Swickard: A funny thing happened in line

© 2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. Years ago one August I was standing in a line at New Mexico State University, the usual kind college students must stand in. No one was speaking; each person barricaded in their own world of misery, trying to not snarl at other people, but secretly wishing the other people would all have a heart attack so they could step over the fallen bodies and go to the head of the line.
       The air conditioner in the building had “gone south” so the temperature hovered many degrees above the human sweat point. Standing in line that afternoon had all of the charm and enjoyment of mucking out a goat shed on a hot humid summer afternoon.
       It was Friday; 4:45 p.m. Closing time was five p.m.
You would think that with the computer age, lines should be a thing of the past. But I guess no matter what happens to our world; we will still have two things: lines to stand in and cockroaches to step on.
       Then someone walked up, looked carefully at a piece of paper and stared worriedly at the sign in front of the line. He started to leave, wavered, almost spoke aloud. He looked at the paper again, uncertain where he should be, fearful of being in the wrong line. He seemed angry that what he wanted to know wasn't easy to find.
       At last, with an air of resignation, he stuck the paper in his pocket, sighed heavily and stepped into line; having decided it was the wrong line but he was going to have to wait until he got to the front of this line to find out which line he should be standing in. Further, he knew at 5 p.m. he would be in the correct line, but the person at the window would close the window before he got to the front.
       A trickle of sweat ran down the small of my back. I turned and said, matter-of-factly, “I wouldn't mind these lines if it wasn’t for all the waiting.”
The effect on the people in line was immediate, most smiled. I was sure it was the first smile seen in that line all day. It was an important smile because I also smiled and my need for an aspirin/antacid/valium was relieved. Like the air rushing out of a balloon, the tension in the line vanished and people started talking to each other. It was an important lesson. Read full column

Tesla: Investments are minor compared to revenue that could be lost

From KOB-TV.com - by Stuart Dyson - Tesla Motors confirms it: the electric car manufacturer is breaking ground and preparing a site for its huge new battery factory near Reno, Nevada. But New Mexico and 4 other states are still in the running for the "gigafactory" that will eventually employ 6,500 people.
     Tesla admits it has broken ground east of Reno for the $5 billion lithium ion battery plant that will power its next generation of electric cars, but the company says it will "continue to evaluate" sites in New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and California before making a final decision in the next few months.
     It's all about timing. Tesla needs the battery plant to be up and running for production of the $35,000 Model 3, which is intended to be the first mass market electric car. That price tag is about half the price of the current Tesla Model S.
      "Any duplicative investments are minor compared to the revenue that could be lost if the launch of the Model 3 were affected by any delays at our primary gigafactory site," the company said in its second quarter letter to shareholders.
      In the same letter issued Thursday Tesla announced a formal agreement with Panasonic to supply the production equipment for the battery plant. More

Deportations, arrivals halted at Artesia immigrant facility over chicken pox

From KOB-TV.com - By: Elizabeth Reed, KOB.com - he arrival and deportation of Central American immigrants in Artesia has been halted due to the spread of chicken pox at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, according to Congressman Steve Pearce.
      The congressman said Department of Homeland Security officials are currently treating and vaccinating immigrant women and children held at the facility. He says two people have been put in isolation.
      "As the FLETC facility reaches maximum capacity, I am increasingly concerned for the health and safety of the women and children at FLETC and for the local community," Pearce wrote in a statement. "Our office communicated to DHS officials outlining our concerns with impacting local citizens, posing risks to the local community and draining limited county medical resources."
      Pearce said federal officials will now reportedly use Eastern New Mexico Regional Medical Center in Roswell instead of Artesia General Hospital for patient care. The congressman says the decision could be an unexpected burden on local medical resources. More

