Republican Governor vetoes bill to allow hemp research

Gov. Martinez vetoed a bill to open industrial hemp production for New Mexico farmers. The non-THC form of hemp makes great clothes, rope and lots of other useful widgets, but don’t dig out your knitting needles, yet. That’s too bad since the industry promised a heap of new jobs AND can be grown with almost no water, something New Mexico farmers were happy to hear…

Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed a Senate bill that would have allowed for home deliveries of beer and wine.  The bill, sponsored by Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, would have allowed deliveries of two six packs of beer and two bottles of wine with certain food orders.

That veto message already has some raising an eyebrow since Martinez is well known to enjoy a few drinks with and after dinner. She, of course, has an armed State Police detail to drive her to/from the restaurant and liquor store…

“How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?”

This song (Dear Mr. President by Pink) is dedicated to the members of the New Mexico Medical Cannabis program — patients, patient associations, producers and dispensaries, doctors, and the Department of Health.  And to the New Mexico State Medical Board and every politician in this state.

While all of you enjoy your holiday weekend, take a moment to think about those who can’t afford this program and have to suffer, and suffer, and suffer, without any pain relief.

“How do you walk with your head held high?  Can you even look me in the eye?”

From the Big (and Small) Screen to Real Life

New Orleans, Los Angeles and Albuquerque round out the seven cities vying for a spot in the second cohort of the City Accelerator. Each has its own unique and rich history; each faces significant challenges; and each feels familiar because of the stories they have helped to tell in the movies and TV. But the stories of the cities themselves are as compelling as any you have seen on a screen…


However, despite the positive exposure, Albuquerque faces significant challenges. A 2012 report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute found that New Mexico had the highest income gap between the richest households and low- and middle-income households.

A subsequent press release from the group New Mexico Voices for Children quotes Research Director Gerry Bradley as saying, “Underlying extreme inequality in New Mexico are serious problems in the state’s job market. New Mexico has an array of jobs: excellent jobs, good jobs, poor jobs and no jobs. The excellent jobs are in the national labs and at Intel; the good jobs are in health care, manufacturing and education; the bad jobs are the poverty level jobs in hotels, restaurants and call centers; and the ‘no jobs’ are because the demand for labor in New Mexico is very weak for workers with low levels of education.”

Intel?  Dude, Intel will be gone from New Mexico within the next year or two, if that.  And because of all the budget cuts at the federal level, the national labs are also hurting.  Health care is a growing industry, but that’s because of Obamacare — and that increase in employment for this sector will soon flatten out.  Education?  Teachers in New Mexico are unhappy, and they don’t make very much money either.  The city’s police department needs people, but no one wants to work there — their reputation couldn’t be worse.

If New Mexicans refuse to look at this state’s problems in a real and accurate way, things will just continue to get worse.

Meanwhile, Governor Martinez is focused on running for national office in 2016, and the rest of this state’s government doesn’t know what to do to make things better.  Seriously, there are no new ideas anywhere, except Republicans want to give businesses even more tax breaks and take away driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.

I think we should become a state where people would like to retire — kinda like Florida, but less expensive and better (especially after we legalize cannabis).

24-hour gambling in New Mexico, oh boy

The proposed new gambling compact negotiated by several New Mexico tribes and Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration would allow up to four new Indian casinos in the state over the next 23 years, permit casinos to offer credit as well as free lodging and food to some high rollers, and let casinos stay open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While some members of the Legislature’s Committee on Compacts expressed enthusiastic support for the agreement on Tuesday, others said they are afraid the state is already saturated with casinos and that the compacts might hurt the horse-racing industry…

No one is really concerned that gambling is addictive, or that you might as well just throw your money away rather than gamble at a casino.  As long as it makes money for the state and the tribes, who cares which pockets the money comes out of?  Or why mostly desperate people throw their money away on gambling?

I used to think gambling was just entertainment, but I visited a casino after I moved to New Mexico, and those people were not having fun.  It was a sad, sad place, with zombie-looking gamblers staring at large computer screens.

