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Columns

  • ACA is bad for the state

    The U.S. Supreme Court will shortly discuss the ACA, the latest abbreviation for the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act of 2010, pejoratively named Obamacare. Defenders of the law like State Senator Dede Feldman say the law is good for both New Mexico and the U.S. They argue that a) it brings lots of money into our state; b) creates new jobs; c) increases insurance coverage; and d) eliminates the exclusion for pre-existing condition.
    ACA may bring large buckets of federal dollars into New Mexico, but that money will be spent on bureaucracy, not on patients. ACA is likely to increase jobs – 38,000 to 47, 000 new bureaucrats, regulators, insurance adjusters, IRS investigators, and compliance officers, but not one new nurse or doctor.

  • Surprises at Dem convention

    New Mexico Democratic and Republican activists have lately busied themselves with something called pre-primary nominating conventions.
    These conventions go way back in state history, although there were a couple of decades between 1975 and 1995 when they fell into disuse.  
    By 1996, however, pre-primary conventions had been reinstituted and every election year since, roughly two months before June primary elections, delegates of the two major parties congregate to listen to endless speeches and, more importantly, to designate which of the candidates running for their nominations to sundry state and national offices have top spot on their primary ballots.

  • Constitution has its problems

    “Organic law” failed to deeply penetrate my consciousness the first time or two or three I saw the phrase on page 26 of “Governing New Mexico,” the text used in university political science classes.
    At some point, however, I underlined the entire sentence, “New Mexicans have a chronic problem with their organic law, as we shall see.”
    The most recent look at the sentence came as the New Mexico First town hall approached. New Mexico First (nmfirst.org) is a “talk shop.” Citizens gather to consider topics defined to be important and produce policy recommendations. The topic for the coming meeting, March 22 and 23 in Albuquerque, is “Learning from our past. Planning our future.”

  • Redistricting stretches lawmakers

    Redistricting is over. A tense special legislative session, followed by lawsuits, followed by disagreement between the Supreme Court and the judge appointed to sort it all out confirms that nobody will be entirely happy with the new districts.
    As Sen. Bill Payne said at one point, “Every plan we get down here, we’ll think somebody’s thumb was on the scale.”
    The 2000 redistricting was also far from perfect. Then Senate President Pro Tem Richard Romero, a Democrat, cut a deal with Republicans to protect incumbents, said Sen. Dede Feldman, D-Albuquerque. So the 2000 redistricting didn’t adequately reflect growth and change in the state.

  • Lives cut down too soon

     With all the coverage of Whitney Houston’s unfortunate death, it reminded me of what another celebrity said recently. In an interview about his life, George Clooney said that his uncle’s death had been a huge turning point in his life, for one reason. His uncle, a smoker, drinker and general “hick” had died of lung cancer. One of the last things he uttered was “what a !@$!@ waste.” It made George look at his own life, and be determined not to lie on his death bed and utter the same words. Since then he’s been an active, and celebrated, activist and advocate for those in the most terrible situations worldwide.

  • Saving the most abused kids

    Families who adopt children are scrutinized within an inch of their lives by social service agencies. Foster families, who care for children temporarily, are also examined for qualifications.  But any pair of idiots can make a baby. At least once in your life, you may have muttered to yourself that somebody ought to require licensing before horrible people are allowed to have children.
    Some parents mistreat their children in ways the rest of us could not even imagine.  Those parents were probably mistreated themselves, and their children will probably grow up to mistreat the next generation of children, and we call that the cycle of abuse.  

  • Spaceport may head elsewhere

    The New Mexico Legislature’s failure, once again, to expand liability protection for the space industry may send our $200 million Spaceport investment down the drain. Trial lawyers again were the major culprit.
    The Spaceport’s major competitors, Florida, Texas, Virginia and Colorado, already have passed the necessary legislation. New Mexico passed limited legislation in 2010, holding harmless spaceflight operators from lawsuits in case of accidents.

  • Keep the green faith

    In New Mexico, observing St. Patrick’s Day is usually relegated to drinking green beer.  But if you live in or near New York City, you are inundated with the news of the parade for most of the months of January and February.  Every year, the LGBT community sues to seek permission to march in the parade.  And every year, the religious wrong prevents them from joining the festivities.
      In case you aren’t up on your acronyms, LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered.  You know, those abominations of nature that are trying to destroy the very foundations of our way of life?

  • Initiatives take center stage

    I have to admit that some county council meetings are pretty boring,  and almost all of them are too long. Sometimes we discuss headline-worthy topics, such as the Trinity Site development or the N.M. 502 redesign, but often they are pretty mundane items about renewing a cement work task order contract, which is about as interesting as it sounds (although task order contracts ARE important!).

  • All about 'wasteful pork'

    Wasteful pork!
    It makes a good headline, doesn’t it?
    How about this one: Governor slashes funds to poorest counties!
    Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed $23 million in the $130 million bill. She is correct that our capital outlay system is unfair and inefficient, but you might say the same of her lengthy list of vetoed projects.