Robert Zubrin Luncheon: Merchants of Despair - Albuquerque

Rio Grande Foundation Speaker Series Event:
Luncheon with Robert Zubrin
Author of Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudoscientists and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism

Click here for registration form.

rgf_zubrinMr. Zubrin’s latest book, Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism; is the newest addition to the New Atlantis Books series.

Merchants of Despair traces the pedigree of the ideology that human beings are a cancer upon the Earth — a species whose aspirations and appetites are endangering the natural order — and exposes its deadly consequences in startling and horrifying detail.

It exposes the worst crimes perpetrated by this antihumanist movement, including eugenics campaigns in the United States and genocidal anti-development and population-control programs around the world. And it provides scientific refutations to antihumanism’s major pseudo-scientific claims, including its modern tirades against nuclear power, pesticides, population growth, biotech foods, resource depletion, industrial development, and, most recently, fear-mongering about global warming. The book’s official homepage is:

  • Location:  Marriott Pyramid 5151 San Francisco Rd NE, Albuquerque, NM  87109
  • When:  Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 12:00 noon to 1:00pm.
  • Cost:  Seating is limited and can be purchased at the discounted price of $30 through Wednesday, March 9, 2016; $40 thereafter.

rgf_modIn addition to his writing on the environment and public policy, Zubrin is the author of the critically acclaimed nonfiction books The Case for Mars, Entering Space, and Mars on Earth; the science fiction novels The Holy Land and First Landing; and articles in Scientific American, The New Atlantis,American Enterprise, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. He has appeared on major media including CNN, C-SPAN, the BBC, the Discovery Channel, the Science Channel, NBC, ABC, and NPR.

Robert Zubrin is a New Atlantis contributing editor and a fellow at the Center for Security Policy. For many years, he worked as a senior engineer for Lockheed Martin.

Click here for registration form.

2016-03-16 12:00 - 13:05

Small bit of GOOD news on New Mexico's economy!

Earlier this week, the latest unemployment numbers were released and New Mexico remained stuck with the highest rate in the nation (6.7%). That's obviously not good news.

But, as we've pointed out in the past, unemployment numbers only tell part of the story. If people have dropped out of the workforce, they are not included in the unemployment rate. So, it is important to consider the workforce participation rate as well.

And, as the chart below which tracks US and New Mexico workforce participation rates dating back to 1976, New Mexico (finally) saw a rebound in 2015 after years of decline.

Before you get too excited, it is worth noting that New Mexico still trails every other neighboring state:

Is this just a "dead cat bounce" or is it a sign that more New Mexicans are getting back to work? It's hard to say. What we know is that New Mexico's economy needs some dramatic free market reforms that push our unemployment rate down and increase the numbers of New Mexicans who are "makers" as opposed to "takers."

States, not cities and counties, are paramount

COMMENTARY: “States may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory.” Justice Louis Brandeis in New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann

When it comes to economic policy issues, the states are supposed to be the dominant actors. This is the view laid out by Justice Brandeis. It flows seamlessly from the United States Constitution’s design which emphasizes “federalism.”

But this isn’t another article about how Washington is overstepping its bounds. Rather, it is about how New Mexico’s Legislature might want to keep closer tabs on policymaking activities of local governments.

Local governments derive their powers from the states within which they are located. In some states they are given broad latitude. In others, like Virginia, their power is strictly limited. Virginia’s minimum wage and other employment-related policies are set by the Legislature.

For simplicity’s sake, this is a good thing, regardless of your views on the minimum wage.

Rio Grande Foundation to Participate in National School Choice Week Events Throughout New Mexico: Among 16,140 Nationwide

(Albuquerque) The Rio Grande Foundation (along with a host of organizations that support educational choice) is pleased to participate in School Choice Week 2016.

The Foundation is scheduled to participate in two New Mexico celebrations of School Choice Week, one in the Capitol in Santa Fe and the second

  • Join us at our State's Capitol on Thursday, January 28, from 1pm to 3pm for speakers and performances relating to School Choice Week. Speakers will include Secretary Hanna Skandera, a representative of the Rio Grande Foundation, and performers that are coming together to celebrate school choice in our state. Hundreds are expected and all are welcome!
  • A second event is being held in Las Cruces at 7pm on Thursday as well. The organizers are from Students 4 Liberty at New Mexico State (check back for details).