Thieves smash storefront to swipe dirt bikes

From KOAT-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Thieves smashed through Bobby J's Yahama motorcycle shop overnight to steal three high-priced dirt bikes. Shop owner Stan Johnson said the burglars stole three dirt bikes worth about $8,000 each.
       Johnson believes the thieves used a truck to smash through the front of the store to break in.
       "The old way was they didn't tear up the building. This way, that really pisses me off about the building ... It's going to be a lot of work to fix that thing," Johnson said.
       This not the first time there has been a crime like this at Bobby J's.
       "Three years ago, we had them three years before that. At one time, we were having them every three months. I guess you just get immune to it," Johnson said. "It happens. You just shrug your shoulders and keep going."
       The store was significantly damaged during the burglary.
       "(The robbers) could of come, called me up, I could have come down open the door, walked in a grabbed a couple. It would have made me happier. You know, I wouldn't of had a building tore up," Johnson said. "It's not right. We work hard for our money, and we are fair with everybody. More

Marita Noon: 2007–a great year for growing bad legislation like the ethanol mandate

Commentary by Marita Noon - President Obama, and his administration, has enacted so many foolish and cost-increasing energy policies, it is easy to think that they are his purview alone. But in 2007, Republicans were just as guilty. Seeds were planted and a garden of bad legislation took root in a totally different energy environment. At the time, the growth seemed like something worthy of cultivation. However, what sprouted up more closely resembles a weed that needs to be yanked out.
      Last week, I wrote about Australia’s carbon tax that was pulled on July 17. Its seeds were also planted in 2007, though not germinated until 2011. Prime Minister Abbott promised to eradicate the unpopular plant—and after nearly a year of struggle, he did.
      2007 was also the year of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Around that time, more than half the states put in a mandate requiring increasing amounts of wind and solar power be incorporated into the energy mix the local utilities provided for their customers. It was expected that the RPS would become a much-admired garden with wind turbines blowing in the breeze and solar panels turning toward the sun like sunflowers.
      Instead, the RPS has been an expensive folly. Angering the ratepayers, electricity prices have gone up. Groups, like the American Bird Conservancy, have filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because it allows bald and golden eagles to be chopped up by wind turbines without punishment to the operators. Industrial solar installations are in trouble due to the massive land use and literally frying birds that fly through the reflected sunlight. The mandates have created false markets and bred crony corruption that has the beneficiaries squawking when legislatures threaten to pull plans that have grown like kudzu. Yet, many states have now introduced legislation to trim, or uproot, the plans that sounded so good back in 2007. Read full column

Push to lower penalties for marijuana possession in Albuquerque

From KOB-TV.com - By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness New 4 - There's a push in Albuquerque to lower the penalties for marijuana possession. There are even radio ads now looking to gain support to get that on the ballot. Left-leaning political group "Progress Now New Mexico" is also hitting the streets to get signatures.
     The group says their petitions to lower the penalties for carrying marijuana are getting a lot of traction. They say it isn’t about the weed as much as it is about jail overpopulation. “We've actually turned in 10,000 signatures to the city of Albuquerque clerk,” Marsha Garcia is leading the charge to make marijuana possession less of a crime in Albuquerque.
     Right now, carrying an ounce or less of pot can land you in a sticky situation. A first offense is a fine of up to $50 and potential for two weeks in jail, but the second offense is much tougher. The second offense is up to $500 and up to 90 days in jail.
     KOB’s Caleb James spoke to Albuquerque city counselor Klarissa Pena Sunday. She says if the group has the valid signatures needed, she'd consider voting to put the measure on a ballot, but she says decriminalization laws in other states have sometimes been challenged, so the council will have to be critical of the language to make sure it is constitutional. More

