irrigation District, and the city of Las Cruces, told the committee that a state Water Court hearing will be at 9 a.m. Wednesday, at the Third Judicial Court Complex, 201 E. Picacho Ave., and the future management of state's water supply could hang in the balance of the hearing's outcome.
Elephant Butte Dam
"Why hasn't this been front-page news?" asked a surprised Clinton D. Harden Jr., a state senator from Clovis. "This is one of the biggest things ever. Frankly, what we're looking at is under the camel's nose. This is an unprecedented legal claim to water."
The lawyers told the committee the U.S. government is apparently trying to take over legal management of the state's water supply. The federal government has asserted claims for damages to groundwater in a natural resource damage case in New Mexico involving Chevron/Molycorp. The claim seeks for those damages to be awarded in the form of future water rights management. Read full story here: News New Mexico


85,000 Descend on Farmington for Baseball

Ricketts Park in Farmington, NM
KOB - Businesses in Farmington are getting ready for this years Connie Mack World Series. Organizers said about 85,000 people will walk through the gates of Ricketts Park during the week-long event.
While players stay with host families, the hundreds of other attendees that come to watch the series fill up the hotels. Local restaurants said they see an increase during the day and after the games. Organizers estimate the economic impact for the area to be about $ 2 million. Read full story here: News New Mexico


Frackin' B.S.

Marita Noon
"Even a broken clock is right twice a day” is an adage we’ve all heard dozens of times. Today, it applies to the EPA as even it gets things right now and then. The EPA is well known for its attacks on virtually every kind of industry that might result in economic development—hitting the energy sector particularly hard. Despite the agency's best efforts, it has not been able to match up the science with its desired claims of water contamination from natural gas extraction using hydraulic fracturing—which has been in use in America for more than 60 years. In early December 2011, the New York Times ran a story declaring: “Chemicals used to hydraulically fracture rocks in drilling for natural gas in a remote valley in central Wyoming are the likely cause of contaminated local water supplies.” Environmental groups jumped all over the announcement. Amy Mall, a fracking opponent with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the report “underscores the urgent need to get federal rules and safeguards on the books to help protect all Americans from the dangers of fracking.” An NPR story on the EPA’s draft study released on December 8, 2011, stated: “The gas industry and other experts have long contended that fracking doesn't contaminate drinking water. The EPA's findings provide the first official confirmation to the contrary.” Read More News New Mexico


New Mexico: Film hot spot on the mend

Lone Ranger
VarietyA 90-minute flight from Los Angeles. An average of 300 days a year of sunshine. A 25% tax rebate. For 10 years, that combination -- along with a responsive film office headed up by a longtime locations expert -- helped transform New Mexico into one of the country's hot spots for filmmaking. What could go wrong? A lot, as it turns out. The state remains sunny and easily accessed, but when Republican Susana Martinez succeded Democrat Bill Richardson as governor in January 2011, the state's position on facilitating film production changed significantly. The film office's budget was slashed, director Lisa Strout fired and her position left vacant for six months. Then the legislature opted to tweak the no-cap rebate, making it tiered and, to Hollywood's eyes, complicated. Suddenly, New Mexico was a virtual desert. "This is so much a word-of-mouth business," says Eric Witt, Richardson's former deputy chief of staff. "There's absolutely no doubt that the state has a hole to dig itself out of in terms of reputation." Read More News New Mexico


250 Cars Stolen in Duke City in 2012

KOAT - Albuquerque police said the city has seem more than 250 car part thefts since the beginning of the year. Police said most of the crimes happen between midnight and 6 a.m. "We're always concerned of any kind of criminal activity that takes place. It's sad that this goes on," said Jerry Gallegos with the Southwest Alliance of Neighborhoods.
In a notice recently sent out, Action 7 News found out that hundreds of cars have been stripped for their parts in 2012. Most of the vehicles targeted are luxury SUVs, such as Cadillac Escalades and Chevy Tahoes. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Transparency and Right to Access Rule of the Day

KRQE - The state Court of Appeals has ruled that citizens have a right to access to public records kept by an independent contractor on behalf of a governmental agency.

