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Columns

  • She's no packaged politician

    Heather Wilson knows her stuff. One would expect that, you might think, given that she represented Albuquerque in the House of Representatives for 10 years.
    Wilson, now a candidate for the U.S. Senate to replace retiring Jeff Bingaman, speaks in depth and detail about the challenges facing the United States.
    The point here is that Wilson is not an all-surface packaged bundle of talking points. Far from it. Further, I don’t see how she can be any more bona fide as a conservative.
    Wilson speaks with passion fueled in part by experiences during the two-plus years after her time in congress ended in 2008 and announcing her Senate candidacy in March of this year.
    I spoke to Wilson in mid-October at her Spartan campaign office in Albuquerque.

  • Protests for jobs fall on deaf Republican ears

    It was hardly surprising but nonetheless disconcerting when Senate Republicans shot down President Obama’s jobs legislation last week, refusing even to let it be debated on the Senate Floor.
    New Mexico’s junior U.S. senator, Democrat Tom Udall, was plainly frustrated. “Last night,” he said, “we again saw Republican opposition and abuse of senate rules to thwart important legislation to help struggling American families and small businesses.”
    When they’re not willfully damaging the economy by threatening to put the nation in default, they’re blocking measures to improve it with job creation measures.
    Impeding economic recovery has become an ill-disguised GOP goal, it would seem.

  • Thanks for the work, now get out

    Since June, 77 state workers have seen their jobs evaporate. Civil service jobs, which
     are usually safe. Some news reports noted the governor’s earlier promises to not lay off state workers, she’s also said more often that state government is over-populated.
    As a new fiscal year approached, with stripped-down budgets, it was time to make the hard decisions.
    In September, Tourism Secretary Monique Jacobson laid off 11 people, including seven of 17 staff members at New Mexico Magazine, and another 16 at Expo New Mexico, one-third of jobs at the State Fair.

  • It could have happened...

    It was one of those foggy eerie days that rarely come in October, and little things had been going wrong all day.
    The front door had blown opened several times, I am quite sure that I had secured it when I closed it after my husband Jerry left for work.
    Then the telephone rang, and when I answered it, I could not quite hear the person on the other end, when I tried to make a phone call several hours later the phone was not working.
    I built a small fire in the fireplace in hope of shrugging off the eerie feeling, and to bring cheer into the house. It was a fruitless effort for an odd gust of wind came down the chimney, not only did the fire go out but ashes were spread across the front room.

  • Troubled PRC in need of a big makeover

    How is the best way to pick our leaders? It is a problem every democracy wrestles with. In our country, we try it two different ways.
    At the federal level, we elect a president and he chooses everyone else. If one of them messes up, the president is responsible so the appointee usually is gone quickly. The result is a team effort.
    At the state level, voters choose a governor, secretary of state, attorney general, auditor, treasurer, land commissioner and five corporation commissioners.
    If one of them messes up, that person is responsible. The governor usually is not well acquainted with the individual. Few voters are acquainted with the individual either. They likely voted based on party line.

  • We are failing children

    When Gov. Martinez came into office back in January, among her top priorities was to turn New Mexico’s failing educational system around.
    To say that it is “failing” sounds harsh, but it describes reality.
    The problem is that, having had two opportunities to move towards fixing the problem, the legislature has thrown up roadblock after roadblock in a (so-far successful) attempt to keep the status quo in place.
    First, the problem: According to the “Diplomas Count 2011” report from the Education Research Center, New Mexico’s real graduation rate is 57.1 percent.

  • Take your best shot

    When I was a youngster in the 1960s, I had all the shots little kids went through back in the day.
    And because I’m a klutz and regularly hurt myself outdoors, I’ve periodically had my tetanus immunity updated. A few years ago I underwent a series of shots for rabies after having a scary adventure with an ill coyote.
    Last summer I got the shingles vaccine when my assistant was suffering from a shingles outbreak.
    And to round it all out, tonight after work I’ll be getting the influenza vaccine for this season’s strains of flu virus.
    My long history of receiving vaccinations – even including the potent shots given for rabies – has not caused me more than temporary discomfort.

  • Tired campaign data

    In 2010, when then U.S. Rep. Harry Teague was running for re-election against Steve Pearce, I checked his campaign website, looking for a position statement on a certain issue.
    I couldn’t get past the front page. To get into the site, the reader had to sign in and provide an e-mail address.
    What? A candidate for public office won’t let an undecided voter look at his position statements?
    I checked again recently.  The “Harry for Congress 2010” website is still online, and you can now click a “skip” button and go to the site without signing in.
    The site doesn’t appear to have been updated since the 2010 election. It looks like a 2010 campaign office frozen in time – but now you can see it.

  • Exercise caution with sports, energy drinks

    This article may not be popular with approximately 100 percent of the adolescents I know.
    To get right to the point, a rigorous review of the medical literature over a nine-year period resulted in a recent policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which stated that caffeine and other stimulants have no place in the diets of children and adolescents.
    Sports drinks and energy drinks are big business worldwide. They are aggressively marketed towards children and adolescents, often for a variety of inappropriate uses.
    A separate study showed that many teens did not know the difference between these two types of drinks, yet they are clearly not the same product.

  • Harold Morgan: If it sounds too good...

    There are promoters — people pushing substantive projects with capital in the bank. Then there are promoters.
    I grew up around the latter kind with the smoke, the mirrors, the hustle and the hot checks. I remember one attempt to build a stock issue around a $350 copper lease.
    In economic development, hopes and dreams play big roles.
    So headlines about the latest “next big things” should bring caution.
    As context for big announcements, complaints float that Gov. Susana Martinez has done little to produce jobs in New Mexico. True enough, I think.
    But the other truth is that governors can do little to “jump start” an economy.