Swickard: My story of being innocent while presumed guilty

© 2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. Several weeks ago I protested the way the media fosters the presumption of guilt for people arrested. There was lots of pushback from people who know that whoever the police arrest are guilty regardless of our constitution. I did not explain that this is personal. I have not been arrested but there was once that I came close.
      At the time I was teaching at Albuquerque High School and it was Christmas. One evening I went to the recreation room at my apartment complex and played Christmas songs for two hours. In the audience was a Bernalillo County Deputy Sheriff who was black. That had nothing to do with singing but later was important.
      This deputy sheriff was more than an acquaintance but less than a friend. The security guard that night looked in on us singing Christmas songs and then continued his rounds.
      About 9 p.m. we broke up. As I was walking out of the recreation room a woman asked for a dime for the pay phone. I handed her the dime. She looked disheveled as if things were not right.
      I went to my apartment, put my guitar away and grabbed my writing pad. At that time in my life I usually walked a mile to a Vips Big Boy Restaurant for coffee and writing. It was my preferred place to write.
      About half of the way there, on a ditch bank shortcut I was contentedly walking when two Albuquerque Police Department motorcycles came roaring up to me. I stood transfixed as they ran up to me and pointed their weapons at me. My quiet walk turned chaotic.
      They radioed, “We have him.” That did not sound good. I produced my driver’s license. They had not handcuffed me but I could tell that was next. I asked, “What is this all about?”
      One officer said, “An hour ago you raped a woman.”
      “Did not!” I said forcefully. “I was playing music the last two hours at my apartment recreation room. Do either of you know Gene, the black deputy sheriff? He was there and will vouch for me.”
       One of them did know Gene so it stalled them a bit. They were going to handcuff me and have a patrol car take me downtown. But I caused enough doubt. They radioed for a description again as we walked back to the apartments.
      The radio broadcast, “Six foot, 25 years old, white, close cut hair and he has braces on his teeth.”
Yep, that was me. They were just about to wait for the patrol car when the security guard walked out to meet us. He immediately said, “You’ve got the wrong guy. He was playing Christmas songs the last two hours. A deputy sheriff was in the audience.”
       One policeman asked the dispatcher to contact the hospital and check the description. In a short while it came back: “Five seven Hispanic dark hair and eyes.”
      Then I remembered giving the woman the dime. This poor woman had been assaulted and when asked for a description gave mine since I was the last person in her mind. At that point Gene, the Deputy Sheriff, came out and confirmed my story. So the policemen apologized and left.
      Consider if I had not been playing guitar for thirty people and as was my habit I decided to walk to the restaurant. Leaving the apartment complex a woman asks for a dime. I would have been arrested for rape.
      While I probably would have been cleared at some point, I would have been immediately fired from my job at the high school. It would have been blazed on the front page, Teacher Arrested For Rape. People would be quoted as saying, “It just goes to show you never know what evil lurks in someone’s heart.”
      At some point I would be cleared of the rape but presumed guilty by most people regardless. I have never told that story before, but for the grace of God I would have had my life ruined.
      Let us be careful to give the presumption of innocence in our media for those arrested. Americans are to be presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law.

Lawmakers want to sweeten deal for film and TV production

From KOB-TV.com - By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - Some state lawmakers want to sweeten the deal for film and TV production in New Mexico – and they’re using a new economic impact study to make their case.
     The study, done for the state by the Canadian accounting company MNP, covered the period from 2010 into 2014. It found that the industry used a state incentive fund to create nearly 16,000 jobs and generate an impact of about $1.5 billion on the state’s economy. Here’s how it works: for every dollar that a production company spends shooting a movie here, they get 25 cents back. 
     For a TV series, it’s 30 cents on the dollar. The annual limit on the whole deal is $50 million. Now a growing number of lawmakers want to get rid of that limit altogether, at least for TV production. “TV is what brings us the good sustainable long term jobs that our economy really needs,” said Rep. Brian Egolf, a Santa Fe Democrat. “Think about Breaking Bad and Longmire, Manhattan – all the series – those folks come to work every year.”
      When Gov. Susana Martinez first took office in 2011, she wanted to cut back on the incentive program, but eventually supported an increase on TV production, as long as that $50 million cap remained in place. Now her Economic Development Department says no change in policy is under consideration, but many lawmakers are thinking the way Egolf does about this deal.
       There are opponents and critics, who argue that each dollar spent generates only 43 cents in direct tax revenue – a bad deal for taxpayers. One thing is for sure – we’ll be hearing plenty of debate about this when lawmakers convene for a 60 day session in January. You can bet the ranch on that. More