A lawyer for the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government said Monday the decision was important for preserving government transparency.
The court issued the decision last week in a case involving the city of Truth or Consequences and a nonprofit corporation operating a public access cable channel for the community. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Resse Takes the Stand

Eric Holder
NewsNM note - (Spence) Life is full of ironies. With nobody in jail and nobody even charged in the Fast and Furious gunrunning operation scandal, a different standard is being applied in Southern New Mexico. President Obama is protecting the U.S. Attorney General and his Justice Department with an "executive privilege" claim while DOJ government lawyers pursue the charges against a Deming gun shop family.  KOB - A Deming gun store owner accused of selling weapons to Mexican drug cartels says he never took seriously comments from a customer-turned-informant who talked about taking guns and ammunition south of the border.

Rick Reese, owner of New Deal Shooting Sports, testified Monday that the man was boisterous and bragging all the time, so he didn't believe anything he said. Read full story here: News New Mexico


Five ATF officials found responsible for Fast and Furious

U. S. Representative Darrell Issa
Exclusive from the Los Angles Times - By Richard A. Serrano - WASHINGTON -- Republican congressional investigators have concluded that five senior ATF officials -- from the special agent-in-charge of the Phoenix field office to the top man in the bureau’s Washington headquarters -- are collectively responsible for the failed Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation that was “marred by missteps, poor judgments and inherently reckless strategy.” The investigators, in a final report likely to be released later this week, also unearthed new evidence that agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix initially sought to hide from the Mexican government the crucial information that two Fast and Furious firearms were recovered after the brother of a Mexican state attorney general was killed there. According to a copy of the report obtained Monday by The Times, the investigators said their findings are “the best information available as of now” about the flawed gun operation that last month led to Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. being found in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over subpoenaed documents. Two more final reports, they said, will deal with “the devastating failure of supervision and leadership” at the Department of Justice and an “unprecedented obstruction of the [congressional] investigation by the highest levels of the Justice Department, including the attorney general himself.” Read more


Sowell: Big Lies in Politics

Commentary by Thomas Sowell - It was either Adolf Hitler or his propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, who said that the people will believe any lie, if it is big enough and told often enough, loud enough. Although the Nazis were defeated in World War II, this part of their philosophy survives triumphantly to this day among politicians, and nowhere more so than during election years. Perhaps the biggest lie of this election year, and the one likely to be repeated the most often, is that the income of "the rich" is going up, while other people's incomes are going down. If you listen to Barack Obama, you are bound to hear this lie repeatedly. But the government's own Congressional Budget Office has just published a report whose statistics flatly contradict this claim. The CBO report shows that, while the average household income fell 12 percent between 2007 and 2009, the average for the lower four-fifths fell by 5 percent or less, while the average income for households in the top fifth fell 18 percent. For households in the "top one percent" that seems to fascinate so many people, income fell by 36 percent in those same years. Read column


Three US livestock groups seek drought relief with ethanol waiver

The price of corn, the primary ingredient in livestock feed, hit a record $8.1775 a bushel Monday. Photo: ANDY MANIS / APReutersHard-hit U.S. livestock and poultry producers petitioned the government on Monday to reduce or cancel the required use of ethanol in gasoline for a year, asking for "a little help" to ride out the worst drought in 56 years. The request for a first-ever waiver from the federal Environmental Protection Agency's mandate, which in essence requires that more than a third of the U.S. corn harvest be converted into ethanol, comes as grain prices have surged to record highs, driving up feed costs and squeezing profits for producers. "We are having trouble buying corn... it's really putting a burden on our operations and many others across the nation," says J.D. Alexander, president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, whose Nebraska feedlot is about half full of cattle. "It's time to wean the ethanol industry and let it stand on its own." The EPA has not granted a waiver since the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) was enacted in 2007. The policy has enjoyed years of staunch bipartisan support, boosting income for U.S. farmers and helping reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil. But it is now coming under renewed attack. The beef, chicken, pork and turkey trade groups said they had delivered a petition to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to waive the mandate "in whole or in substantial part" for the remainder of this year and part of next. Read More News New Mexico


