Piss Christ: State Sponsored Blasphemy

Commentary by Jim Spence - Near midtown Manhattan today at the Edward Tyler Nahem Gallery, the National Endowment of the Arts sponsored artwork “Piss Christ” by alleged artist Andres Serrano will go on display for a month. Piss Christ was created twenty-five years ago. It features a photograph of a crucifix floating in urine.
It is worth noting that no Christians have organized a fire bombing of the National Endowment for the Arts offices in Washington D.C.
Andres Serrano
Columnist Mario Loyola of National Review illustrated the irony of how progressive Democrats in America deal with blasphemy. He suggested a test case. The National Endowment of the Arts could sponsor Serrano or another artist who is willing to create a “Piss Mohammed” art series. Then the NEA could ask the Edward Tyler Nahem Gallery to hang it right next to the Piss Christ exhibit. He mused that if the gallery decided to decline to show the exhibit, a small group of Manhattan atheists could be recruited to march with “piss portraits” of Mohammed and his fellow deities and prophets right up 1st Avenue past the United Nations, while pledging allegiance to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Loyola accurately suggests that progressive Democrats wouldn't be caught dead applying the same standards to blasphemy of Islam and Christianity. Loyola notes that the degree of respect for any given religion "is proportional to its proponents’ propensity for violence." Are we being bullied here in America? You bet we are. And you can also bet if devout Christian’s rioted over the Piss Christ exhibit in New York President Obama would not point the finger at the artist. How could he? Obama and his ilk are the types of people who continue to cast votes that give taxpayer dollars to the national Endowment for the Arts so it can sponsor people who create exhibits like Piss Christ.


NM court limits DWI license revocation

For a year and a half, the state Motor Vehicle Division could take away your driver’s license administratively even if the police officer didn’t have reasonable suspicion to pull you over.
That changed this summer with a decision by the state Supreme Court.
In its unanimous opinion in Schuster vs. State of New Mexico, written by Justice Edward L. Chavez, the high court ruled that “MVD must find the arrest and underlying police activity leading to the arrest are constitutional as a prerequisite to revoking a driver’s license.”
Upon arrest for DWI in New Mexico, two processes start: one is criminal, overseen by a judge and requires the state to find someone guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction; the other is administrative, overseen by a state hearing officer and requires a 51 percent finding of guilt to strip someone’s driving privilege.
And in the case of Eric Schuster, who was arrested on suspicion of DWI outside a Farmington bar in May 2009, the officer did have reasonable suspicion to investigate Schuster for drunken driving and probable cause to arrest him, according to the court’s opinion.
So the court upheld MVD’s mandatory one-year revocation of Schuster’s driver’s license.
Ousama Rasheed, president of the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, specializes in DWI law and argued the Schuster case before the Supreme Court.
The saga began in January 2011, Rasheed said, when the state Court of Appeals ruled in Glynn vs. State of New Mexico that the constitutionality of an arrest need not be considered in MVD’s administrative license revocation hearings.
Information from ABQ Journal


NM Gas Company working to prevent outages

February 2011 is a month many New Mexicans will remember, especially at the beginning when a massive cold front came through the state, dropping temperatures below zero.
The San Juan basin, where most of New Mexicans get gas to heat their homes froze up because of the temperatures. So the state turned to the Permian gas basin and West Texas, but they also had the same cold front. There was too much demand for the lack of supply at the time. Thousands of New Mexicans were without heat.

Almost two years later, the Company spoke with the Public Relations Commission Thursday to discuss how a disaster like February 2011 can be prevented. Company Vice President of Operations Ken Oostman said a "perfect storm" hit the entire region, surprising everyone.
"This particular storm that happened in february is extreme, and it affected all the suppliers of the wellheads," Oostman said.
Since the freeze, Oostman said the Company has worked with law enforcement to achieve better communication when weather events like February 2011 happen again.
"I think we're much better prepared," Oostman said. "From everything from communication with the local and the state authorities, Homeland security and emergency management.
Information from KOB.COM


