The suit claims the current polling hours are inadequate and seeks an immediate three hour extension for the rest of early voting.
The suit claims the current polling hours are inadequate and seeks an immediate three hour extension for the rest of early voting.
Lew Wallace, the former territorial governor of New Mexico (and author of Ben Hur), once said, “Every calculation based on experience elsewhere fails in New Mexico.”In so many ways Wallace was prescient about this beautiful, poor, and unique state in the American Southwest. One “calculation” about modern politics that would especially perplex him is the fact that a relatively poor but oil-rich Western state elects politicians that are so directly at odds with its economic best interest.After Texas and North Dakota, New Mexico is the third-largest oil-producing state in the U.S. The oil and gas industries combine to generate roughly 40 percent of its annual budget. Furthermore, New Mexico’s oil and gas resources are heavily concentrated on lands managed by the federal government. The central role of energy, especially energy extracted within the state’s borders and controlled by federal policy-makers, might lead one to believe that New Mexicans would vote for pro-energy Republicans in federal elections.Instead, New Mexico has become a safely blue state. It narrowly went for George W. Bush in 2004 but since then has gone for Democrats by wide margins. The situation is even more stark at the state level, where Democrats have had “trifectas” (total control of both houses and the governor’s mansion) for 60 of the past 90 years. The GOP hasn’t had such governing authority in the state for a single year since 1931 and, despite significant turnover, has not elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate since Pete Domenici retired in 2009.In 2020 Biden won the state 54.3 percent to 43.5 percent despite the fact that President Trump’s pro-energy policies have been a boon to the New Mexico economy and that the Biden administration’s energy policies are a dagger aimed at the heart of New Mexico’s economy.That “dagger” comes in the form of the numerous -- sometimes clear, often conflicting -- statements that candidate Biden made during the campaign. It is unclear what Biden will do about hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which enables oil and gas producers to access previously inaccessible oil and gas sources. He backed away from an outright nationwide ban late in the campaign. However, Biden has clearly stated that he would ban new gas and oil permits -- including fracking -- on federal lands.Targeting federal lands would devastate New Mexico’s oil and gas industry and its economy, because of the state’s large federal estate. According to the Institute for Energy Research, 34.7 percent of the land in New Mexico is federal. In fiscal year 2019, New Mexico received energy-related disbursement (from the federal Bureau of Land Management) of $1.17 billion, the highest payment made in any state (Wyoming was next, with $641 million, and then Colorado, with $108 million). This was the highest payment from the bureau in the state’s history and compares with $455 million in FY 2017. A vast majority of this increased revenue is a result of fracking.Furthermore, data from the Global Energy Institute indicate that if energy production on federal lands were banned, New Mexico would lose 24,300 jobs (10,000 direct, 14,300 indirect and induced), a significant hit for a state with a workforce of around 900,000. Making matters worse, a good number of the “direct” jobs lost are good-paying -- something that is not easy to find in New Mexico, a state that consistently ranks among the poorest in the nation and has been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Closing New Mexico’s federal lands to energy production entirely would cost the state $496 million in annual royalty collections, representing 8 percent of the state’s total General Fund Revenues.Biden’s proposed fracking ban is even too much for New Mexico’s Democratic governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has said that she’ll ask for an exemption from any future drilling ban. Acknowledging the tax-revenue contributions to education funding, Grisham explained to the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association conference in Santa Fe last October that “without the energy effort in this state, no one gets to make education the top priority.”To be sure, Lujan Grisham is broadly supportive of Biden’s energy policies. (She’s even on the president-elect’s short list for administration positions.) Both of them have stated that they would like to “transition out of fossil fuels” despite New Mexico’s financial dependence on the industry.But Biden’s aggressive anti-fossil-fuels stance as it relates to federal land not only puts him at odds with Lujan Grisham, it puts him far to the left of President Obama on the issue. In a 2012 presidential debate, Obama stated, “We’ve opened up public lands. We’re actually drilling more on public lands than the previous administration. . . . And natural gas isn’t just appearing magically; we’re encouraging it and working with the industry.”President Obama was of course considered