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Columns

  • New Hispanic leader needed

    Redistricting never turns out how you think it will, warned Michael Davis, vice president of political programs for the Washington D.C.-based Business and Industry PAC.
    One demographic could trump lines drawn on a map, here and across the nation – immigration reform.
    “Republicans are in trouble with Hispanics,” Davis said, and in the last five years, Hispanics have outpaced every other group in population growth – by large margins. “Every year for the next 20 years, there will be 500,000 new Hispanic voters turning 18. It will play a large, deciding vote in elections.”  
    In New Mexico that increase was 16 percent and in Texas, 20 percent. Davis predicts Texas will be a blue state by 2020.

  • Alzheimer's is tough on caregivers

    No doubt about it: when someone you love is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or some other cause of dementia, it’s a crushing blow.
    Not only must you face the fact that your loved one has a degenerative and ultimately fatal condition, you also have to deal with a plethora of increasingly strange behaviors. Mother tells the same story 50 times a day and wanders the house all night, or dad compulsively loads and then unloads the dishwasher.
    Or your devoted spouse of 30 years is suddenly convinced you’re cheating on him with the next-door neighbor.

  • A new day of infamy

    The United States has endured and suffered through days of triumph and tragedy. Among the latter have been the stock market crashes of Sept. 28-29, 1929; Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941; John Kennedy’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963; and, of course, Sept. 11, 2001, which needs no elaboration.
    Joining that infamous collection will be Aug. 2, 2011.
    On that day, Congress passed and U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law legislation raising the debt ceiling and borrowing capacity of the United States while making about $1 trillion of spending cuts to its already swollen deficit-ridden budget.

  • Energy key to development

    “You couldn’t pick a better industry to concentrate on.”
    Energy was the topic for Jim Peach. His audience was the interim Economic and Rural Development Committee.
    The Aug. 2 meeting was in Grants at the Cibola County Convention Center, which doubles as the county office building. Or maybe the county offices double as the convention center. Unlike the committee’s July meeting in Santa Rosa, a sign on the door said the committee was inside.
    Peach spoke “from an economist’s perspective,” a good thing since he is a New Mexico State University economist. His focus was uranium, the appropriate emphasis given Grants’ location in the heart of the Grants Uranium Belt.

  • Fire column was flamingly arrogant

    We were shocked to read the self-righteous, condescending “ViewPoint” column written by Kathleene Parker in Sunday’s paper entitled “Understanding Fire Dynamics.”
    While Ms. Parker clearly has knowledge of the fire history of New Mexico, her writing suggests that this knowledge is purely academic, which is where the problems with her piece arise.
    She got off to a bad start by questioning when mountain homeowners will “get it.”  As mountain homeowners, we find that remark incredibly offensive. We all “got it.” We had cleared and thinned for years, and had large defensible spaces around our homes.  Our neighbors did too.

  • Bad processes make for bad laws

    Blackmail rarely produces any good.  
    Never was that more apparent than last week when Congress passed and the president signed legislation pulling the United States back from the brink of defaulting on its debts.
    Heretofore, the debt limit had routinely been raised in a straightforward manner, with Congress hiking the limit without other encumbering legislative attachments to frustrate the process.   
    That is not how it was this time, thanks to the intransigence of that large class of freshman House Republican who demanded that any hike in the debt level must be accompanied by commensurate cuts in spending.

  • The markets and your nest egg

    Whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, or whether you like it or not, what’s going on in the financial markets affects us all.
    On Aug. 4, we saw the Dow Jones Industrial average drop more than 500 points, the worst one- day drop since December 2008.
    Not even a better-than-anticipated jobs report released the next day allayed fears — the market at one point dropping by as much as 200 points and ending in positive territory only when good news about the Italian economy was announced.
    But last week’s overall market loss has the unwanted distinction of being one of only three weeks since World War II that has had a weekly decline of this magnitude.

  • Governor keeping state government lean

    Gov. Susana Martinez has pleased almost everyone with her trimming of political appointees in state government. The only people not happy are a few politicos who hoped for jobs.
    The target number for Martinez originally was to cut appointees from over 500, which former Gov. Bill Richardson had during most of his administration, to the 320 former Gov. Gary Johnson had before he left office.
    But focus by Republicans on Richardson’s appointees, beginning over a year ago, caused Richardson to start cutting his appointees back so it wouldn’t be a campaign issue and wouldn’t tarnish his legacy.

  • Understanding fire dynamics

    There is a personal irony associated with the Las Conchas and Cerro Grande fires.
    Meanwhile, the jury is out on forest recovery and what the future holds for unburned parts of our beloved Jemez Mountains, especially if prolonged drought, a return to drier norms or, as many fear, global warming, continue the wildfire legacy begun with the 1996 Dome Fire.
    Las Conchas also begs the question of when mountain homeowners will “get it,” that they must realize that that proliferation of often sick, stunted trees snuggled near their homes is dangerous — and unnatural.  
    Too, there is the dangerous trend in many subdivisions of narrow, winding roads bordered by heavy timber.

  • Memories from Nagasaki

    NAGASAKI  1945 — Decision time had come. Do we invade the main islands of Japan or do we drop atomic bombs? There were strong feelings on both sides.
    But most of our political and military leaders came down on the side of the bomb. America was heavily committed to the Manhattan Project.
    It had cost $2 billion and had been run on a breakneck, two year schedule to be ready prior to the Japanese invasion.
    We’d done it. The bombs were ready. As Robert Oppenheimer, the project’s scientific director, put it “The decision (to use the bombs) was implicit in the project.”