Swickard: The very best fatalities

© 2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. He was six years old with an innocent angelic face. As I was talking to his mother I noticed him looking at a sales catalog so I asked, “Did you see something you want for your birthday?”
      “Yes,” he pointed, “I want this video game.”
From the lurid description in the sales catalog, the game seemed to be extremely violent so I asked, “Why this game?” He smiled broadly, “It’s got the very best fatalities.”
      “Excuse me?” I said. Hmm, I must have heard wrong. “This game has the very best fatalities,” he repeated. His mother wasn’t paying attention as I asked, “What does the word ‘fatalities’ mean?” He looked up and said, “That’s when people die.”
      I was still puzzled, “What does ‘the very best fatalities’ mean?” He broke into a grin. “That’s when the blood spurts out and their bones show and the skin burns off while they die.”
      He went back to the catalog. I motioned to his mother who gave me the look, “Boys will be boys.” I asked her if she thought it was good that a six-year-old wants a game featuring death. She told me most young kids feel exactly the same which is why there are so many violent games on the market.
      Certainly when I was a kid we played cops and robbers with simulated gun violence and there was a certain satisfaction with the death scene when we were gotten. In my circles you did not just plop over, there were a few moments of acting.
      Still, there has been much concern about violence in our society. Some people postulate that the escalating violence is caused by a lack of communication. I believe the reason we have so much violence in America is that many Americans like violence.
      Somewhat simplistically the answer is they like to watch it and like to do it. As children they learned to like violence. The enjoyment of violence, for itself, is a product of the American entertainment industry.
      Violence in America is promulgated by those people who find violence enjoyable. Much of the violence in America happens because the perpetrator simply felt like hurting someone. Guns and knives are not the cause; rather, the source of violence is the sickness of enjoyed violence within our society.
      There are gentle people and violent people here in America. It is hard to spot any difference in their appearance. The lambs and lions look alike. They lay down together but only one gets up. The difference is lions enjoy violence while the lambs do not.Read full column

Stress just as contagious as cold, study says

From KOAT-TV.com - Stress can be just as contagious as a cold. artie Rafferty is a clinical social worker. She said stress is toxic and you can catch it just like a cold. "People tend to get irritable, impatient, or just can't focus, can't concentrate and that effects work and every phase of their life," Rafferty said.
     According to a new study by the St. Louis University psychology department, the tone of a voice, mannerisms or touch can spread stress. "If everybody is stressed, then everybody suffers," Rafferty said.
     Researchers said stress increases the risk for heart problems and depression. Studies show you're four times more likely to catch stress from someone you know. "We are aware of our surroundings and we respond to that. The tension is almost palpable sometimes," Rafferty said.
      Rafferty said the solution to stress is easy, but plenty don't bother. "I'm almost willing to bet, that almost everybody knows what to do to reduce stress," she said. "You're not being selfish when you say, yeah, I am going to have a lunch break or I am going to go home on time. You're not being selfish, you're being mindful."
     Something else that can help is spirituality, however your define it. Practice it in your own way. "Listening to some music you like, going for a walk with the dog, just looking at some good scenery, looking at the mountains and just feeling that sense of peace and connectedness," Rafferty said. More

