N.M. Film Subsidy Debate Heats Up Again

From kob.com -At the New Mexico state capitol another battle is looming over the state's rebates for the film industry. Last year, the legislature and the Governor Susana Martinez agreed to cap the rebates at $50 million a year, but now there's an organized effort to blow the cap off and go back to the old way of doing business. The old way was a pretty sweet deal - spend a dollar making a movie here, get 25 cents back - with some restrictions and reservations, of course.  However, Gov. Martinez cried foul. She said other industries don't get breaks like that, so why should the movies? That led to the cap, and the fight to take it off.  More News New Mexico

Drunk Driver Hogtied by Witness

From huffingtonpost.com -FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) -- A New Mexico man hogtied a suspected drunken driver accused of barely avoiding several head-on collisions on a stretch of highway that has recently become known for rampant drunken driving and traffic fatalities, authorities said.  Justin Canuto was seen driving southbound in the northbound lanes of U.S. 550 on Sunday night, the Farmington Daily Times reported. The 22-year-old pulled over next to a convenience store where he was confronted by several witnesses who had followed him into the store's parking lot. Canuto became belligerent and tried to run away, prompting another man to tackle and hogtie him before sheriff's deputies arrived, San Juan County Sheriff's Sgt. Al Jamison said. Canuto was later charged with drunken driving.  More News New Mexico

N.M. Earns $6.5M in Oil and Gas Lease Sales

From boston.com -The New Mexico State Land Office says it earned $6.5 million during its monthly oil and gas lease sale. The state says 29 tracts in San Juan and Lea counties were offered for lease and all were sold on Jan. 17 in Santa Fe. The highest bid of $1.06 million went to Ronald Miles of Roswell for 320 acres in Lea County. Each month the land office offers tracts for oil and gas development. The proceeds go to help fund public schools, hospitals and universities.

N.M. Land Grant Expands AF Training

From af.mil -The U.S. Air Force accepted a land gift offer from the State of New Mexico during a ceremony in Santa Fe Jan. 18, hosted by the New Mexico State Land Office. The 11,000-acre land gift, valued at approximately $3.2 million, will support the Joint Air Force Special Operations mission at Cannon Air Force Base.  On June 23, 2008, the State of New Mexico and the Air Force entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that initiated the framework for gifting the land. The Air Force Real Property Agency, the 27th Special Operations Wing, the Air Force Special Operations Command, and Headquarters Air Force have worked with the State of New Mexico to receive this gift.  The Air Force will use the additional land for special operations training - including aircraft live fire ranges and desert and urban warfare training - at Cannon Air Force Base.   More News New Mexico

Now this is funny

I hope this wasn't PhotoShopped, but it is funny. I like their smiles.


NM Congressional candidate signs pledge condemning corporate money in politics, but will accept corporate dollars in campaign

From Capital Report New Mexico.com - While speaking at the Occupy rally held outside the Roundhouse on the first day of this current 30-day legislative session Tuesday state Sen. Eric Griego (D-Albuquerque) signed what’s called “the 99 pledge” that calls for candidates to “work with particular focus to prevent corporations from directly or indirectly expending money to influence any election.” Griego has been a harsh critic of the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court, which built on an earlier high court decision, Buckley v. Valeo, which said spending money in elections is a form of speech. In the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case in 2010, the high court ruled it unconstitutional to regulate the money spent during elections by corporations and unions. “Money does not equal speech,” Griego told the people taking part in the Occupy rally Tuesday morning after signing the anti-corporations pledge. Corporations are not people … Citizens United needs to be overturned.” But Griego — who is leaving the Roundhouse to run for the US Congress in New Mexico’s First District — told Capitol Report New Mexico that signing the pledge does not mean he won’t accept any corporate donations in his congressional campaign this year. Is that hypocritical? Griego said it isn’t. Read more

Attorney general clarifies when hospital alerted office to possible embezzlement

From the Santa Fe New Mexican.com - by Phaedra Haywood - They say time is relative. Apparently, the last few years at Attorney General Gary King's office seem more like "several months" to at least one staffer. King's spokeswoman Lynn Southard last month told The New Mexican that the attorney general had received information about alleged embezzlement of $3 million from Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center "several months" ago. That statement contradicted a statement from the Santa Fe hospital that CEO Alex Valdez had turned over relevant documents about the case to the attorney general in 2008. This week, the newspaper received documents as part of a public-records request that indicate the hospital representative was correct: King's office has known about the allegations since early 2008 and began investigating them in September 2008. Asked about the conflicting statements, King said his spokeswoman had merely made a poor word choice when she answered questions last month. "I don't think 'several months' was particularly descriptive of how long we've had the case," King said. "But I don't think it was a lie, either. Several months is not a good description based on human experience of how much several months is, but basically it was trying to be a way to say that we can't make a specific comment on any particular case that is under investigation." Read more

