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 GarcĂ­a, 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