Apollo Moon Landing Flags Still Standing, Photos Reveal An enduring question ever since the manned moon landings of the 1960s has been: Are the flags planted by the astronauts still standing? Now, lunar scientists say the verdict is in from the latest photos of the moon taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC): Most do, in fact, still stand. "From the LROC images it is now certain that the American flags are still standing and casting shadows at all of the sites, except Apollo 11," LROC principal investigator Mark Robinson wrote in a blog post today (July 27). "Astronaut Buzz Aldrin reported that the flag was blown over by the exhaust from the ascent engine during liftoff of Apollo 11, and it looks like he was correct!" Each of the six manned Apollo missions that landed on the moon planted an American flag in the lunar dirt. Read More News New Mexico


Lawyers get nearly $3 million from taxpayers in redistricting fight UPDATE: Yikes! Legal fees will actually total more than $5.4 million

Judge Hall
 Capitol Report New Mexico - Update: We received a call from the Legislative Council   Service telling us the legal fees will actually be substantially more than the $3 million figure reported earlier Monday. In fact, the costs will end up being more like $5.4 million — “at least,” the LCS employee said. While the $3 million figure announced by Judge Hall is correct, we have been told the figure does not count:

*$300,000+ settled on for attorneys and costs to the Navajo Nation
*$460,000 in costs for plaintiffs, experts and legal fees
*$894,402 in legislative expenses, research and polling, and
*$800,000+ in expenses for executive offices of the Governor, Lt. Governor and Secretary of State
Adding those figures, the back of the envelope total is more like $5.4 million in legal fees that taxpayers will end up paying. That’s compared to $3.5 million in legal fees after the redistricting court battles of 2001.

Well, it wasn’t as expensive as the last time around but New Mexico taxpayers will still pay almost $3 million for lawyers involved the recent redistricting legal battles. On Monday, retired district judge Jim Hall – the man assigned to hearing the arguments over realigning voting boundaries for the state — announced awards of nearly $3 million in fees for attorneys who represented Democratic, Republican, Native American and Hispanic interests in redistricting trials heard earlier this year. Like all states, New Mexico has to reapportion districts according to the US Census every 10 years. The $3 million figure is an improvement over the $3.5 million that went out to attorneys the last time New Mexico wrestled with the issue in 2001-2002 and there were fears the price tag would be even higher. Ten years ago, then-Gov. Gary Johnson and the legislature couldn’t come to an agreement on redistricting and we saw a replay in this past legislative session when the Democratically-controlled Roundhouse passed a redistricting map over Republican objections. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed the legislation, sending the battle to court. Read More News New Mexico


Memo to Mitt: Marco Rubio Has Nothing on Susana Martinez

Susana Martinez
Huffington PostCould New Mexico governor Susana Martinez be back in the running as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney? A little-noticed Public Policy poll conducted July 12-15 among registered voters in New Mexico has some national GOP operatives buzzing. The poll found Romney trailing President Obama 49%-44%, with 7% undecided. But when respondents were asked how they felt about a Romney-Martinez pairing against President Obama and Joe Biden, they favored the two tickets equally (45%-45%). That means Martinez might actually help Romney capture a critical swing state in a region rich with Latino voters, which magnifies her potential value. In fact, New Mexico, with just 5 electoral votes, wasn't even supposed to be competitive this year. Obama captured the state handily in 2008, and most observers say New Mexico is trending strongly "blue," just like neighboring Nevada (6 electoral votes), but in sharp contrast to Arizona (11 electoral votes), which has swung GOP for years. Normally, that makes Colorado (9 electoral votes) the most talked-about Southwestern "battleground." But if Romney wins New Mexico on top of Arizona, he won't necessarily need to carry the Centennial State to blunt Obama's momentum. In a presidential election this close, the unexpected "flip" of a single small Blue state could well prove decisive. Read More News New Mexico


