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Columns

  • 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.

  • Johnson on the right track

    Legalize marijuana.
    There! I said it! In public! Conservative me!
    My rationale is simple, though imprecise. The social costs of legal marijuana, however high, would be less than the social costs of illegal marijuana. I have no fancy studies to prove the assertion. But if you look around, especially if you put Mexico in the equation, the conclusion becomes obvious.
    The argument isn’t that the “war on drugs has failed.” I accept the logic, offered me 10 years ago by the Drug Enforcement Administration, that “war” is the wrong metaphor. A “war” means maximum resources are devoted to winning. We have never had a real war on drugs.

  • Martinez, former govs are staying busy...or not

    SANTA FE – As we near the end of the year, let’s pause to see where New Mexico’s political personalities are and what they are doing.
    One of the most frequently asked questions wherever I go is “What’s happening with Bill Richardson these days?” He’s back in the news again for a fourth grand jury probe but for those of you who want to know what he’s doing the rest of the time, Richardson has a website www.billrichardson.com.
    The site tells about our former governor’s recent trip to central Africa and a recent appearance on Meet the Press. Under the heading “Upcoming Engagements” is the note: No upcoming engagements are available currently. Please check back soon.

  • Don’t say I didn’t warn you

    Before you read this article, please read the fine print.
    Well, there really isn’t any fine print. That is to say, the print is fine (whereas the content is as always questionable), but I have no way to reduce the font size. If that were possible, I could get away with saying lots of things that would otherwise place me in serious legal jeopardy.
    Maybe what I need is a disclaimer like the ones you see on the bottom of your TV screen during commercials.
    For instance, have you ever seen the insurance commercial where the guy uses a flamethrower to torch a twelve-foot ball of paper? A disclaimer appears on the bottom of the screen, “Don’t try this at home.”

  • Who watches the watchers?

    SANTA FE — The state Law Enforcement Academy is still having big problems.
    This time it involves police, who have been fired, moving to similar jobs in other communities because the Academy never files statewide charges against the officer.
    The Albuquerque Journal in a copyrighted story has covered the present situation well. The following is a review of what happened three years ago when the academy was called on the carpet. Both times the problem apparently was disinterest by Attorney General Gary King.

  • What is the mission of NM higher education?

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott recently made headlines around the country when he argued that institutes of higher education in his state of Florida should prioritize funding for the study of science and technology in the his state’s institutes of higher education.
    “If I’m going to take money from a citizen to put into education then I’m going to take money to create jobs…so I want the money to go to a degree where people can get jobs in this state,” Scott said. “Is it a vital interest of the state to have more anthropologists? I don’t think so.”

  • Who's in 2nd District again?

    Just a year ago New Mexicans and other Americans were stumbling out of mid-term elections, wondering how a Republican group calling itself the Tea Party would use its powers as the new majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
    Today campaigning is already underway for next year’s elections, which promise to be equally unfathomable.
    The uncertainty is palpable in New Mexico where Democratic and Republicans hopefuls are jousting for seats in Congress and the state Legislature from districts, the shapes of which are unknown.
    It couldn’t be otherwise after Gov. Susana Martinez and the Legislature failed to agree on how to remap the state’s sundry political districts at a special redistricting session this summer.

  • Green up your holiday season

    From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, Americans create 5 million tons of solid waste, the vast majority of which is shopping bags, wrapping paper and holiday cards according to the California Department of Resources Recycling & Recovery.
    Start off your holiday season on a green foot by making a few small changes. It’s easy to get the entire family involved, have fun and decrease the burden on your wallet as well.  To help get you started, the New Mexico Recycling Coalition is providing New Mexicans with a simple list of steps the average resident can take to put the green back into the holidays. View the full list at www.recyclenewmexico.com.
    Below is an excerpt from the full list of things you can do to help reduce waste during the holidays.

  • Agenda must focus on strengthening middle class

    As we enter the final month of the year, it is critical that Congress takes swift action on a number of important issues that will impact people across New Mexico.
    With extended federal unemployment benefits set to expire, a payroll tax cut about to lapse and devastating cuts to Medicare providers ready to kick in, Congress has no time to waste to address these serious issues and take action that will help middle-class families and seniors during this difficult economic time.