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Columns

  • 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.

  • Solyndra isn't the whole story

    In the utility room of a wealthy homeowner was a Rube Goldberg-like solar system, impossibly complex. It wasn’t working. In the 1970s, it was my first solar story.
    We’ve come a long way, baby. Now they work, and the biggest obstacle – cost – is going away. Good ol’ American know-how would have risen to the challenge, eventually, but the Chinese beat us to the punch.  

  • Analyze your benefits

    Admit it: You probably spend more time comparison shopping online than reviewing your annual benefits enrollment materials.
    That’s a big mistake because the money you could save by choosing the right employee benefits package probably far exceeds any savings you could get on a big-screen TV.
    For example, many people don’t sign up for an extremely valuable benefit – flexible spending accounts (FSAs).
    If your employer offers them, FSAs let you pay for eligible out-of-pocket health care and/or dependent care expenses on a pre-tax basis – that is, before federal, state and Social Security taxes are deducted from your paycheck.

  • Time to restructure

    As Jerome Block Jr. joins the roster of bad boys and girls forced to leave the state’s Public Regulation Commission, let’s look back and see how we got here.
    In 1996 voters passed a constitutional amendment to combine the State Corporation Commission, whose three members were elected on a statewide basis, and the Public Utility Commission, whose three members were appointed.
    It would be replaced by the Public Regulation Commission, whose five members would be elected by district.
    This super-agency would regulate utilities, phone companies, water and sewer systems, insurance, pipelines, and tow-truck operators.

  • It gets better

    They say death is the great equalizer. We all feel pretty much the same after we die.
    And when a loved one dies, the living all suffer the same pain of loss. And so it was for my friend when Bill died.  
    My friend was inconsolable and there was little anyone could do to ease the torment in his heart. Bill had died of AIDS and Mark was his friend, his life mate, his lover. But not his husband.
    As Tina Turner sang, what’s love got to do with it?
    Mark and Bill had lived together in a loving relationship for more than 20 years (far longer than most heterosexual marriages I know.)  
    The disease that took Bill’s life had been contracted by an infected blood supply, not by infidelity or promiscuity.  

  • Gerrymandering lives on

    Elbridge Gerry had quite a life. Born on July 17, 1744, in Marblehead, Mass., he died 70 years later in Washington, D.C.
    In the intervening years, Gerry graduated from Harvard University, where he immersed himself in classical studies.
    A decade later, he was serving in the Colonial House of Delegates before going on to become a member of the Continental Congress.
    It would be a dazzling political career that put Elbridge Gerry among that select group of American patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence and later among those who served in the new nation’s First and Second Congresses.
    His final triumph came in 1812, when he was elected vice president of the United States under President James Madison.

  • Stepping back from dam power

    Just over a century ago, when William Howard Taft was president and I was a young woman, an entrepreneur named Thomas Aldwell started building a dam in the Northwest woods of the Olympic peninsula in Washington.
    The 108-foot-high Elwha dam became an early hydroelectric powerhouse, helping to fuel population and industrial growth related to activities as varied as forestry and ship-building.  
    Over the following decades more hydro-dams in the West were built.
    Mega-dams like Grand Coulee and Boulder rose across rivers, and the cost for electricity to users dropped sharply.

  • Government only helps

    Here’s the recipe for growing an economy:
    “The growth rate of real per capita output is the sum of the growth rate of real per capita labor input and productivity growth.
    Productivity … is determined by the technology and regulatory structure of the economy and therefore is largely independent of spending policies.”
    The good words come from two economists, Harold L. Cole of the University of Pennsylvania and Lee E. Ohanian of UCLA. Their essay appeared Sept. 26 in the Wall Street Journal.
    Growing real per capita labor input means more people working more. Doing more stuff and doing existing tasks more efficiently grows productivity.
    Companies are doing something about growing real per capita output.