Rahm Emanuel’s Office Denies Mayor Screamed At Mental Health Advocates

Delgado, whose son was shot to death in 2006, told HuffPost that her neighborhood mental health clinic saved her life and the life of her other son, who was holding his brother as he died. The family sought treatment for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, but were left with no viable options after clinics were consolidated and closed in 2012…

Sounds like New Mexico is not the only state that thinks it’s wise to destroy mental health programs.  I guess New York wants to become New Mexico…


I was just thinking about how easy it was for Jennifer Weiss of the Heroin Awareness Committee — I mean, the renamed “Healing Addiction in our Community” — to get the ear of politicians, including the Governor and the Mayor of Albuquerque. I guess my voice isn’t… green enough.

13 Investigates: Bosses caught embezzling employee money

Tri-County has been providing mental health and substance abuse counseling to clients throughout Taos, Colfax and Union Counties for 35 years. The non-profit healthcare agency is funded by private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. However, last year Tri-County ran into financial difficulty…

“I had total bi-lateral knee replacement. Both of my knees replaced at the same time,” Warner said. “All medical services that I have had have all been authorized by Blue Cross Blue Shield.”

Three months later when she returned to work, Warner was not prepared for the shock of her life. She found out that she was responsible for all of the medical expenses.

“I don’t know, $200,000? The hospital (bill) I know is around $70,000,” Warner said. “I can’t pay it. I don’t have any money to pay this.”

Under comments:

Risa LPCC RPT • a day ago
For all that don’t know all of the story. Here it is many of the insurance companies were not paying for the services that were provided. TCC is the only provider for mental health in Taos,Colfax and Union county. Their financial problems are due to non-payment for services. I as a private practitioner have experienced this problem personally. I have lost over 10% of my income for non-payment. This is an agency that provides services to the mentally ill, without they would get no help. The fault of this situation is due to the Governor who does not support mental health and cut funds. Our local legislators and county officials who do not support any more money to be allocated for services. Yet the worst is the insurance companies who fail to pay claims. They hire a large group of staff to look for any reason not to pay for services. The naxt time a mentally ill person commits a crime, kills someone or commits sucide don’t sugesst that help is available because it will not be there. Larry you should check into the non payment issue if you want the real story.

When Cops Break Bad: Inside a Police Force Gone Wild

After Detective Trey Economidy shot Jacob Mitschelen, 29, during a traffic- stop in 2011… Media scrutiny of the incident turned up other troubling indicators of the culture within the APD: On his Facebook profile, Economidy listed his profession as “human waste disposal.” Economidy wasn’t alone in his sentiments. The same year, APD Detective Pete Dwyer listed his profession on MySpace as “oxygen thief removal technician.”

Early in his career, Costales says, he agreed to write a report saying that another officer had injured his ankle while chasing a suspect, not while kicking the suspect mercilessly in the ribs once he’d caught him…

One of the first was Kenneth Ellis III, a decorated 25-year-old veteran of the Iraq War who was suffering from PTSD and had been kicked out of his Veterans Affairs treatment program…

James Boyd

Alan Gomez

Jacob Mitschelen

Kenneth Ellis III

Christopher Torres

Auto insurers gouge lower-income safe drivers, study finds

In the 15 cities CFA surveyed, annual premium quotes by the nation’s five largest auto insurers — State Farm, GEICO, Allstate, Progressive, and Farmers — were almost always more than $900 and were usually more than $1,500.

In a related national opinion survey undertaken by ORC International for CFA, nearly four-fifths of respondents (79%) said that a fair annual cost for this auto insurance coverage was less than $750. One-half (50%) said that a fair annual cost was less than $500…

The report faulted state governments for allowing major auto insurers to charge higher premiums based on income and other factors not directly related to safety…

“Any economist will tell you that price ranges greater than 100% for essentially the same product reveal lack of true price competition,” noted CFA’s Brobeck…

“As well as denying economic opportunity, these high premiums pressure many lower-income drivers to break the law by driving without insurance,” Hunter said. “We’ve estimated that one-quarter to one-third of these drivers have let their policies lapse or never purchased them in the first place, because they confront the Hobson’s choice of paying for insurance or more basic necessities like food, rent, or electricity.”

New York Officially Launching Its Municipal ID Program

New York City is expected to formally launch its new municipal ID program on Monday, a step that will help the city’s estimated half a million undocumented immigrants and others who have been unable to get the identification needed to access city services.

New Mexico allows undocumented immigrants to get a driver’s license, but Gov. Martinez has been trying to get that law repealed since she has been in office.  Political news this year includes Republicans in New Mexico working again to repeal this law.

