Happy Thanksgiving

 Thanksgiving 1942 - Office of War Information Photograph Collection


Thanksgiving for a dog who has lost his bite

© 2013 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. “I’m accustomed to a smooth ride or maybe I’m a dog who’s lost its bite.” Paul Simon Thanksgiving looks different to me with miles and age upon my eyes. The splendor of Thanksgiving to me is always tempered by the realization these gifts are not always deserved. For my undeserved gifts I am thankful and mindful of my life made better.
     Our nation has changed in my lifetime from these feelings of thankfulness to the point that some people feel entitled to Thanksgiving. They forget being thankful. Rather than pleased, they are bored since they are supposed to get everything they want.
     Our nation has gone from some who look at their glass to see if it is half full to those who are stuck just looking for a glass. The majority do not dialog the glass half empty or full, they maintain they are entitled to the glass so hand it over.
     Some will spend time on Thanksgiving remembering Thanksgivings past when glasses were held by loved ones who are long since gone. It is the consequence of age to live beyond people we have loved. In my lifetime so much has been gained in our society and so much lost.
     Like Paul Simon there are times when I think I am a dog who has lost his bite in today’s world. That is a common thought to those over the age of sixty in a world that worships youth. When I was young old people were revered. No longer. Knowledge is not even revered, only political advantage.
     It is Thanksgiving week and as usual I am thankful. However, none of what I really hold close to my heart is material. There was a time when I was younger that all I could think of was Martin guitars. Forty some years later I still have those two guitars, a six string and a 12 string Martin. They have traveled with me for decades and they mean less to me than a granddaughter’s smile.
     While I do occasionally have a smooth ride in life, compared to others, I have never become accustomed to a smooth ride. No, this life of mine has always been stormy, just as I have liked it to be. Early in my life I found that a placid ride held no interest for me.
     In the storms of life I am captain of my ship, though I cannot control the weather. So I must adjust to the changing weather of life. While I habitually am not much to worry, the future of this nation does worry me because of the challenges, not to me, but to the next generations.
     In fact, I am worried not because of what our leaders are doing, rather, because of what my fellow citizens are not doing. This Thanksgiving is a good example of this change in America. Years ago we got down on our knees to give thanks to Almighty God for that which we were given despite being flawed humans. We were honestly and completely thankful. It was not just a photo-opportunity, it was what we felt.
     Today many Americans rise from their Thanksgiving table saying, “I certainly deserve this and more.” Rising from the table with the butter from the rolls still on their lips many citizens do not see the thanks in Thanksgiving. For these modern American citizens the holiday does not resemble what it has been in the past.Read full column


Green Energy: The Rotary Dial Phone of the Future

Commentary by Marita Noon - The whole idea of green energy—renewable resources—grew out of an energy reality that was much different from today’s. It was in the 1970s, following the OPEC Oil Embargo thatsolar panels began popping up on rooftops and “gasohol” subsidies were enacted. It was believed that green energy would move the U.S. off of foreign oil and prevent oil from being used as a weapon against us.
     Today, that entire paradigm has been upended and OPEC’s power has been virtually neutered by increasing domestic oil production and decreasing gasoline consumption.
     Jay Lehr, Heartland Institute science director, likens continuing “as though our new energy riches did not exist” to “ignoring our telecommunication revolution by supporting operator-assisted telephones with party lines.”
     Instead of growing our gas, we need to be growing food that can feed a hungry world and balance out the U.S. trade deficit.
     In a November 17 editorial, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) perfectly sums up the current renewable resource status: “After 35 years of exaggerations about the benefits of renewable fuels, the industry has lost credibility.” Similarly, on the same day, the Washington Post (WP) went a step further, stating that ethanol “has been exposed as an environmental and economic mistake.”
     It seems that ethanol is an idea whose time has come—and gone. Read full column

Storm makes driving a challenge in Grants area

From KOB-TV.com - By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - Along Interstate 40 westbound, the closer KOB Eyewitness News 4 got to Grants, the icier the roads became.
     Semi-tractor trailers weaved in and out of traffic trying to stay on the road. KOB found near white-out conditions near Laguna and snow packed icy-roads near Cubero. State Police and road workers helped a semi-tractor trailer that ended up stuck in the median.
     "I’m coming from the west from Shiprock. It's been pretty good til I got here. It's starting to sleet and getting windy here,” said one truck driver. Before long, Grants cleared up a bit.
     But the howling winds did not let up, which forced drivers to take a break. "It’s hard (laughs) to keep control of your car especially if you go under the bridges and stuff,” one woman said.“It wips ya. We almost saw a semi jack-knife in front of us."
     This might just be the beginning of more wind and snow coming to the area over the next couple of days. More

Swickard: What do you believe in the news?