Gary Bland Could Be Trouble for The SIC’s Pay-to-Play Lawsuit

Gary Bland
New Mexico WatchdogA man with nothing to lose and a belly full of fight heads the long list of defendants in the State Investment Council’s pay-to-play lawsuit.  With his back against the wall, in a struggle he believes is about clearing his name, Gary Bland is mounting a legal defense that may end up helping all the defendants in the SIC’s complex legal case.  Ironically, the smallest dog in the fight might have the deepest bite. In a previous story–Marc Correra, You’ve Been Served!–we related the exuberant confidence of the SIC’s chief counsel. “We are winning,” he proclaimed in the SIC’s June meeting when reporting on the progress of the litigation. Not so fast, Bland counters.  Here’s his side of the story, and it could mean a major headache for the SIC down the road when it has to prove its case. The SIC’s claims are laid out in its Second Amended Complaint for Money Damages filed in the First Judicial Court of Santa Fe County on February 20, 2012.  The SIC alleges that Bland violated the fiduciary duty he owed to the SIC and its permanent funds as the State Investment Officer during the Bill Richardson Administration by placing investments with managers based on his own “selfish interests and the personal, political and financial interests of politically-connected individuals and their associates.” The political connections, the lawsuit alleges, all go back to former Governor Richardson, who appointed Bland. Personally, through his staff, or through a close associate named Anthony Correra, the suit alleges Richardson used his position to influence or direct Bland to steer investments to his friends and contributors. From that point on, the allegations get more complicated. Read More News New Mexico


NMSU forestry research center assist with restoration of wildfire damaged forests

Las Cruces Sun-NewsWith wildfires having consumed hundreds of thousands of acres of forest in New Mexico over the past 12 months, staff members at New Mexico State University's John T. Harrington Forestry Research Center at Mora are busy raising trees to help the reforestation and restoration of the land. Through the center's research in restoration ecology, forest genetics, tree improvement, forest biology and agroforestry, the forestry professionals in New Mexico have learned many things that will be crucial in restoring the 150,000 acres destroyed by the Las Conchas Fire in 2011, and the 297,845-plus acres consumed by the Whitewater-Baldy Fire, as well as the 44,330 acres affected by the Little Bear Fire this summer. The work to replace the lost trees of the Las Conchas Fire has already begun. Small six-inch tall seedlings now growing in the research center's nursery will be used in reclamation projects by the Santa Clara Pueblo. "Last year, prior to the Las Conchas Fire, we were contacted by the Santa Clara Pueblo to grow seedlings for a riparian restoration and reforestation project," said Tammy Parsons, program coordinator and nursery manager at the Mora center. "This spring we delivered approximately 40,200 seedlings of 11 beaver habitat species, 11 bosque riparian species and Douglas-fir, as well as 650 cottonwood cuttings in tall pots." The scope of the contract with the Santa Clara Pueblo changed when the Las Conchas Fire roared across reservation land. "We have agreed to grow another 34,000 seedlings this year for the pueblo and there is the possibility of more in the coming years until they are able to start to recover from the fire," Parsons said. Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, which also suffered damage from the Las Conchas Fire, has contracted with NMSU for the center to grow approximately 18,000 Douglas-fir seedlings for planting this fall and next spring. Read More News New Mexico


Senator: Time to shred nominating petitions for good

Alamogordo Daily NewsOne legislator says he has a plan to end election madness. State Sen. Howie Morales wants to outlaw nominating petitions, the system now used by major-party candidates to qualify for primary election ballots. Morales plans to introduce a bill next year to do away with the petition system, which he considers flawed and outdated. "We should just have candidates pay a filing fee to be on the ballot. I'm going to carry legislation along those lines," said Morales, a Democrat from Silver City and a former county clerk. The petition system this year was especially chaotic. Challenges to nominating petitions filed by 10 incumbent legislators reached the New Mexico Supreme Court. Jennifer Romero, who was a candidate for district attorney of Bernalillo County, also received a Supreme Court hearing after a district judge found her petitions one signature shy of the number needed to qualify for the primary election. The Supreme Court reinstated Romero's candidacy, but she ended up losing to the incumbent in a lopsided race. Of the challenges to state legislators, nine of the 10 that reached the Supreme Court were for technical violations of campaign law. Read More News New Mexico


Rubio's plane from Las Vegas makes emergency landing in New Mexico

Las Vegas Review Journal An airport official says a small plane carrying U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and his wife made an emergency landing in Albuquerque. Albuquerque Aviation Police Chief Marshall Katz says no one was injured when the plane landed Saturday afternoon at Albuquerque International Sunport. Airport spokesman Daniel Jiron says the Cessna Citation 10 had been bound for Des Moines, Iowa, after departing from Las Vegas. The Republican had tweeted that he was en route to a Mitt Romney rally in Iowa. He posted later that he gave a speech via cell phone. Rubio told KOB-TV that the plane had a mechanical issue and joked that it was fine with him to land in a swing state. Romney has said he is considering the first-term senator as a running mate. Read More News New Mexico