Park Service seeks NM homesteaders' descendants

NewsNM Swickard - My family homesteaded in the Three Rivers and the Lordsburg area. In the picture I am two years old and my father, as usual, got a ranch outhouse in the picture over my shoulder. He thought outhouses were photographically a hoot - From the Carlsbad Current Argus - The National Park Service is looking for New Mexicans who homesteaded land or whose ancestors did to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of the federal Homestead Act. Homestead National Monument of America in Nebraska is recruiting volunteers from the 30 states covered by the Act to carry their state's flag at events in May and June. A May 20 national commemoration event and a Homestead Day parade on June 16 are planned at the southeast Nebraska monument. The volunteer must carry the flag for a mile and a half. A different volunteer may be chosen for each event. More than 87,312 successful homestead claims were filed in New Mexico covering 25 percent of the state's land. Read more

NM leaders seek protections for Organ Mountains

From the Alamogordo Daily News - AP - A coalition of Southern New Mexico Hispanic leaders is urging President Barack Obama to protect southern New Mexico's Organ Mountains and the Desert Peaks region. The group sent a letter to the president on Wednesday. Former New Mexico Governor Jerry Apodaca, former Land Commissioner Jim Baca, State Auditor Hector Balderas and Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima were among the 24 leaders to sign the letter. The group pointed to the area's ecological values, its thousands of archaeological sites and its connections to Hispanic residents and historical figures such as Billy the Kid and Geronimo. U.S. Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall, both New Mexico Democrats, are sponsoring legislation that would establish the Organ Mountains-Doña Ana County conservation and wilderness area. The measure would protect nearly 400,000 acres of public land in the county.

Martinez allows lots of issues during session

From NM Politics.net - By - Gov. Susana Martinez today approved a wide range of topics for consideration during this 30-day legislative session, including corruption and transparency issues, abortion, increasing penalties for some crimes, and even regulation of the funeral industry. The session is intended to be primarily focused on the budget. Martinez sent 36 executive messages to the Senate, officially allowing bills on certain topics. Thirty six is a pretty big group; for comparison, during the 60-day session in 2011, Gov. Martinez issued a total of 48 messages to the Senate. Read list

Gentry and Munoz Introduce Anti-Corruption Bill

Nate Gentry
Santa Fe – Today Representative Gentry (R-30) and Senator George Munoz (D-4) introduced anti-corruption legislation that increases possible jail time for public servants who engage in corruption; bars persons convicted of public corruption from lobbying and entering into state contracts; and provides for the forfeiture of public pension benefits for corrupt officials (HB111).

The bill has been endorsed by Governor Martinez and was touted during her state of the state speech as one of the key components of her fight against corruption.
George Munoz
“The rash of recent corruption scandals demonstrates that we are not getting through to all of our public officials. This legislation will go a long way towards addressing this very serious problem. I appreciate Senator Munoz’s willingness to work with me on this important piece of legislation,” Representative Gentry said.
“We have an obligation to the people we serve to ensure public officers maintain the highest integrity. Should government officials violate the public trust, those officials should face consequences. This legislation makes the law crystal clear that public officials will be held accountable their actions,” concluded Munoz.
On January 14, 2012, Rep. Gentry wrote Speaker Ben Lujan urging speedy consideration of this legislation. During the 2011 regular session, the same bill passed the House of Representatives unanimously (66-0) but later died on the senate floor after being approved by the Senate Public Affairs Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee.


