He’s baaaack … Bill Richardson appears on “Meet The Press” as a panelist

Former NM Governor Bill Richardson
From Capitol Report New Mexico - It’s been more than seven months and still no word about any findings in a grand jury investigation in Albuquerque reportedly centering on Bill Richardson. While people across New Mexico wait and wonder, the former governor flew to Washington and appeared on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday (Jun 24) as a panelist to discuss the hot political topics of the past week with host David Gregory, congressman Darrell Issa (R-California), Politico’s Jonathan Martin and NBC’s Andrea Mitchell. Richardson didn’t really say anything earth-shattering — he provided standard Democratic Party views on the subjects Gregory brought up. *On the Fast and Furious showdown between Issa’s committee and Attorney General Eric Holder, Richardson said, “I think the Attorney General has done a very good job,” and called a possible contempt of Congress vote in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives an overly partisan ploy. *Richardson criticized possible Vice Presidential candidate Marco Rubio while saying that should Mitt Romney choose Rubio, that will help Romney in Florida but “I don’t think it’s going to be enough, even if he picks Rubio, because the president has a very good record with Hispanic voters.” *And should the Supreme Court could overturn President Obama’s health care law, Richardson said, ”It’s going to energize a Democrat base.” Earlier in the week, Richardson appeared on FOX News Latino and when Juan Williams asked him if he thinks he’ll ever run for office again, Richardson said, ”I am now a member of the private sector. I’m happy. I’ve got a little foundation. You never say never, but I may have had my last race and that was the Presidential race. I think that you only get one shot.” But the most interesting part of the interview came when Williams asked Richardson about national Hispanic politicians to watch. Richardson mentioned a couple Democrats and two Republicans (Rubio and Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada) but did not mention his successor in the governor’s mansion, Susana Martinez: Read more

A great YouTube moment - enjoy

NewsNM: Swickard - guess I'm an old softy but this video was outstanding. Enjoy.


Legislator who defeated friend says things will never be the same

Representative Dennis Kintigh
From the Alamogordo Daily News - SANTA FE -- Strange as it sounds, winning can hurt. That is why state Rep. Bob Wooley is not savoring his victory in this month's primary election. Wooley won in his first try for public office by ousting his friend and fellow Republican, state Rep. Dennis Kintigh. Wooley said he found the campaign awkward, the taste of victory anything but sweet. "I don't think Dennis and I will ever have the same relationship," he said of the man who was his officemate at the Capitol. That is the oddest part. Both campaigns were squeaky clean. Neither man said a discouraging word about the other. But running for office causes stress and strain. That may be especially true when you like your opponent, and you realize that defeating him was never your goal until the redistricting maps were drawn up. Wooley was appointed to the House of Representatives last year by Gov. Susana Martinez. Kintigh was a two-term incumbent. Redistricting forced these two sitting members from Roswell into competition with one another. Read more

This graphic from the Denver Post shows our neighbor to the North is having just as much trouble as New Mexico. Where are the resources to fight these fires?

Commentary on the Swickard's Less than Sweet Smell of Sewage column

Commentary by Tom Austin, resident of Dona Ana County - Michael Swickard had it spot on. (his colunm here) He started the article like this; Here’s an easy question, “ Will everyone who wants to live next door to a sewage treatment plant, raise your hand?” How many of those voting on the P&Z would raise their hand? Would they be voting for approval of this plant if it were in their backyard? We all know the answer to that question. Most of us are all familiar with the proverbial saying, not in my backyard or NIMBY. When we hear that phrase, we usually think of something as in our region or relatively close proximity. But in this case it is literally in our backyard, as in right out our back door. In the case of my neighbor, Joe and Annie Franco, it is about 50’ from their backdoor to the proposed sewage plant property line. Joe and Annie have owned that property for years. They have invested their lives and resources on their property. They built their house, planted a pecan orchard, and perhaps, like many of us, have at times struggled to keep the payments current on the property. All these years, like us when asked where we live, they would reply in the north valley by the river. If this plant is built, now our response will forever be, by the Hope Rd sewer plant! Who among those reading this letter would like to live there? Our property values will plummet. And since this plant will require heavy truck traffic, lights on all night, noise from the constant drone of the motors and the odors that will inevitably emanate from the plant, our quality of life will be destroyed. Who among you would not stand with us if this were your backyard? Read commentary

What If Wal-Mart Sold 2500 Guns Illegally, Walked Them into Mexico, and Hid the Documentation from Congress?

