15,000 undocumented immigrants in El Paso area can apply for deferred deportation

From the El Paso Times - Hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants across the country -- about 15,000 in the El Paso area -- will be able to start applying this week for protection from deportation and work permits under a new initiative from the Obama administration. The offices of the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, or USCIS, will begin receiving applications starting Wednesday. The initiative could mean work and temporary peace of mind for thousands of young people but immigrants' rights advocates are cautioning potential beneficiaries the measure is not perfect and may not be the right one for everybody. President Barack Obama announced on June 15 a new program under which young undocumented immigrants may apply for deferred action -- which would exempt them from deportation for two years -- and permits to work legally in the country. Specifically, the measure will affect people who entered the country before the age of 16, are younger than 30, have continuously lived in the United States for five years preceding the date of the memo, and have never been convicted of a felony, a serious misdemeanor or pose a threat to national security. Some people in removal proceedings may also be eligible, immigration specialists said. They must also have graduated from high school, have a general educational development certificate or have served in the military. Read more

Holder compliance on Fast and Furious forced

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
From the Washington Times - By Jerry Seper and Stephen Dinan - A civil lawsuit filed Monday by House Republicans asks a federal court to enforce a congressional subpoena of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in his refusal to turn over documents sought in an investigation by a House committee into the failed Fast and Furious gunrunning operation. House Speaker John A. Boehner said in a statement the lawsuit seeks to overturn the Obama administration’s “frivolous executives privilege claims,” forcing the Justice Department to make public documents the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee claims could show who at the department was aware of the botched investigation and what they did about it. Mr. Boehner said President Obama and his team were ignoring an Oct. 11 congressional subpoena — something the courts have long recognized as valid — and that lawmakers were left with no choice but to ask the U.S. District Court in Washington to referee. “By stonewalling Congress and ignoring a contempt order, the Justice Department has left the House no choice but to take legal action so we can get to the bottom of the Fast and Furious operation that cost border Agent Brian Terry his life,” Mr. Boehner said. “After providing — then retracting — inaccurate information to Congress, Attorney General Holder has gone to extraordinary lengths to block access to subpoenaed documents and deny the efforts of the Terry family to get the truth,” he said. Read more

Something better than a Requiem for the lost ones

Commentary by Michael Swickard, Ph.D. -  “Success is a public affair. Failure is a private funeral.” Rosalind Russell   They are still alive. Some have even prospered. Not many. Most know they lost but not how much. These educational statistics are spouses, children and parents. One moment they have the whole world in front of them. Suddenly, their world has a not so rosy future.
            Personally, I do not know how they feel since I graduated from college. Years ago, though, I taught in a community college where I played a role out of Star Wars: “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; you’re my only hope.”
            While I am not a Jedi Knight, “The Force” in education is life-changing. For many community college students it is their only and last hope. Most are fragile and have failed repeatedly in academic settings. If I make them strong, they and their children live entirely different lives. Alas, often before I could, their closet of ghosts intervened and they were gone.
            In New Mexico nearly sixty percent of students who start college do not finish. That is on top of the 35% of students who do not graduate from high school. The New Mexico workforce is full of citizens who did not get a high school diploma or college degree. At least there is the GED route for high school dropouts.
            Those who start college and do not finish are injured in three ways: first, their time in college could have been spent doing something more productive for their lives. If they join a company two years earlier, they would advance those two years instead of starting at the first step years later. Secondly, student loans they took out to attend college must be paid back but without the earning power of a college degree.
            Finally, in the time of my parents having a year or two of college was a plus. That is no longer true. On a resume the person attended college but did not finish is a minus.
            One thing that does not hurt is finishing college later rather than four years after high school. The person finished and has the degree. This makes me wonder why there is not a huge effort in New Mexico to recover students who have left college without earning a degree.
            Mind you, many former students left college with a bad taste in their mouth so the effort to get them back in school would have to be extraordinary. Singing the college fight song will not do it. But increasing the population of citizens who have college degrees would be well worth the extraordinary effort.
            Colleges have three missions, degrees, research and community service. The most visual mission is degrees. There is an inverse relationship of persistence-to-ease-of-entry for college students. The easier it is to get into college, the more often fragile students will get in and not finish.
            Personally, I like when New Mexico colleges take a chance on students that Harvard would not. Some students surprise us and get a degree, often as the first member of their family to get a degree, but not the last.
            New Mexico colleges all try to keep fragile students in college. But I do not know of any effort to recover the lost ones. That should become a major effort in New Mexico where colleges develop new methods to address the barriers for these fragile students to complete their degrees. Read column