© 2013 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. Sometimes in newspaper stories the truth of what happened in the story is easy to see. At other times it is not. To deal with this ambiguity I have always wanted to enable readers to give a confidence rating to these more ambiguous stories. It would be a way of showing which stories, well, smell fishy.
     So some stories are just a matter of facts. An example would be: Bif Largecrash drove his rust colored 1986 Ford truck off the side of a hill last Saturday. He did so while trying to tune the radio to a different station because he said the song playing reminded him of his ex-wife’s lawyer.
     He was thrown from his truck and rescuers found him still clutching the aforementioned radio knob. An ambulance took him to the Emergency Room where he received 17 stitches and a stern lecture. Police chief, Al L. Blanks said, “It sure was good thing that the ground broke Bif’s fall or he could have been hurt.”
     Others stories contain more conjecture. Example: At the recent Town Council meeting Town Councilor I. M. Shady called Mayor Dee Power a cheater and stupid. “Am not,” replied Power. “Which one?” asked Shady. “Let me think,” said Dee.
     In the second example there is a conflict of opinions. We all have had those conflicts of opinion. It would be nice in the newspaper to have a section where the “conjecture” stories were all listed so that readers could indicate if the person is a cheater and stupid or just one. We need to know this.
     Here are some examples of facts and conjectures. Rate your confidence in the statements from 0 to 100. A rating of 100 means you are completely confident of it being true, like something your mother told you, whereas 0 means you do not believe it at all, like something politicians promise on the campaign trail.
1 - President Richard Nixon was a crook. _____
2 - Americans did land on the moon. _______
3 - Aliens crashed a space ship near Roswell. ______
4 - The police arrive quicker than pizza delivery. _____
5 - Van Gogh was an artist because he had no ear for music. ______
6 - Eight out of every five people cannot do math. _____
7 - Outlaws are more interesting than in-laws. _____
8 - Elvis is still alive. _____
9 - Japanese remember Pearl Harbor better than Americans. _____
10 - If taxes are outlawed, only outlaws will have taxes. _____
11 - The Marquis de Sade is an ObamaCare Administrator. _____
12 - 81% of American schools are below average. _____
13 - The number 13 is unlucky. _____
14 - If two wrongs don’t make a right, try three. _____
Read entire column

NMFA hires new CEO

The governing board of the New Mexico Finance Authority on Wednesday approved Robert Coalter as its CEO. 

Coalter has been executive director of the Texas Public Finance Authority since 2012, and worked for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts from 1991 to 2011. 

Former state budget director John Gasparich has been interim CEO since last year when Rick May was fired after the discovery that a financial audit had been faked. NMFA ex-controller Greg Campbell pleaded guilty to forgery and securities fraud. 

The New Mexico authority uses bond proceeds to provide low-cost loans to cities, counties, schools and other governmental organizations for capital improvements. 

Coalter's starting date and salary is to be negotiated.


Lawrence Rael announces gubernatorial candidacy

From KOAT-TV.com - by Pat Holmes - SANTA FE, N.M. —Joined by his wife, Kim, and their three children, Lawrence Rael announced his candidacy for governor of New Mexico in 2014. Rael currently serves as the president of the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce.
     “I’m running for governor because, with the right leadership, I believe we can turn potential and possibility into real opportunity for every New Mexican -- by growing quality jobs, investing in quality education and ensuring access to quality health care for citizens in every corner of our state. I believe I can be that leader for the state that has given me and my family so much already,” Rael said.
     Rael was born in Santa Fe and raised in the town of Sile. He has served in local, state and federal government as well as spending time in the private sector.
     “Over the next year, I am going to fight to earn the vote of every New Mexican -- to win the Democratic primary next June and defeat Susana Martinez next November,” Rael added. “But my promise to the people of New Mexico is that I will fight just as hard for your future if I have the honor of being your next governor.”
     He has been chief administrative officer of Albuquerque, deputy secretary of Transportation for the State of New Mexico and director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments, serving Bernalillo, Valencia, Torrance and Sandoval counties.More

Gov. Martinez proposes $112 million capital investment to NM water infrastructure

