Thursday, June 28, 2012

Obamacare Stands

Obamacare Ruling

Today the U.S. Supreme Court decision was to uphold the healthcare reform act dubbed “Obamacare.” U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was the only conservative on the court to vote in favor of the case. The ruling was yet another example of a 5/4 decision handed down by the court.

Chief Justice Roberts has seen his court split on all of the important decisions (i.e. Citizen’s United) made as of late. The divide has been down party lines with conservative associate justices expressing extreme views to the press that could embarrass the court and call into question their decision making process. Voting to uphold the healthcare bill was a bold move to show the American people that Chief Justice Roberts could side with the liberals justices on his court when the facts called for such a judgment.

Laws, which are so publicly controversial, have in the past been decided with a majority vote. Laws which are decided on a 5/4 vote are often more subject to review by future courts. Chief Justice Roberts is a young man with many years left to him as Chief Justice. He would be wise to attempt to work with both sides of the court to ensure that decision have a higher majority of justices voting either for or against high profile cases.

Next year will bring many more high profile cases that will involve strong public emotions. The question remains can Chief Justice Roberts draw down the public discord promoted by his more conservative associate justices. Will he be able to convince those conservative associate justices to base their decisions on the facts of the cases and the U.S. Constitution rather than their own radical political views?

Some groups are already suggesting radical restrains on the conservative justices such as a code of conduct, impeachment proceedings, or even packing of the court to limit their influence on future decisions.

On the political side of this decision

President Obama is having a very good day today. He can now devote more of his time toward issues such as job creation and immigration over the remaining time before the election.

Mitt Romney on the other hand will be devoting his time attacking the healthcare act in order to divert voters for the fact that he was a leader in shipping jobs overseas while he was running a major business. Romney was also more than happy to attack immigrates without providing a roadmap on how he would fix the current system. Unless you count of course, the idea of shooting immigrates as they cross the border.

Monday, June 25, 2012

U.S. Supreme Court on a 5/4 split again says Corporations Have All the Rights of a Human

The U.S. Supreme Court's conservatives have made it clear that the only way to stop corporations out of control spending on political issues as a result of the Citizen’s United decision is to change the constitution. Today they again rejected any limits on spending when it comes to corporations citing freedom of speech.

Somehow, I do not get the argument that our founding fathers were thinking about corporations as people with all the rights of a human being when they wrote the constitution. The founding fathers could not have been thinking that mega corporations would use their deep pockets to control the mass media with slick professional advertisements. I think the founding fathers would have been completely opposed to third party organizations who receive funding from secret donors. The idea that individuals from outside our own country using large sums of money would be able to influence our government is appalling to any American Voter.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative group is trying to force congress and the president to open the U.S. Constitution to an amendment to change the law and limit what rights would be allowed to corporations. This move would allow conservative groups to add other amendments to ban gay marriage, limit women’s right over their own body and limit the commerce clause.

The president does have one other option, which is to add more justices to the court in order to change the current balance. This option was used as a threat at one point in our history to reign in the court's out of control behavior.

Chief Justice Roberts should think carefully about the split in the court’s decision as of the past few years. His inability to being about broader consensuses among the court’s justices on their decisions speaks to his inability of successfully running the U.S. Supreme Court. The court’s justices should be basing their decisions purely on the facts and not on any single political affiliation. With such a clear line forming on high profile cases, it is obvious that the conservative group of justices are using the court to push their own political agenda to the growing dismay of the voting public.

Friday, June 22, 2012

New Mexico’s Failing Grades for Higher Education

Here are the sponsors for the Institute for Competitive Workforce, which is the group that puts out the report that graded New Mexico Higher Education Institution.

While large corporations have a vested interested in the quality of the product (I.e. the students) put out by colleges and universities across the country, we must also weight that desire with producing a well round individual who can think for themselves. We need individuals who will be productive citizens for our country.  