an environmentalist by political opponents and supporters alike. His support for natural-gas right isn’t difficult to reconcile with his environmental track record. That’s because (when used in a new power plants), natural gas emits 50 to 60 percent less CO2 than a typical new coal plant.Obama understood the vast benefits of natural gas, including the fact that it was appropriate to drill for it on federal lands. During his tenure, natural-gas production rose some 35 percent, from approximately 21 million cubic feet to more than 28.4 million cubic feet.If he truly cares about the environment, Biden would be wise to follow his predecessor’s playbook. According to the EPA, U.S. net greenhouse-gas emissions went down by 10 percent from 2005 to 2018, and much of the contribution to that decline in recent years was “due to an increasing shift to use of less carbon dioxide-intensive natural gas for generating electricity and a rapid increase in the use of renewable energy in the electric power sector.” But if natural-gas prices rise -- and a ban on federal leasing is likely to contribute to higher prices -- these positive developments could go into reverse. The Energy Information Administration recently projected that higher natural-gas prices would cause coal’s share of power generation to increase from 18 percent to 22 percent in 2021.Obama also signed into law legislation that ended the U.S. government’s restrictions on crude-oil exports back in 2015.During the campaign, Biden faced tremendous pressure from the left wing of his political base to come out for policies such the Green New Deal and bans on fracking and other fossil-fuel-based energy production. Biden has never been associated with such hard-Left stances against economic policy and growth in the past. Remember, even Obama is to the right of where Biden campaigned.Let's hope that President Biden has a more realistic approach to energy than did candidate Biden. New Mexico’s economic future is certainly at stake, but so is the recovery of our nation’s virus-hobbled economy.Rather than instituting a blanket ban on production of oil and gas on federal lands, a better approach would be to recognize the benefits and work to make sure that any production is handled responsibly and safely. The growing American energy sector and American energy independence have delivered wins for the environment, for consumers, and for the U.S. and state economies such as New Mexico’s. Let’s keep it that way.
A few hours after a bipartisan group of senators unveiled a $908 billion coronavirus relief bill proposal Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) circulated his own plan among Republican lawmakers. Several news organizations obtained a copy of the outline.McConnell's plan, Bloomberg notes, appears to be a tweaked version of his previous $500 billion proposal (although the full price tag is not yet known), with funds earmarked for a second round of the Payroll Protection Program and coronavirus vaccine distribution and development. It doesn't seem likely to serve as an overture to Democrats and instead caters to several Republican senators by including measures like COVID-19 liability shields for businesses, which the other side of the aisle opposes.> McConnell's "revised" bill includes lots of goodies for his members:> > \- Toomey proposal ensuring Fed can't use unspent CARES money > \- school choice tax credits for Cruz > \- Tim Scott's tax deduction for biz meals > \- Cornyn's liability shield bill > \- $20B in additional aid to farmers> > -- Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) December 1, 2020Unlike the bipartisan framework from earlier in the day, McConnell's bill does not include any money for state, local, and tribal governments, another nod toward Republicans who remain staunchly opposed to the notion. It does extend the deadline for enhanced unemployment benefits, but only by a month, whereas the other bill proposal would push end date to April.McConnell said he was bearish on his colleagues' framework because the clock is ticking, and he seems to believe the White House will sign off on his version. > I asked @senatemajldr McConnell why not push for the bipartisan, presumably more popular, COVID Relief framework. His response: pic.twitter.com/iekHQkkues> > -- Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) December 1, 2020More stories from theweek.com Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead. Americans are choosing death over deprivation How camp explains Trump
More than 150 parliamentarians from 18 countries have called on Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to intervene to ensure justice for 12 people, the youngest of who is 16, who have been detained in mainland China while trying to flee the city by boat. The 12, who had all faced charges in Hong Kong linked to anti-government protests, have been held virtually incommunicado in a mainland prison since they were detained at sea on Aug. 23, apparently while trying to reach the democratic island of Taiwan. Chinese authorities said last week members of the group face charges of illegal border crossing and organising an illicit border crossing, which could carry a sentence of up to seven years in jail.
