Government-funded battery maker files for bankruptcy

From - By Deepa Seetharaman and Ayesha Rascoe , Reuters - A123 Systems, which had received a $249 million grant from the U.S. government, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday, giving Republicans fresh ammunition to attack the Obama administration's subsidies for green energy.
The filing came after the lithium-ion battery maker's $465 million rescue deal with Chinese auto parts supplier Wanxiang Group collapsed, hobbled by "unanticipated and significant challenges," A123 said on its website.
A123 has agreed to sell its automotive operations, including two factories in Michigan, for $125 million to Johnson Controls Inc, a leading battery supplier and another recipient of federal green subsidies.
The U.S. Department of Energy allotted about $90 billion for various clean-energy programs through the administration's stimulus package. Of that, at least $813 million went to energy companies that eventually filed for bankruptcy, including A123, Solyndra, Beacon, Abound Solar and EnerDel.
The Solyndra failure has been regularly cited in stump speeches leading up the Nov. 6 presidential election, including those of Romney, who argues that the government should not be in the business of picking corporate winners and losers. Read more



Newsbreak New Mexico 5pm Webcast 10/16/12

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SFCC new green program
KOB to hold 1st congressional district debate
ABQ office vacancy up
Pumpkin patches thrive in NM

Newsbreak New Mexico 12pm Webcast 10/16/12

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ABQ office vacancy up
Santa Fe minimum wage war
ABQ zoo fees debate continues
San Juan jail furloughs 

Biden: Compulsive liar or early stages of dementia?

Joe Biden
Commentary by Jim Spence - According to Barrack Obama his stimulus plan for jobs wasn't quite as "shovel ready" as he had hoped.
Not to worry. The Obama administration finally has something that can be described as "shovel ready" in 2012. Unfortunately, it is Joe Biden. Fresh off of his establishing of a new low in rudeness during his interuptathon disguised as a debate performance last week, the Vice President was in the key battleground state of Ohio over the weekend. During the campaign stop in Athens, Ohio on Saturday, Biden was once again strolling down false memory lane. And this time he told a whopper.
Biden said the last time he was in Athens he was playing football (for the University of Delaware) against the Ohio University football team in 1963. He claimed he almost got arrested for walking into a girls’ dormitory.
Biden is truly shovel ready. However, what he shovels is best suited for flower beds rather than informed voter consumption. Biden never played football for the University of Delaware.
This is a man who seems so ready to lie it is kind of scary. This incident raises serious questions. Did Biden think nobody would check out his story? He is a heartbeat away from being the most powerful man in the world and is somehow willing to lie about a collegiate athletic career he never had?
Is Biden so used to lying he can't tell the difference between the truth and a lie?
Of course there is an alternate explanation. Perhaps Biden is as one psychiatrist suggested after watching the man laugh incessantly during the debate last week at inappropriate moments. Biden may well be in the early stages of dementia. If this is the case we should feel very bad for him and his family.

Advocates launch campaign to protect medical cannabis program

Audio story here:

Emily Kaltenbach

Patients, physicians and advocates have launched a campaign to protect PTSD patient access to medical cannabis.

Today, more than 3,000 New Mexican residents with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD are actively enrolled in our state’s Medical Cannabis Program. Many of them are military veterans, patients living with disabilities, and victims of serious trauma and violent crime. 

This enrollment is being challenged by New Mexico Psychiatrist Dr. William Ulwelling who has filed a petition to the Department of Health requesting PTSD be removed from the list of eligible medical conditions for the enrollment in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program.

Ulwelling cites lack of scientific evidence for his petition.

Ulwelling-  "I'm not even arguing that there might be some people currently in the program that are benefiting from it, I'm just saying there's no evidence at the current time to say, we could offer this to the people of New Mexico as an accepted treatment.”

The Campaign is standing up to protect the legal rights of patients to access safe medicine. State Director of the New Mexico Drug Policy Alliance, Emily Kaltenbach says since 2009 when it was approved, PTSD has become the disabling condition most frequently indicated by patients in the program.

