Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009: The Wars' Drag on, Plus: Paying For Freedom; New Mexicans Lost In Battle Remembered, And: Readers Have Our Holiday Odds And Ends 

Memorial Day 2009 brings with it the hope that the long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq can eventually be wound down, but it won't happen in the near future. The Congress has approved an over $90 billion measure to keep the war money flowing, and that will put the total cost of the conflicts at over $900 billion. That doesn't include the human toll of thousands of military and civilian casualties which we pause today to reflect upon.

All three of New Mexico's new Democratic congressmen and its two US Senators voted for the war funding that President Obama requested. All of them will take heat from many in their own party who were hoping for a quicker end to these costly foreign entanglements. But getting in is often a lot easier than getting out.

Putting aside contemporary concerns and looking at Memorial Day through the history of the American nation, we join in remembering New Mexico's military men and women who paid with their lives the bill that is due to preserve our treasured freedoms, especially the Bill of Rights that makes it possible for us to write to you whenever we choose. Those who made the ultimate sacrifice are gone, but we are sure you'll agree, never forgotten.

Around the state today, Memorial Day observances are numerous. In Santa Fe, Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., will be the keynote speaker at the Memorial Day program at Santa Fe National Cemetery. In Questa, in Taos County, the fifth annual Memorial Day ceremony will be held at the Veterans Healing Field of Honor, which is in the middle of town on state Highway 522. In addition to the flying of 1,000 U.S. flags, the ceremony features guest speakers including Lt. Gov. Diane Denish

Noted New Mexican historian Marc Simmons reminds us that the NM National Guard dates back to our colonial days, in the beginning of the 1800's.


Since today is a holiday, we'll do some odds and ends.

We take a bite from one of our Alligators today. It's about our recent review of the Federal grand jury investigating various alleged pay to play schemes in state government.

With all do respect, it should have dawned on you by now that the grand jury's continuing jump from one topic to the next topic is the absolute sign of a fishing expedition. At this point (the US Attorney's office) is desperate to show something since they cost the Governor his cabinet post and smeared (former Big Bill chief of Staff Dave) Contarino, (Former Bill chief fund-raiser Amanda) Cooper and others. Further, their anxiety level has started to rise because President Obama has begun appointing US Attorneys to replace those who have held the posts on an interim basis. I have never seen a US Attorney's office leak more info to the media (the ABQ Journal) than what US Attorney Greg Fouratt has done. It's not from strength that they leak but from weakness.

That is some deep, inside commentary and makes all of us all that much more curious as to what this federal grand jury will do in the days ahead. Stay tuned.


Reader Jonelle Maison makes a good point about putting members of the Legislature on the State Investment Council (SIC), an idea proposed by Farmington area GOP Senator Steve Neville and one we've grown sympathetic towards in light of the pay to play mess. But Jonelle avers:

Joe, Please don't forget the separation of powers clause in the NM Constitution. SIC is an executive board that makes executive decisions. Legislators should definitely NOT be members! They should not be members of any executive board. Legislators legislate, they do not execute. If they want to execute, they need to run for different offices.


We get a a lot of e-mail from New Mexico expatriates who stay with the blog wherever life takes them. One of them is former KOB-TV reporter Neil Simon who still misses La Politica after leaving for D.C. in 2005, but he reports in that things are going well.

I've been appointed as the communications director for the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The Commission commonly called the Helsinki Commission, addresses democratic, economic and human rights concerns in 56 participating countries...Sen. Tom Udall is currently a member.

Maybe Tom can get you some green chile, Neil.

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