'60 Minutes’ Edits Out Crucial Point by Ryan

From NewsMax.com - By Patrick Hobin-  A critical comment about Medicare by vice presidential pick Paul Ryan was curiously edited out of the “60 Minutes” interview which aired on Sunday night, HotAir.com reported. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Ryan were interviewed for the program by Bob Schieffer of CBS News, who referred to a newspaper headline in Florida saying Ryan hurts Romney in the state because of his Medicare plan. “There’s only one president that I know of in history that robbed Medicare, $716 billion to pay for a new risky program of his own that we call Obamacare,” Romney told Schieffer. “What Paul Ryan and I have talked about is saving Medicare, is providing people greater choice in Medicare, making sure it’s there for current seniors. No changes, by the way, for current seniors, or those nearing retirement. But looking for young people down the road and saying, ‘We’re going to give you a bigger choice.’ In America, the nature of this country has been giving people more freedom, more choices. That’s how we make Medicare work down the road.” According to HotAir.com, the following remark by Ryan was cut and did not air but is crucial in explaining to viewers, especially Florida seniors, that his plan does not affect senior citizens and that his own mother is a Medicare senior. “My mom is a Medicare senior in Florida,” Ryan said. “Our point is we need to preserve their benefits, because government made promises to them that they’ve organized their retirements around. In order to make sure we can do that, you must reform it for those of us who are younger. And we think these reforms are good reforms that have bipartisan origins. They started from the Clinton commission in the late ’90s.”  HotAir.com called the broadcast cut “journalistic malpractice.”  “Ryan’s plan doesn’t affect those already eligible for Medicare,” Ed Morrissey of HotAir.com wrote. “In fact, one of the conservative criticisms of the plan was that he didn’t give current Medicare recipients the option to choose a private-insurance plan, as younger Americans will get once they become eligible. That’s a pretty newsworthy detail, no?” Read more

Independent U.S. Senate Candidate Sues Secretary of State Over Petition Validity

Jon Barrie
Ballot Access NewsOn August 13, Jon Barrie, the Independent American Party nominee for U.S. Senate in New Mexico, filed a lawsuit in New Mexico Supreme Court to obtain a place on the November ballot. The case is Barrie v Duran, no. 33755. Here is the brief. Even though the Independent American Party is a qualified party in New Mexico, and even though it nominated Barrie in a proper state convention, the Secretary of State says he can’t appear on the ballot, for two reasons: (1) he needed 6,028 valid signatures, and he fell short, even though he submitted 10,279; (2) the election code says a party may not nominate someone who wasn’t a registered member of that party early in the year.

UPDATE: the Court has asked the Secretary of State to respond by August 20, and has set a hearing for August 22, at 2 p.m. The Secretary of State acknowledges that a U.S. District Court said the law mentioned in (2) above is unconstitutional, back in March 2011, in Woodruff v Herrera. But, she is still enforcing it unless another court tells her not to. As to the number of signatures, Barrie’s brief points out many flaws in the state’s signature-verification process. Some signatures were even rejected because the signer “lives outside the district”, which is obviously absurd, since U.S. Senate elections encompass the entire state. Read More News New Mexico


America Needs a Great Coach

John Wooden
Commentary by Jim Spence - Legendary basketball coach John Wooden said the following many times, “When you do things for people they are capable of doing for themselves, you hurt them, instead of helping them.” This observation encapsulates what has gone terribly wrong in America. There are just too many members of our population who have been convinced by politicians that they should look to government to give them things they could obtain on their own.