Gov Susana Martinez
From KOB-TV.com - By: Jorge Torres - The governor spoke today at the Rio Grande Nature Center to propose a capital investment in New Mexico's water infrastructure.
     The total proposal would be $112 million, which amounts to 60 percent of the outlay funding that will be available when the legislature convenes in January. 
     With many communities in New Mexico on the brink of a water shortage, the governor says the time to act is now.
     "While we cannot dictate the duration or the magnitude of the drought that we face, we can dictate our response. I'm proposing one of the largest investments ever made as a state in water infrastructure projects throughout New Mexico."
     Governor Martinez says the money should be used to improve state watersheds, provide repairs for communities that may go dry, and make critical repairs to dams.
     She considers water security a critical need for New Mexico communities, which is why she says that capital funds should be used to address those needs. More


Sec. of Education happy with stipend program

New Mexico Education Secretary Hanna Skandera says the state is "off to a good start" with 15 teachers each approved to receive a $5,000 stipend for transferring from a top-graded school to a low-graded one. 

The teachers worked for the Las Cruces, Taos, Las Vegas City, Espanola, Estancia and Gallup school districts. 

Teachers qualifying for stipends must have worked full-time at schools with A or B grades last year and they must now teach full-time at schools with D or F grades. And they have to stay at the D-F school through the 2014-2015 school year. 

The state began the program in September but Skandera says all the teachers receiving the stipends had transferred before the announcement.


Gov. Martinez in AZ for GOP meeting

Gov. Martinez
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez plans to travel to Arizona this week for a meeting of the Republican Governors Association. 

Martinez political adviser Jay McCleskey said the governor leaves Tuesday for Phoenix and will attend a fundraiser that afternoon to benefit the Arizona Republican Party. 

The meeting of Republican governors ends Thursday, but McCleskey said the governor may stay longer to spend time with her husband, Chuck Franco, and his seriously ill aunt, who lives in Phoenix. 

The governors' group is paying for Martinez's travel. She serves on the executive committee of the organization, which helps elect GOP governors. 

The RGA was the top contributor to Martinez's 2010 campaign, giving about $1.3 million. 

A new RGA chairman will be elected at the meeting.


Officials question firing of Lottery CEO

Tom Romero
State lawmakers are questioning the sudden and mysterious firing of state lottery chief Tom Romero – and the golden parachute that seems to be coming his way in the form of severance pay. 

$265,000 is the amount the state still owes Romero under his contract that runs until August 2015. Lottery officials say they don’t owe that whole amount, but they won’t say how much Romero will get. 

Republican State Rep. Bill Rehm of Albuquerque has tried to ban golden parachutes like this one for years. 

Romero ran the lottery for eight years. He is a former police officer with the state Department of Public Safety.


ABQ abortion goes to vote today

Today voters in the city of Albuquerque will decide whether or not to ban late term abortions. 

It’s the first municipal election in the nation on abortion rights, and it's getting plenty of attention all over the country. National leaders on both sides of the issue have their eyes on Albuquerque, because cities may be the next battleground after decades of debate in Congress and state legislatures. 

Voting starts at 7 a.m. today at 50 voting locations around the city. Registered Albuquerque city voters with a photo I.D. will be able to vote at any of those locations.


The Fracking Fight Goes Way Left

Commentary by Marita Noon - The fight against hydraulic fracturing has recently ratcheted up. On November 5, one town in Ohio and three in Colorado, passed ballot measures designed to ban or temporarily halt hydraulic fracturing—the brief (3-5 day) phase, often referred to as “fracking”—that is essential to the advanced oil-and-gas extraction processes that have given America the lead in global energy production. 
     A fourth Colorado town awaits a recount. Initial election results showed the moratorium in Broomfield, Co—failed by 13 votes. However, on November 13, after all the overseas, military, provisional and other outstanding ballots were counted, it had passed by 17 votes. A margin of less than 0.5 percent triggers an automatic recount—leaving the final outcome currently unknown. In Bowling Green and Youngstown, Ohio, the opposite happened. Similar proposed bans against fracking were defeated.
     Of the four votes in Colorado, Tisha Schuller, president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) calls the Boulder and Lafayette votes merely “symbolic,” and noted that “Lafayette's last new well permit was in the early 1990s and Boulder's last oil and gas well was plugged in 1999.”
     However, Fort Collins, CO, is near the promising production of the Niobrara shale. The Fort Collins city council passed a resolution encouraging voters to reject the proposed moratorium. And, in Broomfield, the city council, in August, entered into a memorandum of understanding that would allow energy company Sovereign to drill 21 wells—as long as stringent standards are met. In these cities, these five-year bans will bite. More


