WAL-MART: Population Control for Less

“GONE LOCO” Presents its first animated cartoon:

McDonald’s to Public: Our Food is Healthy*



An Eternal Bond: The True Meaning of a Gift


I hope that you have all had a wonderful holiday season. Many of you have received some sort of material gift this year from a loved one. I was always told that the thought was what mattered, not the gift. If somebody loved you enough to give you something, then the gift was priceless. I wanted to share a story written by someone whom I love with all of my heart. It is a story of the true meaning of jewelry and the bonds created by that love. Enjoy!

Love and bonding:

Jewelry creation and transfer in a callous world

  I knew that I should’ve worn my wedding ring to the baseball game. I kept making excuses about the weather being too warm out and I wanted to be comfortable; I also remember thinking that I didn’t want to lose it while we stayed at the hotel in Denver.  I misplaced it once before while I was washing my hands getting ready for my next patient when I worked in Dental Hygiene. That painful feeling of loss and anger for not caring for it and the joy and glee of knowing it was in a different drawer of my small clinical operatory.

The day we eloped in San Antonio we were both wearing flip flops and t-shirts. The judge asks “where are the witnesses, where are the rings?” We pretended to place the rings on each other’s fingers and drove to Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico for a weekend retreat. A week later the guilt and shame of hiding from our parents kicked in. We called them, and then drove to the flea market to buy twenty-dollar rings. Driving back on I-10 in the heavy spring rain, we dreamt of our future together, of aspirations together and how wonderful the universe was for bringing us there at that moment in time. The U.S. Army forced us to elope, he was leaving to Killeen, TX more than likely headed straight for Iraq and I was headed to Colorado Springs, CO.  More than ten years later, the twenty-dollar rings were safe in my jewelry box.

He saved a few paychecks to make sure I got the ring he said, “I deserve.” At our ‘real’ wedding according to our parents, he gave me the most beautiful ring. All my family and friends were constantly asking, “Where did you get that” and “wow.” I felt very special but I had my little old ring we bought in San Antonio hidden deep in my heart. That bond we created did not have a price and will never be taken away.

A few years later, our daughter Bianca began to express her creativity. We were constantly receiving strings made of cheerios or beads. Some were full of glitter and some were sticky with glue. We became “hoarders” of children’s art and trinkets; you can find them on almost every corner of our home. In pre-school Bianca made a piece of jewelry she worked so hard on. The paint was coloring my fingers as I held it; the rocks were heavy and I wondered how she managed to get the wire through the rocks. As she got older, she began to learn to braid. She begged to learn to make friendship bracelets and made one for almost everyone she knew. While her cousins and friends watched movies and played video games, she was entertained with her cut cardboard piece and string hanging from it.

My sister knew that Bianca loved to make art and jewelry and carved a beautiful wooden box. This box was filled with every color bead, rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces. She held it very dear because her “aunty made it.”  Like me, she loved holding all her important things in her jewelry box next to mine.

As we drove back from Denver that Monday morning, the front door was open. I immediately started questioning my husband and became very nervous. It was a strange and eerie feeling, like that of a haunted evil movie. He demanded that we stay in the vehicle and wearily walked into our home. He stepped on broken glass, television on the floor and the bedroom doors closed. What? We never close the doors! We always leave our doors open for each other; an open door is an invitation for anyone to enter and no one to hide.

After the police let us back in the home, I am distraught. I can’t seem to understand what has happened and why the TV is on the ground, why there is glass on the floor, why my doors are closed. I cannot give the police a description of my items; I never had to inventory my belongings. I quickly become disturbed; my main jewelry box is gone. Pearls that were gifted to me at my wedding, pearls that have been passed down the family for many generations; my wedding ring and all my trinkets are gone. As I sat on the bed full of glass, I remembered the twenty-dollar ring, the memories of our wedding, the expensive ring and all the little beautiful art that Bianca had made. I cannot fathom why they couldn’t just take the TVs, “take the damn TV!”  I pace around the house thinking that I was in a dream; my home was violated, and my treasure was taken. As I walked out of the back door, I saw the green box that contained my pearls on the ground. “They dropped it!”  That euphoric feeling made me cry tears of happiness. “I didn’t lose it all” I thought; I felt the soft pearls and sweet memories of my dear mother-n-law placing them on me and I felt relieved. When she passed away in 2008, I remember placing them back in their green, almost ancient box and thinking “Bianca will wear these at her wedding.”

