Saturday, February 25, 2006


If you have read this far, I expect you to say the question (in the title) is frivolous. However, can you really say, from the reports in the news, just what it is that the British company does with respect to six or so of our ports; and which will now be done by the UAE government company ("company")? Proponents and the administration clear up one aspect immediately: security at the ports is in the hands of the United States Coast Guard.

So. What does the comany do? Who do they contract with? What are they obligated to do under the contract? Is it a big contract -- six billion or so? Surely the company does not acquire a real estate interest, by purchase or lease, in the land and water surrounding and making up the port. What do they do?

My interest is heightened by the lineup of people who are publicly debating whether the USA should approve the [assignment of the contract to UAE]: Rush Limbaugh, Jimmy Carter, John McCain, Pete Domenici, are among those FOR; Sean Hannity, Bill Richardson, Heather Wilson, are among those AGAINST (or hold awhile).

The proponents tell us that the company is not there to handle security, only to "operate" the port. They seem to say that we have no right to question a contract such as this [such as what, exactly?] if we are planning to take into consideration the fact that the company is foreign, and is the UAE. If we do take such facts into consideration, we are unreasonably fearful or biased against Arabs.
I am not sorry; I can't accept that.

Here is a place for Senator Pete Domenici (well respected and admired, with a world of experience) to educate us. Tell us what is involved here. Forget about how fearful we are, and give us the benefit of the doubt as to whether we are racial or ethnic profilers in an improper sense.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


In less than an hour, the Judge will sentence Cody Posey for killing Posey’s father, stepmother and stepsister. He was convicted of first degree murder in the killing of the sister, a teenager.

The Judge held a sentencing hearing this week, and yesterday announced that this morning, at nine o’clock, he would impose sentence. The Judge’s discretion is limited by New Mexico law. The Judge must decide whether to sentence Posey as a child (the crime was committed when Posey was 14), or as an adult. The jury in New Mexico does not impose sentence, and is not supposed to even know what the possible sentences are.

If the Judge decides to sentence Posey as a child, the maximum sentence would be incarceration in a juvenile facility until Posey is age twenty-one, that is, five more years. If the Judge decides to sentence Posey as an adult, the Judge must impose a sentence which would mean at least thirty years without parole.

Mandatory sentences, whether mandatory in the sense of a limit on the amount of time, or mandatory as to the amount of time, or mandatory as to the minimum, are all arbitrary. Not necessarily unjust, but arbitrary. It is possible that the sentence set by the legislature will be the right sentence in some cases. However, there is no justification for a law that tells a Judge that he must sentence to a juvenile facility for five years, or to an adult facility for at least thirty years, with no in-between.

Our whole sentencing system should be reexamined. The power we give our District Judges (judges of courts of general jurisdiction) is awesome, too much. Yet we do greater injustice when we try to set the penalties by legislated mandatory sentences.

Monday, February 20, 2006


I doubt that David C. Iglesias, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico was eager to write a threatening letter to the Legislature this 30-day session. According to the paper, Iglesias wrote that he would prosecute any effort by New Mexicans to use prescription smoked marijuana to treat nausea and other symptoms of terminal illnesses or illnesses in which the patient suffers intractable pain. In effect Iglesias said he would make a federal case out of it if Grandma, dying of cancer and in unbearable pain, chose to use smoked marijuana (with a doctor’s prescription).

Mr. Iglesias undoubtedly got his instructions from the Department of Justice, as that is the way the federal system works. The U. S. Attorney does not have the discretion that state prosecutors have; the Justice department has a great deal of control. Thus, the Justice department, which as a matter of course fails to prosecute those who possess marijuana in New Mexico (except in large amounts), came alive when it looked like the people of New Mexico might choose to cut some slack in the state prohibition laws.

Yes, it is a federal crime to smoke a joint, even if your doctor prescribes the smoke rather than opiates or other drugs. But if 60 million Americans have tried the smoke, as it has been reported, that is 20% of the population. Two Presidents that we know of did the dastardly act. If New Mexicans are keeping up in the smoking of marijuana, that means about 350,000 New Mexicans have tried the stuff (not me).

Where has the office of the United States Attorney been? Why take their frustration out on the old, sick, dying folks? Why be frustrated at all?

This is federalism at work for us. The federal government has prohibition; and the State has prohibition. They are two sovereigns, so both governments can prosecute for the same offense (no double jeopardy, because two sovereigns). The federals sit on their hands and let the State taxpayers provide the officers to enforce the marijuana prohibition, except in big cases.

The State of New Mexico should repeal its prohibition laws, with respect to smoked marijuana by doctor’s prescription for intractable pain or nausea; and tell the federal government that if the United States Attorney makes good on the threat to prosecute doctors or patients, then New Mexico will tender all of its marijuana cases to the federals in the future.

Meanwhile, a word to the legislators in the House of Representatives who killed or worked against the medical marijuana legislation. Next election, there are going to be posts at this site in an effort to let the public know what part you played. Those posts will not be at some higher ups’ direction; nor will they be paid for in any way. No hard feelings; no offense.