From Breitbart.com -

Las Cruces looks at red-light fee collection again

AHD Note: A Missouri high court recently ruled that a similar program is unconstitutional as it disregards a motorists right to due process, read about it here. Las Cruces Sun-NewsThe Las Cruces City Council again is considering how to collect unpaid fees from red-light camera violations. The council will meet in a work session on Monday to review the history of the red-light program, violation statistics and fine collecting practices. Mayor Ken Miyagishima tells the Las Cruces Sun-News ( http://bit.ly/KFsrh2) that he's looking for some flexibility for dealing with offenders, rather than shutting off someone's utilities as a penalty. Earlier this year, the city sent letters to violators with 10 or more citations warning them to either pay up for face having their utilities disconnected. While there were no shut-offs as a result, city officials were publicly scolded and backed off after hearing arguments that such an action could hurt innocent family members, including children, especially during hot months. Read More News New Mexico


Richman: How to Get Money out of Politics

Sheldon Richman
Watching the television pundits fret over campaign finance is amusing, because the solution to their problem is right under their noses. They just don’t want to see it. The pundits’ favorite phrase that stands for everything evil in the political system is Citizens United. That’s the nonprofit corporation that sued the government in 2008 when it was told that commercials for its anti–Hillary Clinton documentary couldn’t be shown close to a Democrat primary election without violating McCain–Feingold, the latest campaign-finance law. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that section of the law unconstitutional.
By the response, you’d have thought the heavens had fallen. Each day, cable television features commentators expressing their fears for the future of the republic: because of Citizens United, they say, billionaires can give huge contributions to super PACs to promote or denigrate candidates, as long as those efforts are not coordinated with an official campaign organization.
What a load of nonsense.
First, super PACs financed by wealthy individuals such as Newt Gingrich’s former benefactor, Sheldon Adelson, were not made possible by Citizens United. That case was about corporations and unions, not individuals. Adelson is not a corporation. Therefore, before Citizens United he was free to give his money away to independent super PACs. As Wendy Kaminer points out in the Atlantic, the Supreme Court in 1976 held that individuals can give unlimited contributions to independent political organizations during election campaigns. Thus the claim that Citizens United overturned one hundred years of law is just wrong. True, one hundred years ago direct corporate contributions to candidates for national office were outlawed. But Citizens United doesn’t change that. It deals with independent expenditures. Period.
Moreover, Kaminer writes, “as recent reports have made clear, individual donors, not corporations, are the primary funders of super PACs.” So if you don’t like the prominent role of super PACs in the presidential campaign, don’t blame Citizens United. Had the case gone the other way, it would have made little difference.
Opponents of super-PAC campaign financing ridicule the idea that super PACs are really independent. Here they have a point. Let’s face it, those organizations wouldn’t have to meet face-to-face with a candidate or campaign manager to coordinate their efforts. It would be obvious to anyone running a PAC what message would best promote a candidacy and what message wouldn’t. So the idea of independence does seem like a joke.
But so what? These critics claim they value freedom of speech and association. So why can’t the people who run super PACs talk to the people who run the campaigns they are promoting? In fact, why can’t donors give all the money they want directly to the candidates and parties of their choice?
The only reason we have super PACs is that, many years ago, Congress put limits on how much money people may give directly to national political campaigns. But why is that considered a proper restriction? In an open society, people should be free to do anything peaceful; giving to political campaigns is peaceful; therefore, government should not restrict, much less outlaw, unlimited contributions.
But, say the opponents of campaign finance (who support forced taxpayer finance of campaigns), we can’t have wealthy people buying elections, because that would undermine democracy. The superficial response to this claim is that the better-financed candidate doesn’t always win, and that voters don’t robotically vote for the candidate with more television commercials.
There’s a better response, however, and it’s the one the campaign-finance opponents don’t want to hear. As long as government has the power to sell privileges, people will spend big bucks to influence elections. The wealthy and well connected will always have better access to government than regular people.
So if you want money out of politics, deny government the power to dispense privileges. No one can buy where there’s nothing for sale.
But this is only the beginning of the good news. Not only would stripping government of this power reduce the role of money in politics, it would also move us toward a free society. We have no right to call ourselves free as long as the government can bestow favors at the expense of taxpayers.