Deputy injured in shooting takes pay cut

Deputy Robin Hopkins
From KRQE-TV.com - By Kayla Ayres - A Bernalillo County Sheriff's Deputy seriously injured three weeks ago when a man went on a shooting rampage through Albuquerque is still facing a long recovery time while taking a major pay cut.
     Deputy Robin Hopkins was shot in the leg by Christopher Chase in October. "Some employees get hurt, they're out maybe a week or two, not really a big deal," Kyle Hartsock, president of the Bernalillo County Deputy Sheriff's Association, told News 13. "She's going to be out months, most likely years."
     Hartsock says Hopkins' case highlights a big lapse in the system. He says while her injury is covered by workman's compensation, nothing is being paid into her retirement account and she's taking about a 30 percent pay cut while she recovers.
     Another big blow: Hartsock says in a few more months, Hopkins' insurance premiums won't be covered anymore.  "Her husband and young son will lose their medical insurance  unless she pays about $1000 out of pocket per month to keep the insurance going," Hartsock said.
     Hartsock said the union and county, though, have found a loophole. Other county employees can donate vacation or sick time to Hopkins so she receives her full paycheck and benefits during her recovery.
     Their goal is to secure two years of donated time for Hopkins. Hartsock said they'll start pushing paperwork through next week, but several county employees have already expressed interest.
     The union, Sheriff Dan Houston, and other law enforcement leaders have been in contact with county and state legislators to try to change the system for those gravely injured in the line of duty. More


Swickard: Selling losses sells out the program

© 2013 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. Football is a New Mexico passion, like putting Hatch Green Chile on eggs. This is especially so for high school football. Last week’s meeting of two Las Cruces high schools was held in the New Mexico State football stadium because about 25,000 fans always come to that game.
     Then the next day New Mexico State held their own collegiate football game with a crowd of about 10,000 fans. I am a fan of both high school and college football. So I enjoyed the Las Cruces High Mayfield game and then the NMSU/Boston College football game the next day. There was one thing I did not enjoy.
     During a call-in show that followed the Aggie game a listener questioned NMSU selling losses, indicating this practice was not appropriate. Selling losses means taking on national powerhouses for cash which the powerhouses gladly pay to have a week off from their grueling schedule.
     Powerhouse teams pay for a patsy to come get beat up while they rest. The patsy takes the cash and calls it good. The caller was told NMSU selling losses would continue a few more years with NMSU perhaps selling three losses next year for financial reasons.
     I have always opposed the ethically bankrupt practice of selling losses by NMSU. This has been for at least thirty years. In that time I have written dozens of columns of protest. Each time the answer is that NMSU just needs to do it another year or two. But that has turned into three decades of no success for the program.
     But, selling losses every year for thirty years has imperiled Aggie football and not brought any success to the program. It is insane to continue doing what has not worked. Football programs are judged by three criteria: win/loss record, attendance and Bowl Games. Selling losses loses in all three categories.
     NMSU holds the record for how long it has been since going to a Bowl Game. Several of the years that NMSU was selling losses would have been Bowl Game years but for those sold losses. Also know that NMSU did not sell any losses the years they went to the Sun Bowl or they would not have been invited. Read full column

DNA test at property crime nabs thief

From KRQE-TV.com - By Emily Younger - Hobbs Police are not just swabbing for DNA at major crime scenes, but they are also gathering samples at all property crimes, too. "Fingerprints are a fragile piece of evidence and there is a lot of things that will make them not pliable for evidence like smudges, gloves, things of that nature. But you can't change someone's DNA," said Hobbs Police Detective Robert Blanchard.
     Hobbs police started testing for DNA at all property crimes like burglaries last December. Most recently, Hobbs police were able to use the DNA testing to nab a thief who allegedly stole thousands of dollars worth of electronics and jewelry from a home in 2012. Police say almost one year ago, Donny Garza, 39, broke into a Hobbs home and stole nearly $5,000 worth of belongings, but according to police, he made a big mistake. Investigators say sometime during the burglary, Garza drank two cans of soda and then left them inside the house.
     Police tested the cans for DNA, sent the swabs to the state lab and sure enough. Garza's DNA was a match. Hobbs police arrested Garza for aggravated burglary in late October.More

Police follow candy trail to find teen thieves

From KOAT-TV.com - SANTA FE, N.M. — By Alana Grimstad - Santa Fe Police investigators followed a candy trail from the crime scene straight to the suspect's front door.Officials said two teenagers broke a glass pane at E.J. Martinez Elementary School and stole a computer and other electronics. They also took two buckets of candy. Police said as the teens ran away, they must have dropped some of the candy.
     Investigators followed that candy trail, which led them through an alley and to one of the teen's homes.
     "It's a very serious crime and these boys can be facing very serious charges," said Celina Westervelt, Santa Fe Police.
     The teens admitted to the crime and their parents have been cooperating, police said. They were given arrest citations, which means they don't have to go to jail but are facing criminal charges. It will be up to a judge to decide whether they're tried as adults or juveniles.More

Where's the Concern for Private Worker Furloughs?