That blissful feeling was completely shattered when I saw Bianca’s face. She was afraid, she was more than just distraught; she too, was violated. Not only did they disturb her safety in her home, they also took her treasure box.

As we both cried on the back porch, and I thought “what else does god have to put us through?”; my late mothers jewelry was in there too. I remember wanting to give her jewelry to my youngest sister. It had only been two months since they took her body to the morgue and I took possession of all her personal items. Taking the weekend off, away from the pain and thoughts of death seemed like a great idea. I couldn’t comfort Bianca; she needed me so much. We sat there crying for hours, the only words I remember saying was “I love you.” Embracing each other and crying on each other was much more than words can describe.

All those memories, she remembers everything; every stuffed animal, every gift she received.  She must have repeated a million times “my aunty gave me that” and “that had my best-friend bracelets.” How can I take that pain away? Her broken heart made my pearls and ring feel so insignificant.

I thought that she would stop making these small things, to share her love and art. I really misjudged a child’s mind. She became stronger and more resilient; she comprehended the idea that “some people need it more, and don’t realize they hurt others by their actions.” Bianca set a beautiful example of love and compassion. All I could think of was “why would someone take a child’s jewelry box?”  It was obvious it contained trinkets and beads. My problem was that these items were invaluable and they were gone. We had lost material items, but not our love. Thanks to the beautiful soul of a seven year old, I realized that the memories of the bond would forever be in our hearts where thieves will never triumph.

True meaning of Christmas in New Mexico

Feliz Navidad

UNM GPA Calculation Steals Lottery Scholarship From Transfer Students


The University of New Mexico’s transfer policy unfairly computes student GPA’s and denies deserving transfer students the Lottery Scholarship. Although UNM’s policy for transfer GPA’s is in compliance with federal regulations, it is unfair and damaging to some of the most needy students.

The New Mexico Lottery Scholarship requires that students maintain an overall 2.5 GPA to qualify for the upcoming semesters. UNM calculates a traditional students GPA by dividing the students quality points by credit hours earned at UNM. A transfer student’s GPA is calculated in the same manner, but it only includes classes attempted at UNM. All of the classes completed at other institutions and accepted by UNM are counted towards total credit hours for graduation, but they are not used in the GPA calculation.

That may not seem like a big deal, but it was for one student that we know. There are many more like her, but this is her story. She is a first generation Mexican-American whose family is very low-income. She grew up and graduated from a town that has a 50% drop-out rate. She was in the top 10% of her class, but did not do very well on the ACT. She applied to UNM, but the University said that her ACT score was low and that she was not accepted. Crushed, she applied to CNM and began school in the Fall after graduation.

She worked hard and completed the 24 credit hours at CNM that UNM requires for transfer. She had a 3.2 GPA at CNM. She applied to UNM and was accepted. She started this Fall and took 15 credit hours. Unfortunately she finished the semester with a 2.48 GPA at UNM. It is her first full semester at UNM, but the University considers her a sophomore. Despite her status, UNM only counted the 15 hours that she took at UNM and disqualified her from the Lottery Scholarship. She went to the Financial Aid office and they told her that her only alternative is to take out student loans.

Most transfer students come from low-income situations and tend to be first generation college students. Starting at UNM can be challenging the first semester. UNM should take a student’s individual circumstances into account when determining eligibility. They should count the students transfer credits in the GPA calculation for the Lottery Scholarship. They could calculate the students University GPA separately. This new calculation system would allow transfer students a little leeway when getting adjusted to the pace at UNM. It is a simple fix. These students obviously want to get an education or they would not have taken the path that they did. They should not be treated the same as first semester freshman students.