Andy Nunez: “Voting for Obama is like the Titanic backing up to the iceberg again”

Andy Nuñez
Capitol Report New MexicoPresident Obama’s campaign workers can skip trying to persuade one particular voter in southern New Mexico into supporting the president’s re-election. State Rep. Andy Nuñez (I-Hatch),  while appearing on the syndicated radio program News New Mexico on Friday (July 27), said of the upcoming presidential race, “I’m dadgum sure I’m not voting for Obama. Voting for Obama is like the Titanic backing up to the iceberg again.” A former Democrat before he became “Decline To State” in the legislature in 2011, the plain-spoken Nuñez didn’t mention supporting Mitt Romney. What about Gary Johnson, a fellow third-party guy? “I like Gary Johnson,” Nuñez said, “but I don’t think he’s the right guy for president.” In the past couple Roundhouse sessions, Nuñez has become best known for sponsoring legislation aimed at rescinding the state law that grants driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. Nuñez said Friday he’ll re-introduce the bill again in the next session — and said he’ll re-introduce another piece of legislation as well: To change the state law so that voters unaffiliated with the Republican or Democratic parties can vote in primaries. “I think we’re [independents] are being disenfranchised,” Nuñez said. Under the resolution Nuñez supports, voters who declare themselves “Decline To State” would be able to request a Democratic or Republican ballot in the June primaries. As Steve Terrell of the Santa Fe New Mexican pointed out earlier this year, “17 percent of voters statewide are independents — which means they can’t participate in primary elections, which are paid for by the state. In Santa Fe County, declined-to-states outnumber Republicans.” Read More News New Mexico


Prosecution rests in Reese trial, defendant takes stand

U.S. Federal Court House Las Cruces
Las Cruces Sun-News The prosecution rested Friday in the Reese family gun sales trial, allowing the defense team to begin presenting its case at U.S. District Court. Rick Reese, owner of New Deal Shooting Sports in Deming, took the stand and testified that he had no suspicions that the firearms bought by a government informant and undercover federal agents — who were posing as straw purchasers — at his store last year were purportedly bound for Mexico. Reese also said he did not know that the firearms were supposedly being bought for Jose Roman, a mid-level associate of the Juarez Drug Cartel, instead of the undercover agents who signed for the weapons. "I would have thrown (Roman) out of the store," said Reese, who also testified under direct examination from his attorney, Robert Gorence, that he never assisted Roman with taking firearms to Mexico. "I would not put my wife and sons in harm's way, ever," Reese said. Roman, the informant, implicated the Reese family in a debriefing with federal agents shortly after his arrest in January 2011 on marijuana distribution charges. Roman testified against the Reeses last week. Defense attorneys attacked his credibility, portraying him as a manipulative liar looking to deflect attention from his criminal activities. Rick Reese is expected to continue testifying Monday, where he and his wife, Terri, and their sons, Ryin and Remington, have been on trial for the past two weeks on charges that they sold assault rifles and ammunition to people who had indicated the materials were bound for Mexico to battle the La Sinaloa drug cartel. During six undercover buys from April 2011 to July 2011, prosecutors said the defendants sold 34 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition to the undercover agents and Roman, who acted as the negotiator for the undercover agents. Speaking in a composed manner, Rick Reese testified Friday that it was not unusual for people to come into his store to negotiate transactions for other less-experienced buyers. Defense lawyers have argued that the Reeses followed all legal procedures during the undercover sales, and that the defendants kept detailed records of every transaction in their store. The defense team also noted that Terri Reese contacted law enforcement after a suspicious transaction in 2010. Judge Robert C. Brack told the jury Friday that testimony may conclude Monday, with the possibility of closing arguments in the afternoon. Read More News New Mexico