Said Muska, “Freedom of choice is at the very heart of the Rio Grande Foundation's mission. Given New Mexico's real struggles with educational attainment, it is high time we give parents and students the freedom to attain the education that makes sense for them.”

School choice is a broad term that includes, but is not limited to: magnet schools, inter-district transfers, charter schools, parochial and private schools, virtual schools, and home-schooling.

The Rio Grande Foundation is philosophically supportive of all forms of school choice, but approaches education policy from the bottom-up perspective. In other words, funding should follow the students giving them the power to make the educational choice that makes the most sense for them. After all, no one has a greater interest in the success of a particular student than that student's parent or guardian.

For a complete listing of School Choice Week events and participants, go to the School Choice Week official website.

Rio Grande Foundation Re-Releases “Freedom Index” Legislative Tracking Tool for 2016 Session

(Albuquerque) As the New Mexico Legislature moves into its final weeks and several important floor votes have been taken, the Rio Grande Foundation is launching an updated and easier-to-use“Freedom Index” legislative tracking tool. The goal of this tool is to review legislation impacting freedom in our state.

Lawmakers and the interested public can use the Freedom Index to get an independent, free-market view of pending legislation. Moreover, voters can see whether their legislators are voting for free markets or for bigger government. Votes tallied are “floor” votes. 

Users can see:

The relative voting performance of legislators according to the Freedom Index;

The relative voting performance of each party according to the Freedom Index;

The analysis criteria behind the legislation ranking;

Links to legislation detail;

Links to legislator information, including contact information;

And selections of legislation by relevant categories.

Our analysis will be available before final votes on those bills that are analyzed, and can be used by both legislators, legislative staff, and interested voters to debate the merits of a bill.

In short, the Index provides an excellent analysis of bills that will come before committees or a vote on the floor, and tracks each legislator’s score. The public will find our Freedom Index to be a tool to hold elected officials accountable for their vote and to gain a better understanding of the legislation being proposed by the House or Senate members.

Rio Grande Foundation president Paul Gessing said of his organization’s new legislative tracking web site, “We are thrilled to add the freedom perspective to the legislative process in Santa Fe. For too long, the special interests have run wild with the voice of taxpayers and those who pay the bills too often pushed to the side.”

RGF president Paul Gessing discusses the impact of Medicaid expansion on KNAT TV-23

Watch “Joy in Our Town” with host, Ebony Romero, and guest, Paul Gessing, President of the Rio Grande Foundation, as they talk specifically about the MEDICAID expansion in New Mexico.

Posted by KNAT - TV 23 on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Intent Matters: Overcriminalization Reform in New Mexico

Thursday, January 28, 2016, at 11:30 a.m. MST
Doors open at 11:00 a.m.
A luncheon will follow the discussion.

Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town (Alvarado Room)
800 Rio Grande Boulevard NW
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87104

About the Event

New Mexico's action this past year to outlaw civil asset forfeiture is a promising example of the type of criminal justice reform that our system needs. Though there is much more work to be done to protect individual liberties, an examination of the state's approach towards criminal intent could further help position New Mexico as a leader in justice reform.

Historically, a crime consisted of both a guilty act (actus reus) and a guilty state of mind (mens rea). The second requirement – the criminal intent – is now often absent from the growing proliferation of criminal statutes and regulations that carry criminal penalties. Laws at the state and federal levels classify thousands of ordinary activities as crimes, from shampooing a customer's hair without a license to running a private daycare from one's home. Worse still is that frequently the government is not required to prove criminal intent in order to obtain a conviction.

Legal tradition has long held that ignorance of the law is not a credible defense for criminal activity, but the sheer number of laws that currently exists makes knowing them all impossible. According to Harvey Silverglate, the average American commits three arguable felonies in the course of a given day. Have we have become a nation of accidental criminals? Can New Mexico lead the way for other states to examine their own penal codes and adopt measures that protect the innocent from harsh and undue criminal punishments?

Please join the Charles Koch Institute and the Rio Grande Foundation for a conversation with criminal justice experts who will explore these and other important issues.

Speaker Information


Paul Gessing, president, Rio Grande Foundation


Norman Reimer, executive director, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Robert Alt, president and chief executive officer, The Buckeye Institute
Vikrant Reddy, senior research fellow, Charles Koch Institute

Click here to register!


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