Commentary by Marita Noon - Following a rough week for Obamacare, the President, understandably, wants to pivot to anything other than the devastating coverage of HealthCare.gov.
     On Friday, November 8, Obama arrived in New Orleans to talk about improving the U.S. economy. There, he drew attention to the already forgotten government shutdown: “there’s no question that the shutdown harmed our jobs market. The unemployment rate still ticked up. And we don't yet know all the data for this final quarter of the year, but it could be down because of what happened in Washington.”
     Yes, 850,000 furloughed federal employees may have tipped the scales, but really they all got a free 16-day vacation. They were, ultimately, all paid.
     Obama wants to blame the 16-day federal employee paid vacation on the Republicans—and there may well be fault there. But what about the thousands of jobs that have been lost due to the polices of his administration—people in the private sector who have been out of work for more than 16 months?
     Because of what happens in Washington, thousands—if not millions—of private-sector employees have, effectively, been permanently furloughed and/or new jobs are not created as a result of the Obama Administration’s war on energy. More  Marita Noon is Executive Director of Energy Makes America Great -www.energymakesamericagreat.org 

Brawl ends Albuquerque football game

From KOAT-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Two Albuquerque high schools traded blows Friday night in a literal gridiron brawl. In the second quarter of Friday’s game between the Albuquerque High Bulldogs and the Rio Grande Ravens, the teams got heated and a fight ensured. The two struggling teams struggled to keep their emotions intact.
     The Bulldogs have lost 39 games in a row, while the Ravens are 1-9 this year. It’s unclear who started it, but it was enough for officials to call the game right then. KOAT Action 7 News spoke to the athletic directors for both high schools over the phone Saturday. They said they don’t want to say anything until they have a chance to review the game tape and read the official’s report for themselves. That could happen sometime next week.
     Parents said they want to see something done.
     A spokesman for the school district said it will wait until next week before it decides if any disciplinary action is necessary.
      Right now, the game is being counted as a forfeit for both teams. More

My dog Conrad, the NMSU Aggie football fan

Me and Conrad
© 2013 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. My dog Conrad, like me, is a New Mexico State University Aggie. Naturally over the years we have attended many NMSU Aggie football games. Best I can tell he has been satisfied going to the games as long as I get him a double order of wieners.
     Conrad fits right in around the NMSU campus because most people just treat him like a graduate student. Being an Aggie, he enjoys football. He does bark disgustedly at “Bonehead” plays and certainly displays same-species aggressiveness toward referees.
     Mostly he is happy with an outing. He has a tail-wagging good time to the beat of the Aggie Pride Band. He woofs the Aggie fight song with the best of them, “Aggies, oh Aggies, we’ll win this game or know the reason why.”
     Conrad knows why the Aggies do not win consistently in football. In fact, most Aggies know why. There is a big difference between knowing why our team does not win often and accepting it.
     You should have seen how worked up he got when earlier that week a newspaper columnist suggested the Aggies should shut down the program and concentrate on their Cow Chip Throwing Team. Conrad made a sound like he was coughing up a hair ball. Then he sulked for the rest of the day. He does not a bite, but that columnist would have gotten a piece of his mind if Conrad had email.
     So he was quite tail-wagging happy when the Aggies broke their losing streak at Homecoming. He even smiled at the cat a few times out of pure Aggie happiness.
     Conrad is looking forward to the game with Boston College this Saturday. He read up on their mascot, Baldwin, the Eagle. Conrad wondered why they did not alliterate a Bulldog from Boston. I told him Georgia already had the Bulldog. He shrugged and continued wagging the Aggie Fight Song.
     I was curious about what Conrad thought about the Football Team so I sat him down for an interview: “What about all of the people wanting NMSU to drop football?” I waited, but Conrad would not say anything.
     I guess if Conrad was Francis, the Talking Mule or Mr. Ed, I might have something to report, but Conrad is not talking. He is just going to the Aggie football games and enjoying himself.
     What a good idea for us all. Come enjoy the food, football and of course Striking, the Also Wonder Dog. Read full column.