Udall & Bingaman Want to Know More on Domestic Spying

Roundhouse Roundup - Both of New Mexico U.S. senators -- Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall want to know more about the numbers of Americans whose emails and other communications have been peeped at by U.S. intelligence. Bingaman and Udall joined 10 other senators from both political parties to send a letter to James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence. They requested information about Americans’ communications that have been secretly collected by the federal government under the 2008 the FISA Amendments Act. "We are concerned that Congress and the public do not currently have a full understanding of the impact that this law has had on the privacy of law-abiding Americans,” the letter said. “We are alarmed that the intelligence community has stated that ‘it is not reasonably possible to identify the number of people located inside the United States whose communications may have been reviewed’ under the FISA Amendments Act." Read More News New Mexico


Rahm welcomes help from Farrakahn, ignores anti-Semitic remarks

Rahm Emanuel
Chicago Sun-TimesIgnoring Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s history of anti-Semitic remarks, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday welcomed the army of men dispatched to the streets by Farrakhan to stop the violence in Chicago neighborhoods. Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th), an Orthodox Jew, has said it’s good that Farrakhan is “helping” in the fight against crime, “but it doesn’t eradicate the comments that he’s made about the Jewish community.” Emanuel offered no such caveat. Although Farrakhan has a history of making anti-Semitic statements, Chicago’s first Jewish mayor has no interest in revisiting that controversy. He’s more concerned about reducing a 40 percent surge in Chicago homicides that’s become a media obsession and threatens to undermine his efforts to market Chicago to international tourists.“People of faith have a role to play and community leaders have a role to play in helping to protect our neighborhoods and our citizens. You cannot get there on just one piece of an anti-crime strategy,” the mayor said. Read More News New Mexico


One-third of U.S. doctors plan to leave practice in 10 years

New Mexico Business WeeklyA third of U.S. doctors say they will leave the practice of medicine in the next decade, according to a new study by Jackson Healthcare. The reasons for doctors wanting to quit medicine included higher medical malpractice insurance and overhead costs, and not wanting to practice medicine in an era of health care reform, the study said. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed cited economic factors for wanting to leave medicine, and 51 percent cited health care reform, Atlanta-based Jackson Healthcare said in a news release. “Physicians are retiring in large numbers just as baby boomers are starting to turn 65. That creates a real health care access problem. Many are demoralized and weighing their options,” said Richard Jackson, chairman and CEO of Jackson Healthcare. Read More News New Mexico


A/C Turn Off Program Draws Volunteers

NM Business Journal - Thousands of PNM Resources Inc. customers are volunteering to let the energy company shut off their air conditioners during peak periods throughout the summer in an effort to save energy and help prevent blackouts.

According to a report, PNM has a network of more than 30,000 private refrigerated air conditioner units in homes and small businesses that can be centrally controlled and dialed down when the need arises. The list was created through voluntary customer participation in the energy saving program. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Dam Water Bills Could Triple in Las Vegas

NewsNM note - We posted this story on the dam in Las Vegas a year ago.
KOAT - People living in Las Vegas may see their water bills go up as soon as September, and by 2016 rates could triple. City officials said the dam is leaking so badly, about half the water flowing from the river to the faucet gets wasted. They said the dam needs to be fixed and made bigger, so the city has more water storage during drought years.
"This is good water that the folks from here aren't able to drink or cook with," Gov. Susana Martinez said.
Martinez visited Las Vegas Wednesday, getting a first-hand look at the leaking dam she's advocated to fix. Martinez blames state legislators for not using their capital outlay allotments to fix the dam, but rather proposing projects like a high school weight room and a parking lot. Martinez vetoed those projects. Read full story here: News New Mexico


Librarian "Booked"on Voter Fraud Charges

KOB - Two more people have been charged in connection to alleged voter fraud in a New Mexico border town. Authorities say 56-year-old Luz Vargas registered El Paso, Texas, resident Mary Ann O'Brien to vote in Sunland Park's municipal election in March.
They were charged Wednesday with false voting, conspiracy to commit false voting, registration offenses, falsifying election documents and false swearing. The Las Cruces Sun reports that Vargas serves as director of the town's library. O'Brien told investigators that Vargas approached her in Sunland Park and told her it was OK to register and vote in New Mexico as long as she didn't also vote in El Paso. Read full story here: News New Mexico