And accordingly, though political progressives want to use government to help people, they actually hurt them. Millions of American people have had their initiative muscles hurt by government. And now, collectively, all of these government dependents are hurting the nation.
Politicians play by different rules. They have won thousands of elections by promising to do things for people they can do for themselves. And now they find themselves willing to bankrupt the nation trying to fulfill every absurd promise. In fact, even the politicians who know the Wooden observation is true are often too cowardly to say so.
The 2012 election is a tipping point for American history. President Obama knows all of his power is derived from continuing to do things for people they can do for themselves. And Republicans are once again trying to find a way to gently but firmly explain to people that government has made far too many promises that can never be kept. Few Vice Presidential nominees have ever had such a complete grasp of the realities of the federal budget process as Paul Ryan. Will his wealth of knowledge matter? It depends. It is still possible that Romney and Ryan can convince a majority of Americans to understand that government isn’t the solution to the big mess we have, government is the primary cause of the mess. While it is possible, there are a number of factors that suggest telling the truth as John Wooden did will not sell in America.
The public education system has indoctrinated several generations of Americans to believe more government is better. Every television network in the country except Fox bombards the airwaves with viewpoints that deny the basic premise of Coach Wooden.
In short, calling for industriousness and self-reliance is a tough sell after dependence has been fostered for fifty years. In the end, America has not been well-coached. The population has been conditioned to expect handouts from government instead of accepting the challenges of global competition. The only hope those of us who know government is the problem have is that those who don’t know this fact may have become too lazy to get out and vote for their handouts.


Dona Ana Community College's Nursing Program Unable to Secure Accreditation

SFGate - The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission revealed this week that it had denied accreditation for the college's program, which offers up to an associate's degree in nursing.
The college will try to regain its national accreditation, according to a letter sent to students. Many students are scrambling to find out what the loss means for their academic and professional careers. Some students criticized college administrators for what those students characterize as misleading and unclear communication about the implications of the development. College administrators didn't acknowledge around the time that accrediting organization officials visited Las Cruces that the certification could be in jeopardy, the newspaper reported. Read full story here: News New Mexico


NM Drug Addiction Problem is Widespread

KRWG - By any measure, New Mexico's drug problem is widespread. When the Centers for Disease Control announced in November that death rates for prescription drugs had reached epidemic proportions nationally, New Mexico was at the top of the list.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that teen drug use in New Mexico — heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine — is double and triple the national average, depending on the drug. The Department of Health estimates there are 25,000 needle-using addicts in the state. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Albuquerque News 13 sues APD over police video

From KRQE-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - News 13 has filed a lawsuit against the Albuquerque Police Department, demanding it release lapel camera video of two incidents we requested last month. According to sources, the video shows officers who may have roughed up some suspects, then celebrated after the suspect's arrest. Sources also said it shows officers misusing their Tasers. News 13 Special Assignments Reporter Kim Holland got a tip and requested the video on July 10. For weeks, the Albuquerque Police Department did not respond, which is a violation of the Inspection of Public Records Act. Under the law, any agency is required to respond within 15 days.  On Aug. 2, APD and the city said it would not hand over the video because the officers involved are now the subject of a criminal investigation.  The first of two incidents happened May 30, when police were trying to arrest a man accused of stealing his girlfriend's car. The suspect ran away and ended up hiding under a car, according to the criminal complaint. The officers had to use Tasers to get him out.  The very next day on May 31, the same trio of officers busted suspects selling pot at a park near Marquette Avenue NE and Tennessee Street. The suspects also fled on food, and again, officers used tasers to subdue one of them, according to documents.  What exactly the officers might have done wrong in either of the incidents isn't clear because APD refuses to release the video. But whatever happened, an APD spokesperson confirmed it was enough to prompt an Internal Affairs investigation. The city also said it's launched a criminal investigation. The three officers involved have been placed on administrative assignment, which means they have been removed from their regular duties but have not been placed on leave.  An APD spokesperson also said the officers' written reports about the incidents don't match what's see on the video.  Read more


Questa economic board mulls investing up to $250K for fishing park

From the Santa Fe New Mexican - by J.R. Logan - The Questa Economic Development Board is considering investing up to $250,000 toward a project that would create a recreational fishing park and restore more than a mile of the Red River near the village of Questa. Representatives of the Enchanted Circle Chapter of Trout Unlimited approached the board a few months ago to propose the concept. Bobby Ortega, executive director of the board, said the board was eager to get involved. The board and a stakeholder group have set their sights on a river section starting at Eagle Rock Lake and going upstream less than half a mile to the Questa Ranger District Office. The basic idea is to create a fishing park with easy access along the river. At the moment, that section of river is plagued by fast runs and abrupt banks that Ortega said were carved by a bulldozer following a major flood. Because it is straight and fast, there is little cover for fish. To improve the habitat, structures such as boulders and logjams would be installed to slow the water and provide holding areas for trout. Trails would likely be improved, and the section would be stocked by the New Mexico Game and Fish Department.Read more