Sometimes we need to address the unfairness of bureaucratic systems. The Lottery Scholarship is designed to help students who need it the most. Yet those same students are the ones who are hurt the most by the system. Transfer students need to be treated the same as other students who have the same amount of academic credit. It is understandable that classes completed at other institutions should not be included in UNM’s overall GPA, but it seems only fair that they should be counted in a GPA for Lottery Scholarship GPA.

UNM Innovate ABQ ignores its Moral Duty to NM and the Environment


The Albuquerque Journal reports that the UNM Board of Regents has approved $7.3 million for the new UNM Innovate ABQ project. (http://www.abqjournal.com/324469/news/regents-give-the-goahead.html) Although we applaud UNM in its effort to spark job creation in our wonderful city, we condemn them for ignoring their moral duty and purchasing potentially contaminated property. The Board of Regents owe the people and the environment respect by giving all of that money to responsible land owners. They should not purchase land when the ground and water may be contaminated. They are making it clear that they will reward environmental contamination as long as they can’t be sued for it in the future.

The land that UNM is purchasing is located at Broadway and Central. The land may have contaminated ground and water, but the Board of Regents does not care about that. Their only concern is whether or not UNM can be sued in the future for the contamination. They forced the seller to agree to a “voluntary remediation plan” in which they take responsibility for the contamination. The most convenient part is that the sellers are the state Environmental Department and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad Co. We all know how much these 2 entities care about cleaning up the environment.

Way to go UNM, sell out your morals to get a quick site for your project. UNM President Frank applauds you by saying “We appreciate the regents support and that they did all their due diligence. It’s a better project because of all the research and it’s a great day for UNM.” Their due diligence included turning a blind eye to UNM’s responsibility to set an example for our youth to emulate. Did this show our youth that they can ignore their responsibility to society as long as they can’t be punished for it? Is it o.k. for them to buy stolen merchandise as long as they are told that they will not get in trouble for it?

UNM should refuse to purchase the property until the site was cleaned and all contamination was removed. That may be a lengthy and difficult process, but it would have shown UNM’s dedication to improving this state. A public announcement from UNM would have been a bold statement that it is not acceptable to destroy the environment and then promise to fix it later. They could have demanded that it be fixed now.

Unfortunately that is an idealistic view of what UNM could be. The reality is that the almighty dollar speaks louder than morals. Our University could have made a statement to irresponsible corporations, the state, and the world. But they did not and that is the sad truth. They gave $7.3 million to purchase contaminated land and that “is not their problem.”

ABQ Shelters Dump Off Single, Vulnerable, Homeless Women

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As we end the year and reflect upon the great strides made in equality for same-sex couples, let us remember that there are people who are still oppressed. Over the last few weeks I have had conversations with a homeless woman and another woman who was homeless less than a year ago. They both told a story of how single homeless women are discriminated against and victims of unspeakable abuse. They opened my eyes to an invisible problem that plagues equal rights all over our great state. These women are forgotten and ignored by the mainstream media. Their voices need to be heard.

The first woman that I spoke with is currently homeless. She was hungry and begging for food at McDonalds. The person that I was with gave her some food and we listened to her story. She was unable to get into a shelter that night. The shelter “dumped” her off at the corner of Yale and Central. She said that most shelters turn her away and she fends for herself the best that she can. That night she was being followed by a man who was threatening to harm her. There was nothing that she could do about it because the police would never respond to this. She said that she was used to it and would make it through the night.

That evening I tweeted my experience to my followers. A woman responded and said that the situation was normal. Here is the conversation (names removed for safety):

@dailyloco: “A homeless woman said that the shelters are out of space in ABQ…Where are they supposed to go? They are people too!”