Kaltenbach- “We’re really concerned because 40% of the patients in the program are qualified under PTSD, that’s the number one condition in the program. Now when we think about who are those patients with PTSD, many of those are veterans. And those veterans deserve to be taken care of when they get home and unfortunately their right is being threatened by this petition.”

On November 8th, the Drug Policy Alliance is also re-launching an updated version of Healing a Broken System with current numbers and new material related to medical cannabis as a safe and effective treatment for veterans diagnosed with/suffering from symptoms of PTSD. This report examines the significant barriers that veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan face in obtaining effective treatment for mental health and substance abuse problems, and the consequences of leaving these wounds of war untreated.

Ulwelling’s petition will be heard by the program’s Medical Advisory Board at a public hearing, November 7thfrom 1 – 5 pm at the Harold Runnels Building, 1190 St. Francis Drive in Santa Fe.  The Secretary of Health will have the final decision.

For Newsbreak New Mexico, I’m Vanessa Dabovich. 


Hollywood comes to Carlsbad

The New Mexico Film Office has been making its rounds across the state holding Town Hall meetings. After a tour of the northern part of New Mexico, film office director, Nick Maniatis, has decided to bring his crew to Carlsbad. The upcoming Town Hall meeting will take place at the NMSU-Carlsbad Campus Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24.
"Nick Maniatis is going to address the audience and tell them what the Film Office is about," said Dirk Norris, the Film Office's Outreach Programs Manager, who will also be attending the meetings. "He (Maniatis) is also interested in knowing what's going on in the community film-wise."
According to the Film Office press release, "The town hall meetings are free and open to all, including students, local filmmakers, businesses, and the public. The Town Halls are intended to provide an open forum for each community to share information about their educational programs, film related businesses, and issues of concern."
But the town hall meeting is not solely for discussion's sake. Norris said an additional purpose for the meeting is for the Film Office to connect with individuals who are interested in being cast as extras in upcoming movies. The representatives from the Film Office will be taking head shots of those interested starting at 6 p.m. before the Oct. 24 assembly. "Those who already have a headshot are encouraged to bring them to the town hall meeting and fill out the casting call registration form," wrote the
Film Office in their press release. Norris said the information will be submitted to all the casting companies in the state.
Though Norris stressed that they are not casting for a particular movie at this time, he did mention that major motion picture crews often film scenes in New Mexico for which extras are needed. In fact, the Film Office recently held an open casting call for "Lone Survivor," a new film starring Mark Wahlberg, which is set in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. The cast and crew of "We're The Millers," Jennifer Aniston's new flick, were also filming in New Mexico just last month...


Raton recall petitions fail

Raton City Commissioners

The petitions seeking a recall election for each of Raton’s four sitting city commissioners do not have enough valid signatures to force an election, City Clerk Nancy McGlothin told The Raton Range.
McGlothin’s review resulted in disqualifying, or purging, from 68 to 76 signatures from each of the four petitions, leaving each petition short of the 194 signatures needed to force a recall election, The Range said.
A list of purged signatures was posted Monday at city hall, and anyone who signature was purged has 10 days to provide evidence to the city clerk as to why the signature should be restored to the petition, the paper reported.
If the city clerk does not reinstate the signature, the person may petition state District Court to have his or her signature reinstated, according to The Range.


Santa Fe local business community wants min. wage capped

As Santa Fe marks the 10th anniversary of its nationally known living wage ordinance, some members of the local business community say it’s time to freeze the wage at its current rate.
 If trends continue, Santa Fe’s minimum wage, currently $10.29 per hour, could easily go to $10.50 or more next year. The chamber and others have consistently opposed the wage increases, and – when the rate jumped last year from $9.85 to $10.29 per hour, giving the City the highest minimum wage in the country – argued the rate needed to be capped. 
A city ordinance requires that wage increases be recalculated every year based on a federally determined annual consumer price index for the Western United States. Mayor David Coss said the minimum wage will quickly lose its meaning if it doesn’t keep up with inflation. He called the wage a “great accomplishment” that has “made a giant difference in the lives of working families.”


