Another step toward a loan for water plant

From the Alamogordo Daily News - By John Bear, Staff Writer - he Alamogordo City Commission on Tuesday took the first step toward obtaining $1.1 million in state-distributed federal loan money for designing a desalination plant and related infrastructure. City Utilities Director Brian Cesar said Tuesday that money not expended on the design of the mobile desalination plant can be rolled over into another loan the city can use for actual construction.
     The city has plans to build a mobile desalination plant at a city water treatment facility and pump brackish ground water in from well fields north of Tularosa. Brackish water has a salt content that makes it unsuitable to drink but has a lower salinity than sea water. The federal government granted the city permission last year to build several wells and pipeline to transport water which will be purified for municipal use. More

New blaze growing quickly in northern N.M.

From - By: Avicra Luckey, Staff - A new fire in the northern part of the state sparked up Thursday afternoon. The Whites Peak fire is currently burning about 10 miles northeast of Ocate, N.M. The blaze started after a lightning strike. It has grown to more than 200 acres. No structures are threatened at this time. More

Swickard: Reasoning with an unreasonable government

© 2013 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. Be reasonable. That is a common desire in our society. We wish to be surrounded by reasonable people and to have a reasonable government to protect us from unreasonable people. The problem is when the government itself becomes that which we cannot stand: when the government becomes unreasonable. Then we citizens have a problem.
     From the moment of our founding, this country has been haunted by the specter of totalitarian rule. The Constitution was carefully crafted to protect American Citizens from the urges of power-hungry leaders. Over the decades, little by little, power-hungry leaders have dismantled those protections. Most of these actions came with the promise of some reward for citizens foregoing their protections from governments taking their freedoms.
     It started when the government started doing things for people who wanted things they did not have. There is an impulse to get something from the government to which we do not own. Part of this involves protecting us from the human emotion of want.
     Most of the time the trade of our freedoms to satisfy some of our wants is above-board so that anyone who wishes to know can know the trade that has been made. The government steps in to give us our wants if we give the government their want of power. The accumulation of power requires us to surrender our freedoms. We know where people want to start in having the government do things. The quest is to know when they, whoever they are, have gone too far.
     And the loss of our freedoms is still not enough for our government. The end-game is most certainly a total dictatorship. The loss of freedom is never all at once, it is always incremental. It is always “reasonable” until it becomes unreasonable.
     Having an all-powerful government watching the communications of every citizen without any presumption of doing something wrong is the road to ruin for our society. Do we have any servants left or are we the servants to the government? Time will tell. Read full column


State medical marijuana board head leaves office

The state medical marijuana advisory board's chairman is leaving office after not being reappointed by Gov. Susana Martinez's administration. 
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Dr. Steve Jenison was instrumental in establishing New Mexico's medical marijuana program. Health Secretary Retta Ward told Jenison in a letter that he will no longer be part of the board. 
Health Department spokesman Kenny Vigil declined to elaborate on why Jension isn't being reappointed. Jenison says the decision may be stem from his efforts to ensure compliance with rules and to press for timely decisions on requests to add medical conditions allowing medical marijuana use.


Udall leads way for NSA investigations

Tom Udall 
U.S Senator Tom Udall is leading a bipartisan call for an independent investigation into the National Security Agency’s (NSA) phone records and data collection programs by a key privacy and civil liberties panel originally recommended by the 9/11 Commission and strengthened through Udall’s efforts. 

Udall sent a bipartisan letter to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, asking it to “make it an urgent priority to investigate the programs mentioned above and determine whether they (1) are conducted within the statutory authority granted by Congress, and (2) take the necessary precautions to protect the privacy and civil liberties of American citizens under the Constitution.”  

The letter is also signed by 12 other Senators