Many of the areas pointed out by this group are in need of improvement. Funding should be directed at helping students finish their higher education both successfully and in a timely manner. Students should not be weight down with excessive loads of debt either. Companies will also want employees who are able to think for themselves without being told the answer to every problem.  

Educational Administration has been making some cuts to overhead during the recession due to public pressure. With the sights of improvement, the administrators have fallen back into bad behaviors of large pay increases to top administration while still cutting both services and materials to students.

Nothing improves an instructor’s skills like being a full-time employee. With time employees can improve upon delivery skills. The move toward more part-time instructors has only harmed our current educational system.  

Textbooks continue to be an obstacle for many students since the price has reached outrages dollar amounts. Pell grants fail to cover the cost of anything but tuition. So students are forced to find another method of paying for their schoolbooks.

Colleges are coming up with more and more expenses called lab fees that are not covered by Pell Grants. These fees are for upkeep of equipment, classroom supplies, and printing cost. Student printing cost often excesses the small dollar amount allotted to students at the beginning of each term. Students are forces to pay for printing out of pocket each term.

Standardized exams were a failure in our K-12 system. Making colleges an extension of that failed policy will do nothing to improve the quality of the future workers who enter the workforce. If anything standardized, exams will do more harm than good at preparing our students for the workforce. The answer for how to better train our workforce will come with advanced training of our educators with more creative ways of teaching their classes. We need to teach students that they are responsible for their educational outcomes. We need to raise the expected achievement level to encourage students to perform at higher levels without moving the bar out of their reach entirely.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cutting Funding to Higher Education—what is wrong with this picture?

If you listen to conserve groups, they will tell you to spend less money that comes from the general fund. The lion’s share of money for higher education in this state does not come directly out of the pockets of taxpayers. Either conserve groups fail to understand that fact or they just want to misdirect you in knowing that the money for higher education, which raises our children out of poverty, comes from taxing gas and oil companies in this state. We call that fund the general fund and it is allocated through the direction of our state legislators.

Do we spend too much money on educational administration in state? Yes, there is no question about it but we are a poor state and it takes money to attract skilled workers to our higher educational institutions. I would rather see that money spent on students and classroom supplies. We do not spend enough of that money on support services such as tutors to help students that did not get the right support to prepare them for college courses in the first place.

The average age of two-year college students in this state is twenty-eight. This says that many individuals are coming back to school to better their lives and those of their families. They need the training to keep a current job or to retain for a new job after losing their old job.

Money should be spent to assist these students in buying their textbooks. Textbooks have become far too expensive in the last ten years. At one time two-year institutions checked textbooks out to students each term. The students only paid for the books if they decided to keep them. Such a program would go a long way in reducing the uncovered cost to students. Many students fall behind in the first few weeks of their courses because they are finding it difficult to afford the textbooks. A textbook can cost as much as one hundred to three hundred dollars for just one book.

Funding should also be directed at courses that require printing of homework. The colleges are attempting to limit expenses by requiring that students pay out of pocket for printing. While this does save trees, in the end it can harm students with limited financial resources. As anyone who has ever attempted to proofread on screen knows, it is easier to proofread from a sheet of printed-paper.

Continuing education funding should be directed at front line workers and not the administration of Higher Education institution. Quality comes from learning new skills and expanding old skills when it comes to working with students. Administrators are happy to take long trips that simply do not benefit the quality of training for frontline workers. Educational workers can learn a lot by sharing their best practices with colleagues from around the country. These benefits were the first to go when budgets became tight. Still administrators did not limit their own travel.

So the next time someone suggest the cutting of Higher Education funding explain to them that it will cost this state far more in the future if such a practice was followed.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Heather Wilson—One Long Career History of Scandals

Former Congresswoman Heather Wilson is not a fit candidate for the U.S. Senate. Her record of service shows a long history of scandals dating back to the start of her public career.

Scandal while she was Secretary of the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department

“In 1995, just three days into her tenure as Secretary of the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, Wilson removed a routine working file alleging that her husband had engaged in inappropriate contact with a minor. The file was then transferred to the department's attorney in her own Albuquerque office, where it soon went missing.”

