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Columns

  • Statehood events begin

    Most New Mexicans likely are aware that New Mexico celebrates its 100th birthday on Jan. 6.
    Few New Mexicans, at this point, seem aware that the centennial celebration already has started.
    That’s the way it usually happens. To avoid a one-day celebration, start early and keep it going for a year or more.
    New Mexico is no exception. Gov. Susana Martinez kicked off the festivities in Las Cruces back on Aug. 28.
    That was followed by an executive order on Sept. 1 directing all state agencies to promote the centennial.
    Union Pacific is adding to the celebration by sending one of its vintage locomotives steaming through New Mexico Nov. 4-9 from Tucumcari to Lordsburg.

  • Recession over? 6,000 jobs vanished last year

    For more than a year, New Mexico has had 6,000 more people working than we thought we had. Or not.
    If that sounds odd, it is odd. Maybe even another reason to distrust “the government,” one part of which is the source of dilemma.
    Another piece of the government, the Legislative Finance Committee called it a “perceived error.”
    I’ll explain. But first step back to a bigger picture.
    We are all, people and organizations, measured by our accounting systems.
    For people, the accounting measures might start with the amount of cash in the pocket, step up in sophistication to a checking account, then to computer tracking of spending and income and go from there.

  • I'm living with it, not dying from it

    What happens when a cheerleader loses her pom-poms, or a Wall Street protester loses their sign, or Tigger just loses his bounce.
    All of us, when pushed to the limit, lose our hope, our drive, our energy.
    In the face of a cancer diagnosis, there can be courage, determination and cockiness in the face of adversity, but fighting cancer is no picnic, and it consumes all your strength. So what happens when it consumes your life, when you live with cancer as a chronic disease ... when you’ve just been diagnosed with cancer for the third time in five years.
    Then life can suddenly seem as though its determined to undermine you, and the only thing to do is throw in the towel and say, “oh well, I guess I’m just screwed.”

  • PAYT is harmful and inequitable

    In the Nov. 3 Los Alamos Monitor, there is a View Point discussing claimed environmental benefits for the “Pay-As-You-Throw” (PAYT) rate structure for trash pickup.
    Contrary to the conclusion of that writer, the PAYT system is an environmentally harmful system and is also inequitable for the following reasons:

  • Calling loudly for change

    It’s no coincidence that the big banks backed away from new debit card fees.
    The Occupy Wall Street protesters are just one manifestation of broad discontent.
    The Occupy phenomenon is fascinating on several levels.
    Journalists write every day about wrongs and injustice, hoping that somebody will care enough (or be embarrassed enough by the glare of publicity) to do something.
    We’ve seen the poor catalogued in increasing numbers, and we know food banks and nonprofits are scrambling to care for them.
    We also know – and Warren Buffett confirms – that the wealthy get a pretty good shake, taxwise.

  • Forecast has glimmer

    The New Mexico economy is not “rocketing” to recovery, claims by headlines in Albuquerque notwithstanding. Nor is any explosive takeoff expected.
    Growing some is what the state is doing. That is expected to continue, though getting back to 2 percent annual job growth isn’t even in the intermediate-term cards, much less being a near-term prospect.
    This modest assessment of the state comes from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the Department of Workforce Solutions and from the state’s consensus revenue estimate, released Oct. 19 by the Legislative Finance Committee.
    Mark Snead, Denver-based vice president and branch executive for the Kansas City Fed, has the happy situation of not being bound by other guys’ numbers.

  • Sitting on our historical assets

    In Texas for work and play, we see the scorched mesquite remaining from their wildfires.
    Hundreds of miles of dead trees guarantee more fires to come. But the icy fingers of the recession haven’t chilled Texas as they have New Mexico.
    As usual, I can’t resist studying how Texas does things – in this case, tourism.
    I’m here to see Fort Griffin, or what’s left of it, perched above the Clear Fork of the Brazos.
    The grounds are spacious and even include a small herd of Texas longhorns.
    “They’re just big puppy dogs,” says the visitor center staffer, who assures us we can just walk around them.
    Every fort has a story to tell, but they’re not just a history lesson.

  • ISO: A bridge to modern self regulation

     Rainfall is like regulation. Too little or too much of either is bad news for the economy.
    The flood of bad news these days begs for new paths to take.
    One prospect is self-regulation with a modern twist. The task is for an industry to regulate itself and self-enforce effective rules on all of its members. Experience says the task fights against human nature.
    More human nature says that camps fight against anything from outside their camp that restricts how things are done.
    Human nature will never change, so how can regulation be made effective and efficient?
    One way is by changes that make different use of human nature. How might industry really self-enforce its own regulations and why might it work for a large problem?

  • Leisure pool logic

    I have been on the Los Alamos County Council for just over 100 days. I have to admit that it sometimes seems like 100 years, and that each council meeting, 100 hours long.
     I have learned much in this time about county operations and those challenges and opportunities facing us.
    It is my duty to be responsive to your queries and comments and to follow-up with staff, but I have also learned that my main task on council is not to be the investigative reporter for the Los Alamos Monitor; my main obligation, my “real job,”  is to think hard about and to help set long-term direction for the county.

  • Wilson on spending, healthcare, regulation and national security

    This is the second of two columns sharing my mid-October conversation in Albuquerque with Heather Wilson, former congresswoman and Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate.
    Morgan: What are your observations about the financial challenges facing the country?
    Wilson: (President Obama has) chosen to make this a political issue rather than trying to figure out what’s right to do for the country and start working to figure out how we’re going to bridge these gaps and get back on the right path to something that’s fiscally sustainable.
    I just found that tremendously disappointing. So it does require the political will to say we will do what is best for the country.