ABQ zoo fees continue to cause debate

The Albuquerque BioPark Zoo is one of the state's most popular and affordable attractions, but without some serious financial help, it's in danger of falling into disrepair. On Monday night, the City Council battled over the cost of admission at the zoo. 

Some of the costly problems at the BioPark include old, beat-up air conditioning units, cracks in the cement, mold and rust growing on the walls and ceilings in the turtle holding area and drainage problems on the roofs. 

That's why city leaders want to keep the general admissions fee at $10, pointing out that the recent increase also goes to pay BioPark employees who are trying to keep the aging infrastructure safe for the animals and the patrons.

Some councilors want to roll the price back to $7 in the tough economy. City councilors decided to defer a vote Monday night on zoo admission for two weeks.


San Juan County jail inmate furloughs causing concern

A large number of furloughs being granted to inmates at the San Juan County jail has led to worries that inmates are bringing contraband back into the jail. 
Jail records show judges have allowed more than 300 inmates to take furloughs for various reasons this year. They include medical treatment, to attend funerals or seek work.  The Farmington Daily Times reported  that records show 80% of requests are granted.
 Adult Detention Center administrator Tom Havel says returning inmates have been caught smuggling drugs and other items. One returning inmate was found with a tattoo gun hidden in a body cavity and later collapsed.  Jail officials suspect a package containing drugs broke inside his body.  Five inmates failed to return from furloughs this year and were charged with attempted escape. 


Lujan-Grisham leads Arnold-Jones in ABQ Journal poll

Michelle Lujan- Grisham
Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham has widened her lead over Republican Janice Arnold-Jones in the 1st Congressional District race in an ABQ Journal Poll. 
Lujan Grisham, a former Bernalillo county commissioner and former state Cabinet secretary for health and aging, had support from 51 percent of likely voters, according to the Journal Poll taken Oct. 9 to 11. Arnold-Jones, a small-business owner and former state representative, trailed in the race with 37 percent of the likely vote. Twelve percent of voters were undecided.
 In New Mexico’s two other U.S. House districts, incumbents Ben Ray Luj├ín, a Democrat, and Steve Pearce, a Republican, maintained significant leads over their challengers.


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Watch out for that oncoming bus!

Barrack Obama
Commentary by Jim Spence - When there is literally an army of reporters recording and checking up on everything you say, it is a very good idea to always tell the truth. Telling lies under these circumstances is essentually a decision to live dangerously. Danger may finally be catching up to the political operatives in the White House.

Apparently Hillary Clinton’s Department of State has had enough of White House blame games now that the decision to cover for a lie about a Mohammed video has blown up in the faces of those who told the tall tale.
Last Friday, the State Department released a press briefing during which a State Department official directly contradicted the White House’s claim about the so-called video that initially got the blame for the first murder of a U.S. Ambassador in more than thirty years.
What we have now is a very direct disagreement between soon to retire Hillary Clinton and the White House. It was sparked by one of a literal army of reporters who asked a State Department official to explain exactly “What led Department of State officials to believe there had actually been protests against the video?"
Hillary Clinton
“That was not our conclusion,” responded the official. Ouch!
It would seem that the White House decision to blame Hillary Clinton’s people for White House failings does not come without risks. Here is why.
There is no love between the Clintons and the Obama people. Bill Clinton has often referred to Barrack Obama as an amateur. And the hurling of racist accusations against both Clinton’s by Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary remains an open wound with Bill and Hill.
Don’t be surprised if Clinton’s State Department turns on the White House during the final twenty-two days of the election campaign. Now that Clinton’s reputation has been deemed ok to sacrifice by those closest to Obama, who need a scapegoat to cover for their lies, look for Hillary to hit back and hit back hard.