Did Romney get a post-debate bounce? It looks like it

Capitol Report New MexicoRepublicans and Mitt Romney supporters feel re-energized while Democrats and President Obama look to the next two presidential debates to get back on track. But for all the postgame celebrating (for Republicans) and hand-wringing (for Democrats), did it make any difference to the electorate? After a weekend of polling, it seems the answer is that Romney did get a bounce in the numbers — although he’s still behind in polling for the Electoral College. 

A glance by Capitol Report New Mexico at some of the polling organizations that conducted surveys nationally and in battleground states, appears to show Romney picked up ground on Obama:
*Rasmussen Reports came out with a poll of the critical swing state of Florida on Friday and surveyed voters in the Sunshine State a day after the debate. The result? Romney had taken the lead over Obama, 49 percent to 47 percent. Last month, the President led, 48-46.
*Public Policy Polling released a poll Sunday night (Oct. 7) from Virginia, showing that Obama’s lead had shrunk by two points. Now it’s 50-47. Three weeks ago it was 51-46. 
*In Wisconsin, Romney saw a very good bump, going from being down by by 7 points (52-45) to now being down by just two points (49-47) in a survey by Public Policy Polling that was released Saturday (Oct. 6). This coming Thursday (Oct. 11), Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan debates Joe Biden in the one and only Vice Presidential debate of this election cycle.
*One day after the debate, Rasmussen Reports conducted a survey in of likely voters in Ohio showed Obama with a 1-point lead on Romney (50-49), the same margin as last month when Obama led 47-46. Read More News New Mexico


Opportunities rise from ashes of fire

Ruidoso NewsThough the Little Bear Fire was a picture of devastation for most, the remains of the fire serve as opportunity for some. In this case, opportunity knocked on the doors of several Carrizozo residents, who have begun a timber salvage operation to make use of the thousands of dead trees left standing in the wake of the fire.  

"I thought this might be the opportune time to get into a little mill and see if I can't do something with the salvaged timber," said Joe Thornton Jr., who entered into a partnership with another resident of the town, Steve Gore, to found Carrizozo Custom Lumber. "It's good salvage and I hate to see it go to waste."
Thornton said they had purchased a small, portable sawmill midway through September, and have since processed about 15 logs into useable lumber on demand.
"I'm completely new to the game but we're open for business," he said. "We're aiming to be very competitive (with prices)." Read More News New Mexico


Should Columbus Day become 'Exploration Day'?

Discovery News"In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue." And with that benign little mnemonic many people sum up their working knowledge of the endeavors of the Genoan sailor who discovered America (even though he didn't) for the glory of the Spanish crown (which later imprisoned him for his "atrocities"). But regardless if you know the Santa Maria from the Mayflower, if you live in the U.S. there's a good chance that you'll be enjoying a day off work this coming Monday in honor of a man who's traditionally celebrated regardless of his accidental discovery, dubious motivations and more-than-questionable actions across the islands of the Caribbean.

There are a few people who'd like to change that. Not the day off of course, because we all like that, but specifically who's being honored -- or, more accurately, who's not specifically being honored. For rather than setting aside a day that exclusively respects Columbus (for better or worse) Tom Diehl, Karl Frank and Dr. Rod Wright are suggesting that Columbus Day -- which wasn't officially recognized federally until 1937 -- be rededicated as "Exploration Day", thus calling attention to the spirit of not only Columbus' exploits but also of all those that came after... and all who are yet to come.
 "Rededicating Columbus Day as Exploration Day will allow those who wish to commemorate his accomplishments to continue doing so," says Frank. "But for those who find Columbus's role in history disquieting, it will enable them to celebrate the day in a very different way. Exploration Day covers the depth and breath of America’s rich history of exploration, research and discovery. Thus, Exploration Day will be something that unites rather than divides." Read More News New Mexico


Border Governors Want Cooperation

Albuquerque JournalTheir two-day discussion touched on everything from economic development and health care to border violence, and governors from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border agreed that only strong partnerships will allow them to tackle the issues. 
The 30th annual Border Governors Conference wrapped up Friday with a closing ceremony in which the governors of New Mexico and Arizona and the Mexican states of Baja California, Sonora and Chihuahua vowed to continue working together. “We are all neighbors. We are all concerned about promoting prosperity for the people we represents on both sides of the border,” Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said at a news conference following the meeting of the leaders. Representatives of Texas and the Mexican states of Nuevo Leon and Coahuila were also in attendance.
Brewer, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and representatives from Texas pointed to the billions of dollars in exports that move from their states to Mexico each year. They said the border region represents one-quarter of the nation’s gross domestic product and new emphasis needs to be put on developing strategies for improving communication, transportation and infrastructure along the U.S-Mexico border.
“Our region is a force to be reckoned with,” Martinez said, adding that leaders on both sides should feel a sense of urgency in following through on the recommendations developed during the conference. Read More News New Mexico


Going to the Edge of Space To Set a Skydiving Record

Felix Baumgartner
courtesy of Jay Nemeth
Wall Street JournalAn Austrian daredevil plans to break a 52-year-old record for the highest skydive on early Tuesday morning above eastern New Mexico, in a feat that will test the limits of technology and the human body at the edge of space. Felix Baumgartner plans to ascend to 120,000 feet in a 55-story-tall helium-filled balloon and then jump back to earth. During the first few minutes of his descent, his free fall is expected to break the speed of sound—about 690 miles per hour in those atmospheric conditions. As air density increases, the speed of his descent will gradually decrease. 

The 43-year-old will then deploy his parachute, returning to earth hopefully within a few miles of the balloon's liftoff location. The previous record for skydiving is held by Joe Kittinger, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, who dived from 102,800 feet in 1960. Mr. Kittinger's jump was part of Air Force testing of a protective suit and whether human bodies could survive in the low-pressure, cold environs of space. Mr. Kittinger is part of the ground team working on Mr. Baumgartner's flight. Read more News New Mexico


Armadillo Aerospace launches at Spaceport

Spaceport America, NM – New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) officials announced Friday the launch of a STIG-B rocket designed and built by Armadillo Aerospace of Rockwall, TX. This launch was the first licensed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) launch to take place from Spaceport America's vertical launch complex at the spaceport, and the second research and development test flight this year at Spaceport America conducted by Armadillo Aerospace. The successful launch was a non-public, unpublished event at the request of Armadillo Aerospace, as the company is testing proprietary advanced launch technologies. Armadillo Aerospace is a leading developer of reusable rocket-powered vehicles and plans to provide a platform for civilian access to suborbital space.
Friday’s flight was the spaceport’s first FAA-licensed launch, the 6th Armadillo Aerospace vehicle, and the 16th vertical launch from Spaceport America since 2006.