Swickard: Putting the ouch into texting

© 2013 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. If you want a good laugh go to any college campus to watch some of the best and brightest students in the world trying to text and walk. The resultant signpost smack-downs are amazing. What is the communication value of their texting since these students make the same mistake day after day texting themselves into sign poles and off curbs?
       It makes me wonder when texting students wander out into traffic. Must be a Darwin moment when traffic has to frantically avoid them. Disaster strikes when a driver is texting and not watching the texting students. Both are knuckleheads. They cannot stop texting for even a few minutes.
      Some think we need more laws to keep people from being knuckleheads. Not me since a person intent upon being a knucklehead will be a knucklehead regardless of laws. We have plenty of data over the years of people who insisted on being foolish despite good advice.
       For the record I try to help text victims who accidentally embrace sign poles. My sympathy is given when all of a sudden they realize their device is broken so they will have to look life in the eyes all day long.
       A generation or two ago it was not texting that caused these accidents, it was loud music. By loud I mean volume that parts your hair when you get into the car. My generation sang along at the top of our lungs without anyone ever hearing us.
       Many in my generation drove right through red lights and into the path of emergency vehicles via the mind-numbing effects of loud music. One friend years ago said he did not hear the collision but realized that there had to have been one since when the music stopped he realized he was upside-down on the highway. Read full column

Ex-cop wants job back after acquittal

Former APD Officer Connor Rice
From KRQE-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A jury has found former Albuquerque Police Department Officer Connor Rice not guilty on two counts of abusing suspects during a drug investigation. Rice had been on trial since Monday accused of using excessive force when he and other officers chased men believed to have been smoking marijuana at a city park in May 2012. The jury found him not guilty of battery and aggravated battery.
     The jury got the case Wednesday afternoon and deliberated about 45 minutes before breaking for the night. Deliberations resumed Thursday morning, and the verdict was reached at about 11:30 a.m.
     Rice said he doesn't know what the future holds, but he has appealed his termination as an APD officer. “I loved my job,” Rice said. “I can tell you that. I'm deeply grateful for the relationships I formed on that job, and I will always be grateful for those relationships". Rice said he had been with APD for seven years. More

Advocates hold vigils outside Pearce's office

Advocates have launched a series of vigils outside of Congressman Steve Pearce's Las Cruces office to push for federal immigration reform. 

The group Border Network for Human Rights says it will the hold daily morning vigils until Friday. 

The move comes as immigrant advocates press the lone Republican in the state's Congressional delegation to support a federal proposal that would grant immigrants in the country illegally a pathway to citizenship.

 Pearce has said he didn't support that measure. Pearce represents New Mexico's border with Mexico and is viewed by the GOP as a key figure is helping attract Latino voters to the Republican Party.


Legislative auditors criticize child care providers

Legislative auditors are criticizing state oversight of taxpayer-subsidized child care providers, saying a government agency failed to detect sex offenders possibly living at child care locations. 
Auditors outlined their findings Wednesday to the Legislative Finance Committee. The audit report said the Children, Youth and Families Department suspended three child care homes after auditors told the agency that registered sex offenders listed the homes as their primary address. 
The audit report said New Mexico needs to better coordinate early childhood programs, such as subsidized child care for low-income families, with the state's more academically rigorous pre-kindergarten programs. Auditors said basic child care fails to improve the later school performance and literacy of students.


Human Services Sec. under fire for hunger comments

Sidonie Squier
Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez is calling for the resignation of Human Services Department Secretary Sidonie Squier.  
This follows a report of an email written by Secretary Squier on September 17, 2013 stating, “…[T]here has never been and is not now any significant evidence of hunger in New Mexico….” Secretary Squier’s email was written in response to receiving a “Draft Hunger Task Force Report”.  
Her email in its entirety states, “Nicely written and organized document.  Since there has never been and is not now any significant evidence of hunger in New Mexico, I would offer that the focus of the report should be on getting proper nutrition for children (and adults).   
Governor Martinez and Secretary Squier have characterized her written words as “poorly worded."