Marita Noon: Australia shoots down climate lobby’s scare mongering

Commentary by Marita Noon - Thursday, July 17 was a big news day. The world was shocked to learn that a Russian-made missile shot down a Malaysian Airlines jet with 298 on board as it flew over Ukraine en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam. Though flight 17 eclipsed the news cycle, there was another thing shot down on July 17.
      Almost a year ago, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott won a landslide election with a nearly single-issue campaign: repeal the carbon tax. On July 17, he made good on that promise, as the Australian Senate voted, 39 to 32, to abolish the “world’s biggest carbon tax”—a tax that was reported to “do nothing to address global warming, apart from imposing high costs on the local economy.”
           Australia was one of the first major countries, outside of the European Union, to adopt a carbon price—first suggested in 2007 and passed under Labour Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2011. Gillard’s campaign promise was: “There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.” While she attempted to brand it a carbon price, not a “tax,” Sinclair Davidson, a professor in the school of Economics, Finance and Marketing at RMIT University, said: “the electorate had a very specific understanding of her words” and perceived it as a broken promise.
     Australia’s carbon tax, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), was “recognized by the International Energy Agency as model legislation for developed countries.” WSJ reports that when Australia’s carbon tax was passed, the Brookings Institute “described Australia as an ‘Important laboratory and learning opportunity.’”  Read full column

Authorities search for suspected arsonist

From KOAT-TV.com - ROSWELL, N.M. —Authorities are looking for the person or persons who set more than 20 vehicles in Roswell on fire. The latest incident happened Thursday morning when a PT cruiser was set on fire on South Kansas Street.
     Roswell Fire Marshal Brian Powell said the incidents began in November of last year, and he believes a serial arsonist may be behind them due to some similarities in the cases. Powell said most of the incidents appear to happen in the middle of the night and south of Second Street. Powell said no one has been hurt in any of the cases of suspected arson.
     “Usually we are there pretty quick and can get it out in a timely manner. But usually by the time we respond to these incidents the vehicles are burned pretty extensively,” said Powell.
     Powell estimates the damage to total more than $50,000. There is a $1,000 reward on the Chavez County Crime stoppers website for any information leading to an arrest. More

Swickard: When big government is never big enough

© 2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. - Government was small when our country was founded. In fact, it was between small and non-existent for most American citizens. Contrast that with our government today where for some Americans government is never big enough. It always needs to get bigger year by year.
      Much of the reach of our government today, that Americans take for granted, would be as foreign to our founding leaders as going to the Moon and returning safely. If our founding leaders were not already dead, a look today at our bloated government would kill them.
      In essence bigger government was the central fight when our current constitution was constructed. Some delegates to the Constitutional Convention wanted as little government as possible. However, the Articles of Confederation which was what they were trying to amend was clearly not enough federal government. Our founding leaders knew this.
      Some delegates saw things only a larger government could do. Of those Benjamin Franklin and George Washington especially saw the need of a stronger federal government for the defense of our country. There was the need for balance in our government and the new constitution had a balance of power which was designed to hold the power of government down.
      So our country was founded with a small federal government which inspired small state governments. But an interesting thing happened over the years. Our federal and state governments got bigger. New tasks were given to government and government reached further into the lives of Americans.
      Every year of our nation’s existence our government was said by some citizens to not be doing enough and was said by other citizens as getting too big. Citizens argued year by year about we must reign in big government or government must do even more.
      At some point it became part of the national dialog to vote money out of the pockets of other citizens and into our own pockets. The way to do that was with big government providing the muscle for such theft. Read full column

Former Gov. Toney Anaya charged in fraud scheme

From KOAT-TV.com - By Devon Armijo - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —The SEC announced Wednesday that former New Mexico Gov. Toney Anaya faced charges in connection to a fraud scheme.
     The charges allege that Anaya, along with three others, hid the fact that two lawbreakers ran their company Natural Blue Resources Inc. The company aimed to invest in environmentally friendly companies.
     The two people in question are James Cohen and Joseph Corazzi. Cohen was previously incarcerated for financial fraud, and Corazzi was charged with violating federal securities laws.
      Anaya and executive Erik Perry agreed to the settle the charges with the SEC. The SEC said Anaya cooperated extensively with the investigation.
      Anaya signed a cease-and-desist order, which means he doesn't admit or deny the charges. He's barred from participating in any offering of a penny stock for five years. He may also face additional financial penalties.
     Anaya served as New Mexico's governor from 1983 to 1987. More