Woman: “That is no surprise. Especially single women w/o children. I was homeless one year ago. Went to a shelter. Should have got a tent.”

Woman: “Everything is geared towards men and families. Shelters dump people off downtown at 5 in the morning. In the cold. In the dark.”

Woman: “and even when it’s 10 degrees outside, you are dumped off at ATC or the missions. Only thing, ATC ain’t open at 5a.m.”

@dailyloco: “That’s what she told me. She said that the shelter dumped her off. That is unacceptable and needs to change.”

Woman: “The lack of shelters in the city limits is depressing. Even worse the lack of shelters for women period. We are most vulnerable.”

Woman: “They don’t care. Something about contracts with the city/county. As soon as I found a job, I moved into a motel.”

My mind began racing after this conversation. What is wrong with our world? Is anybody fighting for these defenseless women? How do we spend $100’s of million on road work that saves us 10 minutes on our commute while ignoring the needy? The only difference between me and the homeless is that I have a support structure to fall back on. When I make a mistake, I have somebody to turn to. They don’t have anybody. They made a mistake and ended up on the street. I cannot imagine how hard it is to get off the streets once you are there. I have the utmost respect for the woman who responded to my tweet. She is an inspiration and a voice that we need to hear.

Please take the time to think about how we can fix this problem. Nobody deserves to live on the streets and have no idea where their next meal will come from. The homeless women are targets for violence and rape. They need a shelter specifically for women. I have ideas, but want to hear what you have to say about the issue.

Same-Sex Marriage Legal in New Mexico!!!

December 19

Today is a great day in New Mexico’s history! The New Mexico Supreme Court has declared that Same-Sex Marriage is legal in New Mexico. I am proud of New Mexico for taking a huge step towards equality. Take the time to celebrate today.

New Mexico’s Veterans are entitled to Federally Funded Unemployment Insurance (UCX)


There are many New Mexican’s who have volunteered to serve their country and join the military. They serve their time and return to this beautiful state. They start looking for a job and wonder where their next paycheck may come from. Some of them are unaware that the Federal Government has a program that provides them with unemployment insurance. It is a 100% Federally funded program that costs New Mexico absolutely nothing.Recently discharged members of the military may be eligible for unemployment insurance under the unemployment for ex-servicemembers program (UCX). There are certain requirements that all ex-servicemembers must meet to be eligible for the program.


An individual can receive payment of UCX if they have Federal military service/wages in the base period under New Mexico law (the first four of the last five completed quarters prior to benefit year as provided in NMSA 1978 Section 51-1-42 A or the alternate base period)NMAC 11.3.300.7(U). The individual may be covered by Federal wages alone or in combination with other wages covered under New Mexico law. Federal military service means active service (not including active duty in a reserve status unless for a continuous period of 90 days or more) in the Armed Forces or the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The individual must have completed the agreed upon term of service and received an honorable discharge/release from the respective service. Under certain circumstances the individual may have been released/discharged earlier than the agreed upon term. These circumstances include: convenience of the government early release; medical disqualification, pregnancy, parenthood, or any service-incurred injury or disability; hardship; or personality disorders or inaptitude but only if the service was continuous for 365 days or more.


An individual will make UCX claims in the same manner as any person applying for UI in the state of New Mexico. If the individual makes a claim for UCX benefits, the state will determine if the individual meets the outlined criteria. When a UCX claim is taken, the state will request a copy of the individuals DD-214 and must send an automated “request” to the Federal Claims Control Center (FCCC) to request wage and separation information. This request begins the process that will determine if the claimant has “Federal military service” for UCX purposes. If so, the claimant may use the Federal military service and wages to determine UCX eligibility.