Seattles is preparing to slash the city's police budget just as homicides in the city climb to their highest level in more than a decade.Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is set to sign a city budget that includes an 18 percent cut to the Seattle Police Department, a move that comes after police reform activists demanded the police budget be reduced by half. Calls for police reform have abounded in cities across the country since May, when George Floyd died at the hands of police in Minneapolis.The city council voted last week to slash about $69 million in funding for officer training, salaries and overtime, and get rid of vacant positions in the police department as well as transfer parking officers, mental health workers, and 911 dispatchers out of the department. The goal is to ultimately reinvest in alternatives to police in situations such as mental health crises.Meanwhile, Seattle had seen 55 murders this year as of Monday, the highest level since at least 2008, the last year of data available. The troubled city is also suffering a spike in violent crime, with 8,418 burglary incidents, up from to 7,634 last year, according to police.The mayor, a Democrat, said last week that she believes the city is "laying the groundwork to make systemic and lasting changes to policing.""We have rightly put forward a plan that seeks to ensure SPD has enough officers to meet 911 response and investigative needs throughout the city, while acknowledging and addressing the disproportionate impacts policing has had on communities of color, particularly Black communities," Durkan said in a statement.Police Chief Carmen Best resigned over the summer amid disagreements with the city council over the cuts to the police budget.In June, rioters claimed and barricaded off several blocks in the city’s downtown Capitol Hill neighborhood, calling it the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” zone, or CHOP, after police abandoned their East Precinct to vandals and arsonists. Police agreed not to respond to calls from within the “autonomous zone” unless they were life-threatening.Later that month, however, Durkan, who previously predicted the autonomous zone would usher in a “summer of love” and said her decision to withdraw police from the area reflected her “trust” in protesters, announced the city would begin dismantling the zone, citing incidents of violence. A shooting inside the zone left a 19-year-old dead and another critically injured. Police said they were met by a violent crowd that blocked their access to the victims.
A final tally of absentee ballots has confirmed that Republican Nicole Malliotakis has defeated U.S. Rep. Max Rose, denying the Democrat a second term representing one of the few conservative-leaning parts of New York City. Malliotakis, a New York State Assembly member, opened a big lead over Rose on Election Day in a district that includes all of Staten Island and part of Brooklyn.
China has provided North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his family with an experimental coronavirus vaccine, a U.S. analyst said on Tuesday, citing two unidentified Japanese intelligence sources. Harry Kazianis, a North Korea expert at the Center for the National Interest think tank in Washington, said the Kims and several senior North Korean officials had been vaccinated.
A Tennessee trial court judge improperly reduced a Black inmate's death sentence to life in prison last year, a state appeals court has ruled. Abu-Ali Abdur’Rahman (AHB’-dur-RAK’-mahn) was scheduled to be executed in April, but the judge resentenced him last fall based on claims that prosecutors had illegally excluded African Americans from the jury pool. The inmate filed to reopen his case in 2016, shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a Black death row inmate in Georgia, finding prosecutors had illegally excluded Blacks from a jury that ended up being all white.
There were no visible wounds to the body and a cause of death hadn't yet been determined for the 26-year-old, police said.