Ruling means New Mexicans owed $10 million from lender

A New Mexico district judge's ruling could mean millions for consumers who took out small loans from a Dallas-based lender.
New Mexico Attorney General Gary King says his office's three-year legal battle against FastBucks, LLC, ended this week with a ruling saying the company took advantage of borrowers "to a grossly unfair degree."
King says the state's consumers could recover more than $10 million. The ruling issued Monday by Santa Fe District Judge Michael Vigil found that FastBucks crafted their installment loans to circumvent a 2007 law reining in payday loan abuses.
King alleged the loans carrying interest rates from 520 percent to 650 percent were unconscionable under the New Mexico Unfair Practices Act.
FastBucks lawyer David Streubel tells the Albuquerque Journal the company plans an appeal.
Information from KOB.COM


ABQ to lose 150 Cardinal Health jobs

Albuquerque will lose more jobs son when Cardinal Health starts cutting positions next month.
About 150 jobs will leave Albuquerque when Cardinal Health trims its workforce. The company told Action 7 News in a statement, "After a long decision-making process conducted over many months, the decision has been made to contract out 130 finance organization jobs to Xerox." Twenty other New Mexico positions are moving back to Ohio as well.
Layoffs start Tuesday and will be finished by spring 2013. After the transition, Cardinal Health said they estimate about 225 positions will stay in Albuquerque.
The dismal news comes after a recent study showed the city has had zero job growth since 2008.
"We are at a crossroads. We're at a place where we need to start making some really tough decisions, about what it is that we're going to do to be competitive," city Economic Development Director John Garcia said.
Garcia said changes may be in order to the city's tax policy to make it easier to do business.
In the short term, Garcia encourages New Mexicans to spend dollars locally and support small businesses.
"Maybe we're in a crisis and this really is a time for us to get behind a support efforts for making this business climate a little better," Garcia said.  

Information from KOAT.COM


Rio Rancho mayoral position debated

Mayor Tom Swisstack
Earlier this year, Rio Rancho voters decided to make their mayoral position full-time, but since then there has been a lot of talk about what that entails, what it should pay and if the mayor can have a second job.

Current Rio Rancho Mayor Tom Swisstack says he already does that.  But should the mayor be able to have two full-time jobs?  Swisstack is also the deputy county manager in Bernalillo County.
"I make my meetings, and no one is saying I don't do my job," Swisstack said.
The longtime politician challenged skeptics to show where he has neglected either position.
The committee pretty much suggested staying out of the matter, and said the public will have the opportunity to evaluate any mayor's performance through elections.
The mayor makes about $27,000 a year in Rio Rancho.  Any pay adjustment won't come up until 2014 when this mayoral term is finished. 

Information from KOAT.COM

The pattern at NMSU continues (part II)

Commentary by Jim Spence - In yesterday's column we explored all the ways in which NMSU has fallen into a pattern of feebly attempting to acquire good leadership instead of developing it. The results have been disappointing and the president's office has turned into a revolving door. What could change the mindset at NMSU and provide a positive catalyst for the future?
There are many positive steps NMSU could take to lift its status as an institution of higher learning. Though the damage done by poor management at the athletic department is now going to be exceedingly difficult to repair, it can still be done.
On the academic side of the equation we know the southwest needs a Veterinarian School and a Dental School. With strong leadership and a can-do attitude, NMSU could easily create a long range plan to begin building both schools. These steps could provide the foundation for a much better student recruiting and a stronger alumni system.
What lies ahead for NMSU once Barbara Couture is officially history? Until there is a profound paradigm shift, expect more of the same. Institutions tend to repeat previous processes. Look for the regents to announce another exhaustive “national search” for a new president. This sort of language will make the process seem bigger than life. Of course the likely outcome is the selection of yet another skilled political operative with very little vision outside of personal ambition. Once entrenched, alumni can expect the next president to ask for huge tuition hikes on students, report more massive multi-million dollar losses in the athletic department, and initiate no movement towards creating advanced schools for dentists and vets.
Jim Collins, a nationally recognized researcher wrote the book, “Good to Great.” It is a study on what separates outstanding organizations from the pack. NMSU has been a prototype for the pack. Hiring CEOs from the outside rather than developing them from within is a telltale sign of mediocrity. In seventeen hundred years of combined life spans, Collins found only four individual incidents when going outside for a CEO—produced extraordinary results. He says homegrown management is integral in visionary organizations by a factor of over six times.
If you always do what you have always done you will always get what you have always gotten. As an institution, the preceding phrase defines the modus operandi at NMSU.