Lightning Safety: Separating fact from fiction

From KOB-TV.com - By: Nikki Ibarra, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - With New Mexico having one of the highest rates of lightning deaths in the country, it's important to understand how to stay safe. But the thing is, some commonly held beliefs about safety could be dangerous.
      Say you're outside and there are no clouds overhead but lightning is off in the distance. Are you safe? The truth is, you're not. The National Weather Service points out that lightning often strikes three miles from the center of a thunderstorm. In fact, it can hit you from 10 to 15 miles away.
      The weather service said you're only safe if you avoid anything that can conduct electricity. That includes everything from appliances, to computers, plumbing and metal doors.
      Some people have been taught to squat down into a ball or lay flat on the ground if they get caught in lightning. The idea is they reduce their chances of getting struck. But that still puts you at risk of being hit by a potentially deadly ground current. Instead, just keep moving toward shelter.
      Say you're out playing baseball – is a dugout a good spot? It's not because it's open to the outside. Other unsafe shelter includes car ports, sheds and any tents of any kinds. You should head indoors at the first sound of thunder. But you may still not be 100 percent safe from lightning in your home. More


You cannot rewrite laws to achieve your political agenda

Commentary by Marita Noon - Now that the dust has settled on the Supreme Court’s 2014 session, we can look at the decisions and conclude that the Administration received a serious smack down. Two big cases got most of the news coverage: Hobby Lobby and the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) recess appointments.
      In both cases, the Administration lost. At the core of both, is the issue of the Administration’s overreach. Within the cases the Supreme Court heard, one had to do with energy—and it, too, offered a rebuke.
      You likely haven’t heard about Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—and may think you don’t care. But with the session over, UARG v. EPA makes clear the Court’s trend to trim overreach.
      The UARG v. EPA decision came down on June 23. None of the major news networks covered it.Reviews of the 2014 cases, since the end of the session, haven’t mentioned it either. The decision was mixed—with both sides claiming victory. Looking closely, there is cause for optimism from all who question the president’s authority to rewrite laws.
      A portion of the UARG v. EPA case was about the EPA’s “Tailoring Rule” in which it “tailored” a statutory provision in the Clean Air Act—designed to regulate traditional pollutants such as particulate matter—to make it work for CO2. In effect, the EPA wanted to rewrite the law to achieve its goals.
     The decision, written by Justice Antonin Scalia for the majority, stated: “Were we to recognize the authority claimed by EPA in the Tailoring Rule, we would deal a severe blow to the Constitution’s separation of powers… The power of executing laws…does not include a power to revise clear statutory terms that turn out not to work in practice.”
      Had the EPA gotten everything it wanted, it could have regulated hundreds of thousands of new sources of CO2—in addition to the already-regulated major industrial sources of pollutants. These new sources would include office buildings and stores that do not emit other pollutants—but that do, for example, through the use of natural gas for heating, emit 250 tons, or more of CO2 a year. Read full column


Homeland Security Secretary visits the FLETC facility

From KOB-TV.com - By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - Friday Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson visited Artesia. He and other ICE officials visited the FLETC facility where immigrants are being housed.
       400 Central American women and children are now living at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia. And just about everyone in Artesia has an opinion about it. "I can say I don't want them here," said Shelley Choate.
       “Well, I feel like they’re already broke the law why should we have to pay to set them up too," said Valeria Kathryn Perry. The small New Mexico town has become a part of a humanitarian crisis.
      Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson visited the Artesia facility Friday with a strong message. "The message has to be that our border is not open to illegal migration and we are sending people back," said Johnson. The immigrants will only stay for 10-15 days until they’re deported back to their home country. More