“Charges were never filed against her husband, but Wilson's handling of the affair drew the ire of Bob Schwartz who at the time served as district attorney in Bernalillo County. He described Wilson's actions to the news team as "absolutely inappropriate," citing her "obvious conflict of interest." He also admonished Wilson for not following official procedure for the removal of official documents. "If this file is behind Secretary Wilson's desk," Schwartz said, "then she shouldn't be behind this desk anymore. She should resign."

Scandal while she was U.S. Congresswoman for New Mexico District One

“At the beginning of the U.S. attorneys scandal, former New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, a Republican, accused Wilson of contacting him in mid-October 2006 while he was still in office to pressure him to take action on a political corruption case, which Wilson was using as political fodder against her opponent Patricia Madrid. Anti-intimidation rules prohibit elected officials from contacting U.S. attorneys to inquire about progress on a case.”

Scandal of Pay-to-Play with Darren White

“ProgressNow New Mexico has uncovered documents showing that former-congresswoman and current US Senate candidate Heather Wilson has been named in a "pay-to-play" investigation being conducted by the New Mexico Attorney General's Office.

You might remember way back in 2008 when news reports questioned the use of federal grants earmarked by Wilson to the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department that ended up at a company owned by Wilson campaign donors.

Now, ProgressNow New Mexico has learned that New Mexico's Attorney General has been conducting an investigation and both Heather Wilson and then-sheriff Darren White were called in for questioning.”

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ron Barber Wins in Arizona

Democrat Ron Barber wins 52 to 45 in Arizona’s congressional race. Former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords supported her aide in the race for the seat that she vacated due to head injuries received because of a gunshot wound while she was holding a congress on your corner event.

Barber made it clear that he opposes what he called "extreme politics."

It is clear that the economy and jobs are the major issues concerning the voters of Arizona. Arizona posted the nation’s eighth-highest foreclosure rate in April, according to RealtyTrac Inc. Unemployment, at 8.2 percent in April, was higher than the national rate of 8.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Arizona voters are not looking to drive businesses away because of extreme issues that do not encourage businesses to invest in their state’s economy. New Mexicans would be wise to follow Arizona's example when it comes to this election.

Barber was able to win the congressional seat in spite of conservative Super PACs pouring huge amounts of money into the race in support of the republican opponent. This race was a test to see just how much affect Super PACs will have on the federal races come November.

In New Mexico both Martin Heinrich, democratic candidate for U.S. Senate seat, and Michelle Lujan Grisham, democratic candidate for U.S. House of Representative seat in district one, will face advertisements from Super PACs that will attempt to distort and even out and out lie about their records.

It will be up to the voting public to judge for themselves the accuracy of advertisement paid for by Super PACs that are funded by large corporations and the richest one percent of our nation who are only attempting to protect their our interests at the expense of the middle class.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Governor Martinez Just Does Not Get It!

The governor is looking at the problem of repeat DWI offenders through the lens of a persecutor and not a governor. What she does not see is that more jail time is not going to fix the cause of the problem. In order for this state to cut the number of repeat offenders, the state is going to have to get serious about finding and investing in programs that work toward curing drug and alcohol abuse.

Putting people in jail is not going to make the problem go away. Our detention system is already excessively overcrowded. Our state has one of the poorest records when it comes to treating the root causes of theses issues. Until the governor stops making this a political issue and starts making this a treatment issue, the number of deaths caused by DWI in this state will only continue to increase.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Safety on the Southeastern edge of the International District

Last Saturday morning my sixteen-year-old daughter and I went to the teller machine, in the shopping plaza off Gibson near San Mateo, to pick up some money for Comic Expo. The time was around nine in the morning and the plaza was empty except for two men in their early twenties.

I parked the car in front of the bank and got out to get the cash. The two men came up to me. They demanded ten dollars for breakfast. When I refused, they cursed me out. Then they walked toward my car where my young daughter was in the back seat. I gave them a look that said I was willing to fight if the need arose.