Brainy quotes on Enemies

“The best weapon against an enemy is another enemy.”  Friedrich Nietzsche

“The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is that they have a common enemy.”  Sam Levenson

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”  Sun Tzu

“Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy; profit from folly rather than participate in it.”  Warren Buffett

“It was my duty to shoot the enemy, and I don’t regret it. My regrets are for the people I couldn’t save: Marines, soldiers, buddies. I’m not naive, and I don’t romanticize war. The worst moments of my life have come as a SEAL. But I can stand before God with a clear conscience about doing my job.”  Chris Kyle

“It is lamentable, that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind.” Voltaire

“When you’re taught to love everyone, to love your enemies, then what value does that place on love?”  Marilyn Manson

“Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy.”  Frank Sinatra

“I am more afraid of alcohol than of all the bullets of the enemy.”  Stonewall Jackson

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Winston Churchill

“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.”  John F. Kennedy

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”  J. K. Rowling

“The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.”  Abraham Lincoln

“A friend is nothing but a known enemy.”  Kurt Cobain

“Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.”  Oscar Wilde

“You see, we are here, as far as I can tell, to help each other; our brothers, our sisters, our friends, our enemies. That is to help each other and not hurt each other.”  Stevie Ray Vaughan

“A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.” Maya Angelou

New Mexico’s Report Card, 2nd Quarter, 2014

Accountability in Government Selected Performance Highlights
2nd Quarter, Fiscal Year 2014

New Mexico ranks fifth in the country with a suicide rate of 19.2 per 100,000 persons compared to the national rate of 10.5 per 100,000 persons.

• New Mexico’s alcohol-attributable death rate is the worst in the country and its drug overdose death rate is the second highest in the nation.

• New Mexico has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the country with 68 percent of teenaged mothers, 55 percent of mothers between the ages of 20 and 24 years old, and 51 percent of rural mothers having unintended pregnancies.

The 2010 study of senior hunger by the Meals on Wheels Research Foundation, Inc. reports 83,187, or 21.2 percent, of New Mexican seniors, ages 60 and over, are estimated to have food insecurity, which ranks second in the nation.

In the second quarter, alcohol-related traffic fatalities and the number of DWI arrests declined. The number of saturation patrols and enforcement projects conducted by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) were well above last year’s pace, suggesting the decrease in DWI-related fatalities may be related to department efforts.

Wishful thinking?

With a total of 44 in the first half of FY14, alcohol-related fatalities remain far lower than reported in previous fiscal years. The department attributes this improvement to high-visibility law enforcement operations and more intensive DWI enforcement programs.

The DOH’s opinion is rather narrow, isn’t it?  Is this called tunnel vision?

New Mexico now has the lowest effective tax rate for manufacturers in a nine state western region, according to an updated tax competitiveness study by the New Mexico Tax Research Institute and Ernst & Young. The state’s average effective tax rate for manufacturers dropped from 8.1 percent in a 2011 study to 3.3 percent in the updated study after applying tax credits — well below the average of 6.3 percent for the remaining eight states. Yet, the state is lagging the region in job growth.

It’s like they’re saying, gosh, I wonder why?

Comments: The department created the Medical Cannabis Program in its FY13 operating budget but did not identify performance measures for FY13 or FY14. A performance measure regarding timeliness of processing patient applications will be added for FY15. Currently, the program has 23 licensed nonprofit producers who grow and distribute medical cannabis, 3,316 personal production licenses, and 9,333 active patients.

No performance measures for a 5-year-old program?  And the only performance measure to be added in 2015 is “regarding timeliness of processing patient applications”?  Wow, way to push yourself guys…

Audit: Medicaid fraud allegations stem from questions on workers

As reported yesterday by the Santa Fe New Mexican:

Portions of an audit made public for the first time show that Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration based fraud allegations against a Santa Fe-based behavioral health provider primarily on incomplete documentation of workers’ credentials, rather than on faulty Medicaid billing practices…

The Martinez administration stripped Presbyterian and the other providers of their Medicaid funding. The providers were replaced by five Arizona companies, some of which have announced they are struggling financially since setting up shop in New Mexico…

Making the audit public would compromise the long-running investigation, according to an attorney general’s spokesman. More than 18 months have passed since the audit was completed, and the Attorney General’s Office still has not contacted Presbyterian about the investigation, Daniel said…