Posts Tagged ‘University of New Mexico’

UNM Kills Freedom of Speech

Friday, January 14th, 2011

It looks like KNME Director of Content Franz Joachim, or someone else over at the University of New Mexico, just made a big mistake that seriously undercuts their credibility as a media outlet. A couple of sources reprinted a press releases by Adam Kokesh regarding his right to bear arms for the taping of a political talk show. The mistake I’m talking about is not the one where UNM refused to allow him to open carry a weapon after he had already done so without incident, although it could be easily argued that was a mistake. The big problem is that they uninvited him from participating in another previously scheduled appearance because he sent out a press release:

After sending out the press release below, Iraq veteran, former congressional candidate, and host of Adam VS The Man on AM 1550 KIVA, Adam Kokesh was “uninvited” from participating in the scheduled taping of “The Line” today for KNME TV. Despite receiving death threats, Kokesh was originally denied his request to legally open carry at the studios on the University of New Mexico campus, then abruptly denied his opportunity to participate in this publicly sponsored political talk program. At 11am this morning, KNME Director of Content Franz Joachim called Kokesh to inform him that because of the previous press release he was no longer welcome.

Regarding this gross disregard for public safety and freedom of speech, Kokesh said, “No Iraqi ever threatened me, but I was given a gun and told to patrol Iraq to fight for our freedoms. When I came home, fellow Americans threatened me, and I was denied my basic right to self-defense. Having a government sponsored institution making people feel unsafe to speak out politically is unacceptable.”

In one fail swoop, a taxpayer funded entity just trampled on the first and second amendment of the Bill of Rights. Unfortunately, I can’t say I’m surprised that UNM disregards our second amendment rights, although I wonder if they would treat Governor Martinez the same way if she was (or when she has been) a guest on one of their shows?

With that said, I am flabbergasted by the concept of a citizen being uninvited from a political discourse show produced by a taxpayer-funded University for publicly, and in a completely non-violent manner, expressing an opinion.  Universities are supposed to be places where the free flow of ideas are encouraged, not punished or kept from ever seeing the light of day. This is absolutely reprehensible, and it’ll be interesting to see what action is taken by those who position themselves as ardent defenders of free speech.

Journal Looks at Insider Contract Overruns

Monday, July 6th, 2009

How many more pay-to-play scandals can one state take? That’s got to be the question on everyone’s mind. Just when we thought the dust was beginning to settle, it looks like the Albuquerque Journal is on the trail of yet another eyebrow raising contract given to a Governor Richardson insider:

The University of New Mexico is paying more than double the initial estimate to a politically connected firm it hired three years ago to provide security services for its main and south campuses.

In a memo recommending approval of the contract for Santa Fe Protective Services, UNM regents were informed the cost for the four-year contract was “estimated at approximately $500,000 a year.”

But UNM paid the company more than $1 million for the 2007 calendar year and more than $1.1 million for 2008. The university is on pace to spend even more this year, having already paid the company more than $800,000.

It’s the fact that the payment is more than double the contract that makes this worthy of a second look. Security services at UNM is not something new, so there should be a track record of expenses for securing those services. Expect to see a follow-up story that examines these new expenditures to those in year’s past.

And, in case you’re thinking there’s nothing here but smoke, you might want to take a second look at the way the story ends:

About seven months after regents voted to award UNM’s security contract to Santa Fe Protective Services, the company switched part of its insurance business to Daniels Insurance Company.

Jamie Koch of Santa Fe is president of Daniels Insurance and at the time was president of the regents. Daniels Insurance became the company’s broker for auto liability and workers compensation and employers’ liability.

Koch said the awarding of the UNM contract and the company’s decision to go with Daniels Insurance were unrelated. He said he doesn’t feel there is a conflict because the regents’ vote on the security contract took place months before Daniels Insurance was providing insurance to the company.

Oh, he waited a few months before “earning” their business. My bad. This is obviously all on the up and up.