Our American way today of being Americans

© 2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. Talk show host Dennis Prager was asked to name the biggest threat to our country a few years ago, “We have not passed on (to the next generation) what it means to be an American.” 
      He is correct, but it is much worse than that. Many Americans today only think of themselves and their needs. And our politicians feed this insanity to the point our country may not recover.
     America was not founded on what you get. It was founded on an ideal of having a chance to get what you want by earning it. There was never a thought back in 1776 that as soon as America was rid of England then the treasury would be thrust open for everyone to have all the money they want.
     The American treasury then, much like today, was firmly in the red. We are lucky foreign governments still take our non-backed paper because we are no longer a rich nation. We have not been food independent since 1992, have not been energy independent even longer and we no longer have military dominance.
     We are acting rich as a country but the time of consequences is near. Today, with heads firmly in the sand, despite our treasury being empty, free is the political way of life. Even the media dares not tell Americans that the bank is empty and even Fort Knox has no gold. Yes, some Americans know but no one is listening.
     Americans put themselves before country and feel no obligations. President John Kennedy in his 1961 inaugural speech implored, And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
     He would be voted out of office today. Many Americans wait patiently and not so patiently for a government check from our treasury.Read full commentary


United Airlines shifting jobs to EP to cut costs

From The El Paso TimesUnited Airlines is outsourcing more than 600 jobs at 12 airports around the country, including at El Paso International Airport, to cut costs while adding jobs at other airports.
      The airline said Monday that it notified employees of the decision, which had been expected since May. They include ticket and gate agents and baggage handlers at airports served mostly by smaller United Express flights.
     The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said that it negotiated seniority protection for many of the workers if they relocate, and that job losses will be limited. United will hire other companies to handle the work at airports in Albuquerque, New Mexico and other airports. More


Barela says New Mexico still in running for Tesla

From KOAT-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela says New Mexico is still in the running for a Tesla Motors battery plant.
     Barela told lawmakers during a hearing Wednesday that Gov. Susana Martinez's administration is working very aggressively to try to lure the plant to New Mexico.
     He says those efforts are being kept quiet at Tesla's request, but he assured the legislature's Economic and Rural Development Committee that "we are still very much in the game."
     New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Nevada and California are competing for Tesla Motors' planned battery plant, which will represent a $5 billion investment from the California-based car company and its partners. More

NM VA waiting list has shortened significantly

From KOB-TV.com - By: Nikki Ibarra, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - The number of New Mexico veterans who are still waiting to get a doctor’s appointment has gone down dramatically. Last month an audit revealed more than 1,000 veterans in our state were on a waiting list. Now that number is 482.
      The Veteran's Affairs Department audit found more than 1,040 New Mexico veterans still waiting more than 90 days to get their very first appointment at the VA hospital in Albuquerque back in June. One month later, the latest audit shows that more than half of those patients have now gotten that appointment. 482 are still waiting.
      A spokesperson for the New Mexico VA health care system says that big drop is due to the new nationwide "accelerating care initiative".
     This all stems from an investigation that started in May that looked at VA hospitals, including the one here in Albuquerque. On claims the hospitals kept a secret waiting list and lied about wait times for veterans who need care.
     The initiative's goal, helping those on the wait list, making them appointments, and making sure it's done in a timely manner. While this may show progress for the VA, there are still veterans waiting for that first appointment. More

Marita Noon: More taxpayer dollars for green energy?

Commentary by Marita Noon - There is an intentional tension in Washington. Our founding fathers planned that opposing views would balance each other out—a push-pull takes place. Spend. Don’t spend.
      This tug-of-war is seen, perhaps most obviously, in the so-called renewable energy field. After Solyndra, and the more than fiftyother stimulus-funded green energy projects that have failed or are circling the drain, the public has grown weary, and wary, of any more spending on green energy. The money isn’t there to spend and the motive behind the 2009 rush to push billions of taxpayer dollars out through the Department of Energy has been tainted by corruption and illegal activity.
The green-energy emphasis was sold as a job creator for unemployed Americans, as a cure for global warming, and a way to slow a perceived energy shortage. It sounded so positive in the many speeches President Obama gave as a sales pitch to the American public.
      Today, Americans know better. They knew about Solyndra—which took millions and then folded. Thanks, in large part to myexposé, many now know about Abengoa and the Solana solar project—which took billions of tax-payer dollars and is now functioning and producing electricity but does so by breaking immigration and labor laws, giving foreigners hiring preference, and stiffing American suppliers.
      Watching multiple predictions fail and proponents get rich, Americans instinctively know that the whole global warming agenda doesn’t add up—as evidenced by this week’s International Conference on Climate Change where more than 600 “skeptics” from around the world gather to discuss real science and policy. Read full column

