Rumors of coal’s death are greatly exaggerated

The quote above, often attributed to Mark Twain may now be applied to coal. Reports of its demise are vastly overstated.

See the chart below which is provided by the website Trading Economics. Over the past YEAR alone, the price of coal has risen an astonishing 318.85%.

This is due to the widespread energy crunch happening mostly in Europe but also in Asia. It means that when push comes to shove people all over the globe would rather embrace an “outmoded,” “dirty,” fuel than go without power thanks to unreliable and inadequate “renewables.” It also means that CO2 emissions will rise and purported agreements to reduce them aren’t worth the paper they are printed on.

Shockingly, at least some in Europe, believe that the way out of this crisis is to go further down the “renewable” path. The UK has just confirmed a contract for 16 modular nuclear reactors nationwide so at least SOMEONE in Europe is thinking clearly.

A vast majority of states DO NOT mandate masks indoors

Unless you travel around the nation on a regular basis it may be hard to understand just how restrictive New Mexico is relative to other states on the COVID 19 issue. The following map from MultiState illustrates the situation quite clearly. Only six states in the entire country (not including “bluest of the blue California and New York) have true statewide mask mandates indoors that include vaccinated individuals.

Amazingly Michelle Lujan Grisham’s top health advisor has said that masks may be mandated for years to come in New Mexico. 

OAK NM in ABQ Journal: Educate yourself and vote on school board, bond, mill levy

The following was written by OAK NM’s Edwin Aybar Lopez. It appeared in the Albuquerque Journal on October 10, 2021.

This fall, voters in the Albuquerque Public Schools service area have some important issues to consider when they vote. For starters, it has been well-documented that in each of the four seats up for election this fall, none of the incumbents will appear on the ballot. In other words, the APS school board is in for some significant changes, no matter what the results are.

What that change looks like will be up to the voters.

My organization, OAKNM, sent surveys to all candidates for school board in APS and numerous other larger school districts across the state to ask for candidates’ views on big issues facing school boards. In Albuquerque, these included everything from splitting APS into multiple districts to masking kids and the role of charter schools.

Whether candidates completed these and other surveys or not, there are two clear sets of candidates: those who support and receive support from the unions and those who don’t. Typically, union support has been the deciding factor in local school board races, but, with this election occurring at the same time as the Albuquerque mayoral and City Council elections – not to mention the United soccer stadium vote – everyone expects higher turnout than seen in the past.

As an education reformer, this makes me happy. Given everything our kids have gone through over the past 18 months, our education system, already ranked at the bottom, failed our children completely. Of course, we don’t know just how badly because the state’s standardized test for 2020 and 2021 was administered to only a fraction of the student population, or not at all. Estimates vary, but we’ve seen figures for lost time ranging from a few weeks to more than a year.

Do you believe the situation was handled well? Do you think it was appropriate for unions to play an outsized role in reopening, masking and even vaccination policies during the pandemic? Are you concerned that the Sheryl Williams Stapleton scandal is only the tip of the iceberg? If so, you need to vote in this election and get yourself educated on the issues facing the district.

In addition to the school board races, APS has quietly placed (a $200 million general obligation bond and) a property tax question on ballots. The question on the ballot asks for a tax levy of $3.838 per $1,000 of net taxable value on residential property and $4.344 on non-residential. The question(s are) with billions of stimulus money flowing into New Mexico schools, students fleeing APS in droves and the Legislature sitting on “more money than they know what to do with,” per the Senate Finance Committee chairman, why is APS asking for (more)?

Here in Albuquerque and across New Mexico, education reform is on the ballot. Voters need to get educated about the candidates and issues that will, at long last, pull our state out of last place. Get out to vote and take a friend or relative with you.

Opportunity for All Kids New Mexico,, is an organization dedicated to reforming New Mexico’s education system.

Tipping Point NM Episode 344: Gubernatorial Candidate Louie Sanchez

On this week’s podcast conversation, Paul sits down with Louie Sanchez a Republican running to be Gov. of New Mexico. The conversation covers Louie’s background growing up in Albuquerque, his business efforts, and ultimately focus on the challenges facing New Mexico’s current leadership and what he’d do to turn the State around.

Tune in to this informative podcast!  Louie’s campaign website can be found here. 

Tipping Point NM episode 343: Mask Mandates, Human Authority over COVID-19, Southwest Cancels Flights and more

On this week’s podcast, Paul and Wally discuss Gov. Lujan Grisham’s health advisor Dr. David Scrase’s statement that New Mexicans could be dealing with mask mandates for years to come. According to AARP New Mexico is only one of 7 states to have an indoor mask mandate. California is NOT one of them. Paul wonders: Are we really going to send kids to school in masks for another 2-3 years? More Americans have now died of COVID under Biden than under Trump, but the media doesn’t blame Biden of course. According to Michael Osterholm, an infectious-disease expert at the University of Minnesota (and Biden COVID advisor) quoted in the New York Times “We’ve ascribed far too much human authority over the virus.” 