If incorrect information on the DD-214 makes an individual disqualified for UCX, the individual may ask for a correction and redetermination.  The individual will make a written request to Workforce Solutions with any relevant paperwork attached. Workforce Solutions will forward the request to the FCCC. Individuals may request to correct: the beginning and ending dates of their active service period and “days lost”; the type of active duty discharge or release; pay grade at the time of active duty discharge or release; the narrative reason or other reason for separation from active service; and the condition of discharge (if other than honorable). If there is no record at the FCCC, the FCCC will contact the appropriate branch of the military to request a copy of the claimant’s DD 214. If this occurs, NM Workforce Solutions should begin the affidavit process using a copy (other than copy 1) of the claimant’s DD 214.

An individual has the right to appeal using the system put into place by the state of New Mexico. There no specific measures in place for veterans to take if a state fails to comply with the C.F.R.



Once the individual is determined to have Federal military service and wages for the base period determined by New Mexico, the individual is eligible for UCX.  The individuals service/wages will be assigned to New Mexico and will be used to determine the weekly and maximum benefit amount. The computation can be determined using Federal wages alone or in combination with approved wages as per New Mexico law. The Federal government will pay the state based on the ratio of federal wages to state wages. For example, if federal wages are the only wages used in the computation, the Federal government will pay 100%. If federal wages make up half of the computation and state wages make up the other half, the federal government will pay 50%. The individual is required to comply with all state regulations concerning UI.


Currently, it is difficult to determine if the state of New Mexico is in complete compliance with 20 C.F.R. § 614. The state of New Mexico does not currently have a code or regulation that address’s the UCX program.  Neither NMSA 1978 Section 51-1 nor NMAC 11.3.300 mentions federal or military service. Only § 51-1-7(A)(1)(c) has any mention of the military, but the section refers to spouses of military members who are changing stations, being mobilized, or deployed. The NM Workforce Solutions website does not mention the program. There is a veteran’s link on the website that discusses multiple programs, but the site does not address UCX. Many other states mention the program on their websites, explain eligibility requirements, and list required documentation for veterans.


The unemployment rate for veterans is extremely high. In 2012, the unemployment rate for veterans who served in the military from September 2001 to the present (Gulf War era II) was 9.9% compared to non-veterans at 7.9%. Veterans in that category who were between the ages of 18-24 had an unemployment rate of 20.4%. Women veterans (Gulf War era II) had an unemployment rate 12.5% compared to non-veteran women at 7.7%. There are 308 UCX participants currently in the state of New Mexico (week ending May 11, 2013).


Although most veterans know of this program, there are many who do not. New Mexico does not provide clear instructions on the Workforce Solutions website and phone conversations can take hours. The system is very cumbersome and difficult. These veterans need an easier way to access the programs like many other states. Most states provide links and info on their sites. It is time for New Mexico to step up and get with the times.

UNM Offers Single Mom Scholarship- Apply before January 31, 2014!

smsEvery Wednesday the Daily Loco will post opportunities in the community that may not be well known to the public. We ask that you forward these to people who may be in need. If we work as a group, we can change the world.

This week we are featuring The UNM Women’s Resource Center’s Sabrina Single Mothers Scholarship (http://women.unm.edu/what-we-offer/sabrina-single-mothers-scholarship-.html):

The Sabrina Single Mother’s Scholarship is awarded every Spring semester. Applications for the scholarship are available during Fall semester The deadline to apply is January 31, 2014 by 4:00pm. The students selected will receive an award which will be credited to the students’ account during the Spring semester.  A letter of notification will be sent to the student, or students, chosen

Selection Criteria:

  • Available to graduate and undergraduate Single Mothers attending UNM
  • Must be registered for 6 or more credit hours per semester during the academic year
  • Must have cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher
  • Must display financial need
  • Must be sole financial supporter of the family
  • Must submit the following:
    • Unofficial UNM transcript
    • Completed two-page application form
    • Short Essay responding to questions
    • Copy of current tax return or FAFSA application, last 2 pay stubs (if working), and copy of Financial Aid Award
    • 1 Letter of Recommendation – not to exceed one page (Letter will be accepted from an Employment or Volunteer Supervisor, Academic Advisor or Professor)