The two walked a few feet down the walkway. I quickly retrieved the money and returned to my car. By the time, I got my daughter and I out of that plaza, my pulse was going a mile a minute. I told myself that I had been a fool even to get out of the car in that plaza. It is sad that evening on a Saturday morning in board daylight that the shopping plaza is no longer safe.

Every since the Loveless Hospital closed across the street the southwestern area of the International District has become a ghost town. No one is doing anything to revitalize the area. Stores along San Mateo between Zuni and Gibson are empty. Homeless people wonder the streets at all times of the day and night. It is a place of fear where drugs are sold at the local McDonalds.

Shopkeepers have complained in the past that homeless drug addicted people are doing drugs behind their stores. The city has refused to do anything to clear up the area since a needle exchange place is close by so they are protecting the addicts rather than the residents of that area.

Sex offenders are being dumped in the large apartment’s complex to the east of San Mateo. The local Seven-Eleven sells alcohol in large cans. The Mayor appears to care more about his police officers new muscle cars then cleaning up our city and making it safe for local residents.

It has only been lately that a police car has been sitting in the church parking lot on the corner of Eastern and San Mateo. The message is clear stay away from San Mateo and Gibson if you want to stay safe.

Where are the state and local representatives when it comes to providing a safe environment for the residents of the Parkland Hills Neighborhood?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Just say No! to Carl and Heather

No! to the person who did not support our Veterans.
No! to the person who dose not support New Mexican Families.
No! to the person who failed to protect our bases.
No! to the person who failed to provide jobs for our people.
No! to the person who failed to protect our economy.
No! to the person who is supported by Wall Street and Big Oil
No! to the person who protects Big Banks.

Yes! to Martin Heinrich for U.S. Senate.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Team Heinrich! Team Heinrich! Team Heinrich!

We now have the best candidate to run for U.S. Senate, Martin Heinrich.

Heather Wilson will be faced with someone who is honest, hardworking, a family man, and faithful to the voting public. With Wilson’s record of dishonesty, criminal activities, and failed policies how could anyone in their right mind vote for that rightwing nutjob.

Wilson in her long career in congress proved that she could not be trusted to support either our veterans or the forward movement of our military bases. Her lack of vision caused our bases to be put on the cutting block. This is something that will never occur with Martin Heinrich as our U.S. Senator.

Martin Heinrich understands the value of promoting our current energy profile while still moving New Mexico forward toward a green job and green energy future. He has two sons who will benefit from a future where jobs in New Mexico are easy to find, jobs that will pay a livable wage. Heather Wilson could care less about our local economy. All she cares about is Wall Street and big oil corporations that pollute our valuable water resources.

New Mexico’s voting public should be very proud of their candidate Martin Heinrich! He ran a clear and respectful race. Hector Balderas should also be commended for the way he conducted himself during this primary season. I foresee a bright political future for Hector Balderas in New Mexico.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Marty Chavez for Congress speaking to supporters

He is sounding like a congressional representative.

Monday, June 4, 2012

My Democratic Primary Endorsements

President: Barack Obama

U.S. Senate: Martin Heinrich

U.S. Representative (Congress): Martin J. Chavez

Judge of the New Mexico Court of Appeals: Victor S. Lopez

State Senator: Cisco McSorley

State Senator: Tim Keller

State Senator: Benjamin Hayden Rodefer

State Senator: Michael Padilla

State Senator: Larry P. Martinez

State Senator: Mary Jane Garcia

District Judge: Briana H. Zamora

District Judge: Benjamin Chavez

District Judge: Alisa Ann Hadfield

District Attorney: Kari E. Brandenburg

Public Education Commission: Carmie Lynn Toulouse

County Commissioner: Maggie Hart Stebbins

County Commissioner: Art De La Cruz

County Clerk: Maggie Toulouse Oliver

Public Regulation Commission: Cynthia B. Hall

Vote Tuesday

My election picks tomorrow.
Also video of Martin Heinrich and Marty Chavez.