Health Insurance Has Similarities to Sewers

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

A frequent commentator on this blog,

Some things only work if everyone is in the same fix, everyone does the same thing. For example, consider sewer systems. If, in Albuquerque, some people had privies and some had septic systems and some bought from a private sewer system and some bought the city’s sewer system service, we’d have a mess. We’d have both private sewer systems and City sewers on some streets (probably the richer neighborhoods) and and probably no sewer system on poorer streets, and cholera from the privies. But since we all are required to buy the City’s sewer system, we all have a pretty adequate system at lower total cost (because no street has two sewers).

Health insurance has some similarities to sewers.

First, let me reiterate, I really appreciate the people who take the time to leave comments – especially those with a different point of view. With that said, I found it interesting that Mr. Schneider should choose to use the example of sewer systems to make his case.

I live about eight miles from Albuquerque. I have a septic system. It’s probably worth noting that neither myself nor anyone around me is suffering from cholera. As to the presumption that people in rich neighborhoods would be the ones with a city sewers system, I’d suggest a drive through North Albuquerque Acres. You’ll find some of the largest and most expensive city adjacent homes are all on septic systems.

The vast majority of the folks in the East Mountains have fought city/county unification for over fifty years because we don’t want to be forced into supporting everyone else in the city and live according to what is best for the city. We don’t want to be forced to adopt city water (yeah, many of us have our own wells), city sewer and city trash pickup. Consider that last one, despite the fact that no government entity is picking up the trash, I think you’ll find much less trash on along the roads of the East Mountains then you would in the City of Albuquerque.

Well, the same holds true for health insurance. We should not all be forced into one system that rations care for all. A system like that will not improve health care service over the long run. It will degrade it. And, the way it is being offered, it will degrade it for everyone equally. Our governments – local, state and federal – are already struggling to fund the unwieldy systems for which they have already taxed us, and lest you think they will only tax the rich, think again.

Consider that despite year after year increases in tuition, the largest government run university in the state is asking their employees to take an unpaid furlough:

President David Schmidly said UNM employees who participate in the voluntary furlough program, which he announced this week, will help UNM avoid cutting jobs.

“We have got to hold the line on spending. If we don’t, we’re going to get in a situation where we can’t cope with our reduced appropriations without doing something major with our payroll, and I want to try to avoid that,” he said. “And so, if I can reduce expenditures, get people that want to voluntarily do some things that save on their salaries, and don’t fill those vacancies that come up that we can deal with in some other way, then we can save money and be in a better position to cope with the budget downturn.”

Now, you want a state that doesn’t have enough doctors to run the health care system? IF you think you’re health care situation is dire now. Just imagine when the state run system asks doctors, nurses and technicians to take a furlough to help avoid cutting jobs. Hopefully, you’re not scheduled for major surgery during that furlough week.

What’s Wrong with Our Universities

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

In New Mexico the University encourages the prosecution of a student veteran for honoring the United States flag code. In Maine, University officials mock a veteran for attempting to stop the desecration of American flags.


This just doesn’t seem right.

Graduate from High School, Get Married, and Stay Married

Monday, April 14th, 2008

The Albuquerque Journal had an interesting article this weekend (mis)titled, Middle-Class Dreams May Be Out of Reach for Many (subscription). Bascially, the article was based on conversations with two UNM professors. One being pessimistic about the potential for upward mobility into the middle class, and one believing the opportunities are as good today as they have ever been.

First, let’s look at the pessimistic view:

Steve Walsh says he fought his way out of poverty and into the middle class with hard work and a solid education. But when the University of New Mexico professor asks students in his innovation management, entrepreneurial education and economic development classes whether they think they can do the same, he gets some disappointing answers.

“I ask them ‘Do you think your success depends on who you know or what you know?’ and they say, ‘It’s who you know,’ ” said Walsh, who is the Alfred Black Professor of Entrepreneurship at UNM’s Anderson Schools of Management and co-director of the technology management center there.

Walsh said his students tell him they are disillusioned not only by the incessant drumbeat of depressing economic news, but also by seemingly endless news of financial scandals, bailouts and abuses of power.