Bingaman Ignores Three Year "Study" of Pipeline

Jeff Bingaman (left)
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), who is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee took a pass on the merits and drawbacks of the killing of the Keystone XL pipeline by President Obama yesterday. The pipeline has been studied for three years, all states involved are on board with the project, and billions of dollars in wages and economic development came along with the pipeline. Still Bingaman downplayed the implications of the kill when he said, "I'm hopeful that once the necessary environmental studies are done, this project can be considered on the merits."
In now appears that an oil pipeline will be extended to the Pacific coast of Canada and the oil will be off-loaded to oil tankers bound for China. There, large Chinese refineries with few if any environmental restrictions. The consequences of the permit denial in the U.S. are:
1) pipeline jobs for Canadian workers instead of U.S, workers 
Beijing Oil Refinery
2) new petroleum tanker offload jobs in a Canadian port
3) risks of more ocean tanker oil spills
4) much more toxic discharges into the earth's atmosphere from Chinese refineries
5) job losses and layoffs in the U.S. as a result of the Keystone plan being scrapped
Pipeline supporters include several large construction trade unions.
These groups say the project would have created more than 20,000 initial jobs over the next three years. And ultimately the project would have provided more than 500,000 permanent jobs. Also lost to the U.S. was a chance for greater energy security from deals with politically friendly Canada.
American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard called the project the one featuring "shovel-ready jobs."
Both Congressman Ben Ray Lujan and Tom Udall have not yet released statements on the Obama decision.


Heinrich Releases Statement on Keystone Pipeline

Martin Heinrich
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Representative Martin Heinrich (NM-1) released the following statement today after President Obama denied the pending application for the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline: "I'm committed to an energy future for our nation that is both clean and domestic. The tar sands pipeline is neither. Through American ingenuity we can unleash the full potential of clean, home-grown energy and put even more New Mexicans to work."
Heinrich made no mention of his support for the givernment's investments in Solyndra in the news release.


Pearce: Keystone Kop Kills Pipeline

Steve Pearce
Washington, DC (January 19, 2012) President Obama has blamed congressional Republicans for his administration’s decision to reject the construction permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. He blamed Republicans for actions he took. This is ludicrous.  The Keystone XL pipeline is a 1700 mile, $7 billion non tax-payer funded pipeline which would deliver over 700,000 barrels of oil from Canada to refineries in the United States. Last August, the State Department issued a final and complimentary Environmental Impact Statement on the project. The project would create an immediate 20,000 construction jobs and at least another 130,000 long-term jobs by conservative estimates.
Congressman Steve Pearce released the following statement after the Administration’s announcement: “Greece cannot pay its bills. Italy is in dire need of a bailout as well, and Portugal is on the verge of economic collapse,” said Pearce. “President Obama’s comedy of errors is leading us down the same frightening path. His big government policies, like rejecting the Keystone Pipeline permit and establishing the Cement MACT rule, will only speed up that process. He has shown himself to be the Keystone Kop—totally incompetent. The American people deserve better, and need someone who will rebuild our economy and unite us.”
“The Administration has had three years to study this pipeline, but for some reason he declared the bipartisan 60 day decision timeline for the permit ‘arbitrary’ and ‘insufficient’,” Pearce continued. “The President simply fails to take responsibility for any of his decisions—even when they come with his signature, he always points the finger at somebody else.”
“Just yesterday, the President’s own Council on Jobs and Competitiveness called for an ‘all in’ approach to energy development as the way forward to create jobs and decrease our dependence on foreign energy. And once again, President Obama chose to disregard commonsense recommendations from a panel he appointed. It’s time the President worried about jobs on Main Street instead of his job at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”


Bus Brings Protestors in Good Humor

Bus That Brought Protestors to Rally
One of our News New Mexico posse members in the Las Cruces area reported an amusing story from the “driver’s license protest” Monday at the Department of Motor Vehicles office.
It seems that the grassroots groundswell of people all arrived at the site on “a chartered bus.” We have no reports on who rented the bus.
Also during all of the contrived outrage and high pitched emotions an ice cream truck stopped by. Almost immediately the ice cream vendor made numerous sales and all the protest chants were suspended. Everyone was in good humor and soon left on the chartered buses to go about their business.


John Arthur Smith: "I'm Not Super Confident"

John Arthur Smith
KRQE - New Mexico lawmakers will spend the next 30 days trying to hammer out a budget using some of the expected $250 million in new money. But just two days into the session, some of the legislature's top budget experts are saying that money may not be there. "I'm not superconfident," said Legislative Finance Committee Chairman Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming. "On a scale of 1 to 10, I'm at about a 5."
Don Bratton
State lawmakers and Gov. Susana Martinez both proposed an increase in spending for the budget year that begins in July, largely from a projected jump in oil and natural gas money. But future forecasts show natural gas prices are expected to be down about 33 percent, or $1.70 less than what the governor and Legislature planned for, according to Smith. "That has the capacity to wipe out $250 million virtually overnight," said Smith.
Rep. Don Bratton, R-Hobbs, who is a former oil and gas producer, also said the volatility in the market could be devastating to the state. "A 10-cent change on natural gas prices is about $13 million dollars to the state of New Mexico," said Bratton.Read full story here: News New Mexico

"The Real Unemployed"