Lawsuits seek to stop work at mines in 3 states

From KRQE-TV.com - BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – Coal industry representatives say lawsuits against mines in three Western states could have consequences across the U.S. as environmentalists seek changes in how mining is approved on federally owned reserves.
     In civil cases unfolding in Colorado, New Mexico and Montana, the group WildEarth Guardians asserts coal companies benefited from lax oversight by federal regulators.
     The group says the U.S. Department of Interior approved mining plans without enough public involvement, and gave little heed to the pollution caused by digging, shipping and burning coal. The group asked the courts to stop mining until the plans are re-done.
      The cases involve the San Juan coal mine in New Mexico, the Colowyo and Trapper mines in Colorado, and the Spring Creek mine in Montana. Combined, they employed about 1,200 workers and produced 27 million tons of coal last year, according to federal records.
     Attorneys for the federal government denied the environmentalists’ claims and have asked the courts to dismiss the cases. New Mexico-based WildEarth Guardians has a lengthy record of litigation against the coal industry. Just in the past five years its attorneys have filed dozens of lawsuits and legal petitions against agencies that regulate mining on federal lands.
      “If WildEarth’s request for relief is granted … the result would be devastating economic harm to coal miners, operators and the entire industry that services coal production,” mining association attorney Stephen Bell wrote in a recent court brief. More

Swickard: Once arrested never innocent in the media

© 2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.
The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses. Malcolm X
     Several times a week there is something in the media that makes me queasy. Someone will have been arrested so the media gives all the details of the crime in such a way that for most people there is no other conclusion than the person is guilty. Every detail is on the front page for all to see, even those details that the police plant in the press to move the case forward.
      The presumption of innocence is one of the founding principles of our country. But over the years citizens have lost that presumption. In the Old West often the low-down dirty varmint was hung and then given a trial. Example: at Boot Hill in Tombstone, Arizona is this marker: 
Here lies George Johnson hanged by mistake 1882
He was right, we was wrong,
But we strung him up, and now he's gone.
      Several times a month I protest the way the media frames the story such that guilt can be the only conclusion. I protest to the media that they only carried the prosecution’s message. They are usually huffy about any criticism since everyone knows that when someone is arrested they are guilty.
      They answer the defendant will get his or her day in court. But that is not the issue. The jury pool is contaminated by the media framing the story from the prosecution’s point of view. The media often is intimidated by the police and if they do not play ball, so to speak, they are frozen out of the information loop.
      Further, as some of us remember there have been several seemingly iron-clad cases against citizens that subsequently turned out to be incorrect. What is remembered is that the person was handcuffed and perp-walked into the jail on nighttime television. It is rarely remembered that the person was really innocent. Read full column


News New Mexico live Wednesday, Michael better

Thanks for all of the concerns and messages of support from my time Monday in the Emergency Room at Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces. They were great and got me going so I have made it back to a reasonable place and will be in the broadcast chair Wednesday with Bob Endlich co-host, Dr. Jim Murphy, New Mexico State University Department of Astronomy and Rob Nikolewski, New Mexico WatchDog.org.

Best of Show Tuesday - Michael under the weather

So sorry - News New Mexico Statewide host Michael Swickard became ill Monday afternoon but was not kept overnight at the hospital.
     He is home and says he will be in studio Wednesday, full of stories about going to the Emergency Room at Memorial Medical Center. He says they did very well, but there were quite a few stories to pick up. See you Wednesday.