First, let’s address the obvious. According to this article, Professor Walsh seems to be doing a disservice to his students. Nothing I read gives an indication that Professor Walsh is giving his students the straight scoop. If he was, he would point out several things to them:

  1. They live in a state where the hierarchy is flat. What do I mean? Well, with a little effort, you can get to know just about anyone you need to know to succeed. Business, community and political leaders are at nearly every event in town. If you really believe its who you know that determines your success, then get out there and meet them.

  2. The drumbeat of “depressing economic news” is nothing new. It is amazing to me that a business professor would not point out the cyclical nature of economics. Professor Walsh seems nostalgic for the “good old days” of 1978. The irony is, and argument can easily be made, that today’s economy is very much like the economy we experienced in 1978:
    From 30 years of S&P; 500 historicals, the most similar time frame for 2006-09-11 to 2007-09-07 is 1978-11-24 to 1979-11-19 (ANALYSIS). The dynamics involving the dollar, oil, housing, Iran, and gold are strikingly similar to today. Market phychology cast a remarkable pattern on pricing, and by computationally finding similar price charts, similar sentiment from bygone time frames are discovered. I refer to this process as sentiment fingerprinting. Without much fluff, lets see what happened to the dollar in 1978.

  3. Being the victim of credit fraud is not a huge and devastating crisis. I know, my wife was a victim. It was a hassle and a little unsettling, but it was not a life altering event. However, reading the interview, Professor Walsh paints it as one of the major hurdles facing students of the 21st century”

    Even if you do everything right, you could be the victim of identity theft and have everything wiped out, said Walsh.

    It took us a couple of months to get it straightened out, but it DID NOT wipe out her credit history.

I’m simply amazed by what I read. Professor Walsh seems to be letting his own personal biases and ignorance paint a very bleak picture of the opportunities available for students. This bias comes through crystal clear in this statement:

“I understood the American Dream and believed in my heart that if I tried, it could get better. I would like to know how many of my students feel that way now. Because I just don’t think they do.”

If this man’s teachings were indeed accurately reflected in this article, then I sincerely hope he doesn’t have tenure at UNM. If he does, then the University ought to require that any student who suffers through his classes must follow up that class with a class taught by Professor Allen Parkman – the other professor interviewed for this story:

While many people today say they are not better off than their parents, the overall numbers show otherwise, [Parkman] said.

The gross domestic product, which measures the country’s economic output of goods and services, has increased about 2 percent annually in the last century.

After observing decades of economic and census statistics, Parkman said he’s found what unites those who are not succeeding in today’s economy.

“They are all people who have just made bad decisions,” said Parkman. Whether they’ve made the choice to drop out of school, buy houses they can’t afford, buy lottery tickets instead of saving, got divorced or otherwise became single parents, they all made decisions that damaged them economically, he said.

Professor Parkman has some very simple advice for those who want to join the middle class:

“If you want to live comfortably, you only have to do three things: Graduate from high school, get married, and stay married. If you look within that subset (of people who are not doing well), you will find that those people have violated those principles.”

The American Dream is alive and well. How do I know? Well, I’m living it. Of course, I graduated from high school, got married and stayed married.

U.S. Flag Code

Friday, September 21st, 2007

The desecration of a Mexican flag at UNM has drawn some quite a bit of media attention. However, Eye on Albuquerque brings up a point about the U.S. Flag Code which is worth noting:

You know, we’re all for freedom, liberty and being able to fly whatever flag you want. However, UNM is a state school paid for with American tax dollars. It is wholly inappropriate for the UNM administration to allow the Mexican national flag to be flown in place of the flag of the United States. In fact, the act is against the U.S. flag code.

No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the United States at any place within the United States or any Territory or possession thereof…

Should an armed forces veteran, who took exception to this disregard of the U.S. Flag Code, face repercussions, or should the University be held responsible for failing to follow a very clear code. Personally, I’m leaning toward the latter.