Southwest cancels thousands of flights over the weekend as vaccine mandate kicks in; The 100+ person mandate has not been formally implemented yet, but businesses including Southwest Airlines are using it as cover to impose the vaccine mandate on their workers.

Energy crisis Analysts at Deutsche Bank noted that in Europe prices are up fivefold, while in the U.S. and Asia prices are about 1.5 times higher. In Europe, the price spike in natural gas is equivalent to if oil were trading around $200 per barrel. “The importance of these moves on inflation, growth and external accounts are not to be underestimated,” the firm wrote in a note to clients. “These price moves are a big deal.”

Coal and oil prices are also jumping. West Texas Intermediate crude futures, the U.S. oil benchmark, topped $80 per barrel on Friday for the first time since November 2014. International benchmark Brent crude, meanwhile, traded at its highest level since 2018. Analysts say that elevated natural gas prices could even prompt utilities to swap the fuel for oil. In New Mexico this means even more money flowing into the state.

California took another step toward its goal of ridding the state of all gas-powered engines thanks to a new bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday. The new law will ban the sale of all off-road, gas-powered engines, including generators, lawn equipment, pressure washers, chainsaws, weed trimmers, and even golf carts. Under the new law, these machines must be zero-emissions, meaning they will have to be either battery-powered or plug-in.

Trever cartoon electric hot air balloons

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s campaign paid an additional $87,500 as part of a settlement with an ex-staffer who accused her of sexual mistreatment, bringing the total dollar amount to $150,000.

Early voting at county clerk’s offices is going on right now. It will spread out around town starting next week. Ali Ennenga in District 3 and Celia Cortez a write-in candidate in District 6 has as well. School board is very important. City Council is as well.

RGF’s Gessing discusses Laramie, WY student arrest for mask refusal

This week RGF President Paul Gessing had an opportunity to provide (School) Choice Media’s Story of the Day. The story was regarding a student in a liberal part of Wyoming (Laramie) that was arrested and pulled out of the school in handcuffs for refusing to wear a mask.

You can watch the short story below.

New Mexico’s 2021 State Fair Numbers were WAY down (thanks to MLG’s vaccine mandate)

After being canceled completely in 2020 the New Mexico State Fair returned in 2021. Unfortunately thanks to the last minute imposition of a vaccine mandate by Gov. Lujan Grisham, attendance at the Fair plummeted as you can see below. The following data were provided as part of a Rio Grande Foundation request for public records.

New Mexico State Fair attendance for 2018-2021.

2018: 504,445

2019: 472,415

2020: 0

2021: 275,467

New Mexico State Fair day 2

Sen. Heinrich’s balloon fiesta

A few months back Rio Grande Foundation president Paul Gessing noted that Sen. Martin Heinrich “is coming for” your gas appliances. If you follow Heinrich on Twitter you can see that Heinrich continues to push for the elimination of gas from homes.

Very recently, California took up Heinrich’s mantle by banning gas-powered equipment using small off-road engines, a broad category that includes generators, lawn equipment and pressure washers (see bill here). California is a state often emulated by Gov.. MLG which has also struggled frequently to keep electricity flowing.

The following cartoon from John Trever of the Albuquerque Journal over the weekend highlights how ONE New Mexico tradition might not work so well if the Heinrich vision is implemented. Unfortunately, 2050 is likely too optimistic in terms of the time line given the rapid advance of such radical policies.

Tipping Point NM episode 342: Talking infrastructure bills, deregulation, and railroads with analyst Marc Scribner

Marc and Paul discuss the ongoing debate in Washington over various “infrastructure” bills. They discuss infrastructure and transportation more broadly and how it is funded. Finally, they discuss a new policy brief Marc wrote about America’s freight railroads in which he discusses their tremendous economic impact (including in New Mexico), the fact that these railroads build and maintain their own infrastructure, the Staggers Act which deregulated freight rail 40 years ago, and the Biden Administration’s efforts to reimpose regulation on America’s freight rail network.

Should we blame politicians for COVID deaths?

I’m old enough to remember when candidate Joe Biden blamed President Trump for each of 200,000 COVID deaths in the United States. See clip below.

This was a bogus statement at the time. While the Trump Administration’s approach to COVID certainly can be questioned, the fact is that no one in the world has had an adequate plan to deal with COVID. To his credit the Trump Administration eliminated regulatory barriers to help drug companies create new vaccines in record time, but despite widespread acceptance Americans have continued dying from COVID.

According to the following from the  Washington Times a new Johns Hopkins report says that more Americans have died of COVID under Biden than under Trump. Will that be discussed in the media? Are THOSE deaths Biden’s fault?

According to Michael Osterholm, an infectious-disease expert at the University of Minnesota quoted in the New York Times “We’ve ascribed far too much human authority over the virus.” We couldn’t agree more. Lockdowns didn’t work. Masks haven’t proven themselves very effective in the real world. Even vaccines which are pretty effective have their flaws.