Children suffering with gender dysphoria will now need a court order before they are legally allowed to take puberty blockers, the NHS has confirmed. The new guidelines were announced following a landmark High Court ruling on Tuesday in which judges said trans children should not receive the controversial drugs unless they understand the "long-term risks and consequences" of them, amid warnings it is "highly unlikely" that most teenagers could consent to this process. On Tuesday night, the NHS updated its guidance to reflect the judgment, meaning "no-one under the age of 16 can now be referred for puberty blockers unless a court rules it is in the child's best interests". The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, which runs the UK's only gender identity development service for children, immediately suspended new referrals for puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for the under-16s. The ruling prompted lawyers to warn that the "floodgates could be opened" on retrospective claims of clinical negligence and hundreds of transgender children could sue, arguing that they were unable to consent to the transitioning process when they began taking puberty blockers. The landmark case was brought against the Trust by Keira Bell, a 23-year-old woman who began taking puberty blockers before "de-transitioning". She said the clinic should have challenged her more over her decision to transition to a male when she was 16. It was also brought by a woman who can only legally be identified as "Mrs A", the mother of a 15-year-old autistic girl who is currently on the waiting list for treatment. At a hearing in October, their lawyers said children going through puberty are "not capable of properly understanding the nature and effects of hormone blockers". They argued there is "a very high likelihood" that children who start taking hormone blockers will later begin taking cross-sex hormones, which they say cause "irreversible changes", and that the NHS Trust offers "fairytale" promises to children because they are unable to give their consent to the sex-change process. However, in the judgment handed down on Tuesday Dame Victoria Sharp, sitting with Lord Justice Lewis and Mrs Justice Lieven, said children under 16 needed to understand "the immediate and long-term consequences of the treatment" to be able to consent to the use of puberty blockers. The judges said: "It is highly unlikely that a child aged 13 or under would be competent to give consent to the administration of puberty blockers. It is doubtful that a child aged 14 or 15 could understand and weigh the long-term risks and consequences of the administration of puberty blockers." During the High Court hearing in October, the Trust – as well as University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, to which Tavistock refers children and young people experiencing gender dysphoria – argued that taking puberty blockers and later cross-sex hormones were entirely separate stages of treatment. However, the judges concluded: "It is said… the child needs only to understand the implications of taking puberty blockers alone... in our view this does not reflect the reality. The evidence shows that the vast majority of children who take puberty blockers move on to take cross-sex hormones." The judgment said both treatments were "two stages of one clinical pathway, and once on that pathway it is extremely rare for a child to get off it". Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice after the ruling, Ms Bell said she was "delighted" with the result, adding that "common sense has prevailed". "This judgment is not political," she said. "It's about protecting vulnerable children." A statement was also read on behalf of her fellow claimant, "Mrs A", which said she was "relieved". Their solicitor, Paul Conrathe, said the ruling was "an historic judgment that protects children who suffer from gender dysphoria", adding that "a culture of unreality has become embedded in the Tavistock" which "may have led to hundreds of children receiving this experimental treatment without their properly informed consent". Mr Conrathe said "Christmas has come early if you're a medical negligence lawyer. There are probably hundreds of children that could be suing the Tavistock on the grounds of this judgment." A spokesman for the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust said it was "disappointed" by the judgment, which it said was likely to cause anxiety for patients and their families. The Trust confirmed it has paused all new referrals and that it would seek permission to appeal. Following the ruling, an NHS England spokesman said: "We welcome the clarity which the court's decision brings. The Tavistock have immediately suspended new referrals for puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for the under-16s, which in future will only be permitted where a court specifically authorises it." Lui Asquith, of the trans children's charity Mermaids, said the ruling was a "devastating blow for trans young people across the country" and signified "a new era of discrimination", adding: "We believe very strongly that every young person has the right to make their own decisions about their body and that should not differ because somebody is trans. "The court on Tuesday has decided to treat trans young people differently to every other child in the country."
A retired Air Force three-star reignited claims about troops' involvement in secret missions in the wake of the election.
The Justice Department is investigating whether there was a secret scheme to lobby White House officials for a pardon as well as a related plot to offer a hefty political contribution in exchange for clemency, according to a court document unsealed Tuesday. Most of the information in the 18-page court order is redacted, including the identity of the people whom prosecutors are investigating and whom the proposed pardon might be intended for.