.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Columns

  • Better cookies through science

    One of the best parts of baking for me as a kid was the process of “helping” my mama roll out and cut cookie shapes for the oven.
    At this age I know that I actually hindered her work and she was just being kind in letting me participate, but at the time I thought I was an aide in the process of transforming a lump of material into a thin sheet of ginger-rich dough that we could cut up into the barnyard animals of which I was so fond – and for which we had many different cutter shapes.

  • Have a feel good day

    Each weekend, I sit down and pour out my frustrations on the insanity of the world around me.  
    My friends keep telling me that they’re amazed at how many things I can write about and they ask me how I do it.  
    The secret rests on two simple truths.
     First, I’m willing to write about anything and everything regardless of the fact that I know absolutely nothing about the subject.  
    I’m an incarnation of the old adage that advice is cheap because supply exceeds demand.  
    Would you like for me to tell you my “expert” opinion on the economic plight of rutabaga farmers in Uruguay?  
    Or have me write on the ridiculous claims by some people that Uruguay even grows rutabagas?

  • President Roosevelts in the news

    Teddy Roosevelt has long been a popular president.
    Recently he has become even more so as President Barack Obama and presidential hopeful Gary Johnson have compared themselves to him.
    In his effort to prod more tax money out of the rich, President Obama has likened himself to Teddy the trust buster, going after greedy Wall Street robber barons.
    For his part, our former governor, Gary Johnson has taken a very different tack. He compares his adventuresome lifestyle to what Roosevelt termed his strenuous life of hunting, boxing, rowing and exploring. So far the comparison hasn’t done Johnson much good.

  • Wanted: Jobs, jobs, jobs

    What is the secret to creating jobs? Candidates promise it is their top priority but when legislative sessions roll around, conversations turn elsewhere.
    Blogger Joe Monahan is compiling a list. Most of the suggestions presented to far have involved the construction industry or the film industry.
    Both of those industries provide somewhat seasonal jobs. But with the state of our state economy, seasonal jobs are just fine.
    The state has a big pile of capital outlay money sitting around but disagreements in the regular and special sessions this year prevented most of the money from being spent.

  • Rats are decent little souls

    The more we learn about animals, the more complex and interesting is the behavior they exhibit.
    My faithful mutt-from-the-pound, a dog named Buster Brown, impresses me from time to time with complex behaviors aimed at getting what he wants out of me. Most people who live with animals can tell you a tale or two of diabolical — or thoughtful – animal behavior they’ve witnessed.
    But even knowing all that, a recent study on lab rats took me by surprise. The research makes it clear that rats empathize with one another and will actively work to help one another.
    Here’s the scoop that was recently published in the prestigious journal Science. The work was done by Peggy Mason of the University of Chicago with the help of colleagues.

  • State government escapes major disruption

    By hook, crook, shifting from Peter to Paul, and hundreds of millions of federal stimulus dollars, state government survived, without major operational disruption, three years of less money coming into the general fund, the states principal pot of operating money.
    The period ended with the 2011 fiscal year (FY 11) that closed June 30 of this year.
    Survival came through easing down spending 3 to 4 percent per year for four years, said David Abbey, Legislative Finance Committee director.
    Abbey spoke Dec. 15 at the annual legislative outlook conference of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute.
    The overall spending cuts ended with FY 11. For the current year (FY 12, ending June 30, 2012), the state has gotten lucky.

  • Succession law may still be useful for N.M.

    Gov. Susana Martinez is fond of crossing into El Paso frequently for a few hours to visit family, and this has brought some public attention to the “traveling governor” provision of New Mexico’s Constitution.
    A sentence in Article 5, Section 7, says:  “In case the governor is absent from the state, or is for any reason unable to perform his duties, the lieutenant governor shall act as governor, with all the powers, duties and emoluments of that office until such disability be removed.”  
    Emoluments, even!
    Maybe, some folks are saying, this horse-and-buggy provision is obsolete in the era of instant communication.  

  • Agents of change

    Three weeks into her job last year, Secretary of Education-designate Hanna Skandera had a teachable moment in the Capitol elevator.
    In a chance conversation, a woman told Skandera that she left the teaching profession because there was no recognition of excellence; her students were performing well, but next door, another teacher who was just marking time earned more because of longevity.
    “We have no way to acknowledge their excellence in a meaningful way,” Skandera said last week, speaking to business leaders. “How do you capture the art and science of teaching?”

  • Bandelier, Valles Caldera set management example

    With our public forest lands increasingly vulnerable to devastating forest fires, many people have begun to question the competence of the U.S. Forest Service.  
    But this agency is unquestionably skilled in irritating citizens and harming businesses with steadily growing numbers of restrictions to public forest land.
    Some of these restrictions appear to be arbitrary and poorly justified.  
    The closure of the Jemez Las Conchas burn scar to all entry is a case in point.  This appears to be an unwarranted and bewildering overreaction.  
    Only 19 percent of the burn scar was severely burned and more have half was either lightly affected or untouched by fire.  

  • O palm tree, o palm tree in Phoenix

    SANTA FE – Does Christmas season seem different to you this year?
    I’ve noticed a difference so far. In the past we’ve seen grumpy old men complain about how Christmas has been stolen away from Christians and how Christmas is so commercial that the true meaning has been lost.
    This year we hear every day about how well retail sales are going and how much higher they are over last year. And now, Black Friday has been augmented by Cyber Monday, and two weeks later, Green Monday.
    But the biggest difference is the Republican presidential race. With caucuses and primary elections getting started immediately after the New Year, there doesn’t seem to be time for a Christmas break.