Tweets place Superintendent in hot water

Winston Brooks
From KOAT-TV.com - by Royale Dá - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Following a chain of tweets published Tuesday, the governor said Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Winston Brooks should be ashamed of his social media behavior. Some have said the tweets posted by Brooks compare the Education Secretary Designate Hannah Skandera to farm animals.
     Wednesday, Brooks apologized and said that was not his intention. Skandera was answering questions at a town hall meeting in Moriarty Tuesday. Brooks reached out to a KOAT Action 7 News reporter on Twitter to inquire about what was going on. For example, he asked how many people were at the meeting.
     Eventually he penned, “Maybe Skandy should head for the livestock truck!!!” The following tweet read, “Moo, moo, oink, oink!!”
     “All he’s doing is showing young girls and boys that it’s OK to do things like that,” said Gov. Susana Martinez. “It’s not OK to behave that (way).” Martinez said Brooks should be ashamed of himself. The school board demanded that Brooks apologize.
     This is Brooks’ second Twitter scandal. He recently retweeted a photo of a protester with a sign depicting Skandera and the governor with bloodied fangs. Brooks has only had the account for about a month. “You don’t behave this way or treat women this way,” said Martinez. “(You don’t) talk about women this way and expect to be respected by young girls who are in the school district.”
     Brooks said he’s still learning about the “reach social media has. More

APS holding final meeting to discuss testing changes

From KOB-TV.com - bBy: Erica Zucco KOB Eyewitness News 4- The New Mexico Public Education Department recently enacted some testing changes for students and a new plan to evaluate teachers. But some of the changes are confusing and complicated, and some parents and teachers want the department to slow down.
     Some of the changes include students taking double the number of end of course tests as compared to last year and future changes to standards based testing. APS says PED has changed the requirements twice in October alone.
     For teachers, student growth will constitute 50 percent of their evaluation score. Evaluations will happen three times a year, and principals will be in charge of the work. Teacher and parent Jeff Tuttle says the biggest problem with all of this is that it eats up classroom time. "We want to teach children to think dynamically and be flexible in their thinking," Tuttle said. "Filling in bubbles is not realproblem solving."
     The Public Education Department says standards-based assessments and end of course exams take up only 1.2 percent of classroom time, but some teachers disagree. "We're getting ready to get ready to get ready to take the test and it draws the focus away from learning and it becomes an issue of testing," Tuttle said. More

Common Sense Mining Policy? Rare!

Commentary by Marita Noon - What is essential to modern energy production and management including oil-and-gas development, wind and solar, and LED lights—just to name a few—and has rare bipartisan support in both houses of Congress?
     The answer is something “rare.” Something that is currently used in almost everything modern, but that is abundant and recoverable in very few places on the planet—hence the “rare” moniker. Something that China has in abundance and that they are using as an economic weapon against the rest of the world—much like OPEC uses oil. And, this something is also found in the U.S., which could give us a competitive advantage in the global economy.
     Have you guessed it? “Rare” was a big clue. I am talking about Rare Earth Elements (REEs), many of which are recognized as Critical Minerals.
     REEs are found in almost all massive rock formations—though their concentrations range from 10 to a few hundred parts per million by weight, which makes them difficult to extract. There are 17 different REEs with names ending in “ium” such as: dysprosium, yttrium, neodymium, terbium, cerium, and europium—just to name a few.
     While most people don’t give REEs a thought, we all use them in our modern lives as they are a part of what makes cell phones, flat screens, and computer chips work. But REEs are not just about convenience and luxury. They are in every modern vehicle from a Prius to a Ford F-150. They enable miniaturization—making things fast and light. Read full column

Archbishop encourages Catholics to vote for proposed ABQ abortion ban

From KOB-TV.com - By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - Many Albuquerque Catholics got a letter from Santa Fe Archdiocese Archbishop Michael Sheehan Sunday morning, encouraging them to vote for Albuquerque’s proposed abortion ban.
     In the letter, the archbishop asked that they education friends about the ban. The proposal would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in Albuquerque. The archbishop’s letter says the ban will not only protect children, but will also raise awareness that late-term abortions are happening in New Mexico.
     At 5pm Sunday, the archbishop will hold a special Mass and day ofprayer here at the Shrine of Bernadette. He will encourage Catholics to do everything they can to get the ban to pass. All are welcome at the mass. More