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Columns

  • Regulatory arts and sciences: Committee gathers new ideas

     Rules have always been essential to sports, society and the economy. Regulation is the process of using rules. As with any process, a focus on efficiency pays off.   
    Big-time tennis nowadays settles disputed line calls with a tool called Hawk-Eye. In 10 seconds, the system’s computer reconstructs the ball’s flight from sets of camera data and shows the line and landing spot on the big screen. Fans cheer for the gee whiz verdict and tennis resumes.
    In the old days, a close line call was the start of John McEnroe’s barking infamies at the chair umpire in three-minute-long tirades. Remember?
    The McEnroe model still reigns in the regulatory world. In stark contrast, efficiency depends on Hawk-Eye ideas.

  • Future dreams take financial planning

    I have never met a mom who wasn’t working - or any other woman for that matter. More than ever before women are handling their own or their family’s finances. It’s not about what you have; it’s what you do with it to secure your future.
    We all have unique needs and resources, but everyone wants to protect what they’ve worked so hard to acquire. It’s all about taking what you have, making the most of it, and building a solid financial future that is uniquely yours.
    A woman has different financial needs than a man. Everyone must face the good news that women live longer and the potentially bad news that they will spend more years in retirement than the last generation.

  • Business people our best hope

    It is no accident that aspiring GOP presidential candidates are focused on our economy — or rather what needs to be done to get it back into good shape.
    Almost three years into a devastating recession, precipitated by the mortgage loan debacle of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and made worse by the fiscally irresponsible policies of both the congress and Obama administration, there has been very little recovery.
    And the painful consequences of lost jobs, reduced wages and a problematic future for millions of Americans are hurting people in ways unimaginable just three years ago.
    I’ve been heard to say publicly that free markets routinely rise and recede, and that politicians don’t really create jobs, businesses do.

  • Gary Johnson’s curious campaign for president

    It has now been almost a month and a-half since former Gov. Gary Johnson announced his candidacy for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, yet it’s still unclear why he’s running.
    A Gallup poll last week attempted to measure the name recognition among rank and file Republicans of the real or rumored potential candidates for the party’s nomination.
    Johnson came in dead last, trailing even a former pizza chain executive, Herman Cain, who recently made it official that he also seeks the GOP nomination.

  • Happy Valentine's Day

    Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy Memorial Day! Have a wonderful Fourth of July and a great Mother’s Day!
    What’s that you say? Memorial Day has passed us by and it’s not July yet?
    Well, why must our lives be so regulated that we can only celebrate something on a single day? There’s no law against giving your sweetheart a box of chocolates in June.
    If you feel patriotic, wave the flag and stoke up that barbeque in December. Send your mother a card every month telling her how much you love her. And seriously, is there any good reason to only celebrate Isaac Newton’s birthday just once a year?
    Okay, so maybe we don’t want kids randomly showing up at our doorstep asking for candy every other weekend.

  • Much may happen behind scenes

    Susana-PAC has been formed to help elect courageous state and local leaders committed to the types of reforms that will move New Mexico forward.
    We were all rather surprised when former Gov. Bill Richardson kept his political action committee going strong even after he won his second term as governor and dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
    But now Gov. Susana Martinez has taken the idea a step further. First she used leftover PAC money from her campaign to buy radio ads and make robocalls to promote her legislative agenda.
    Now she has created a second PAC to help fund state and local candidates who agree with her issues. What are those issues?

  • Germany takes first big step toward renewables

    Everybody remembers where they were the day of JFK’s assassination and the day the towers fell in New York City.
    Some of us also remember where we were in March 1979 when the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant suffered mechanical failures.
    At the first news, a PNM coworker and I dashed down the street to read the reports clacking out of an Associated Press teletype machine. PNM was and still is part owner of a nuclear power plant.
    The furor decimated the nuclear industry with plant cancellations and new regulatory hurdles, and it was particularly painful for New Mexico. Grants, the uranium capital, slipped from boom to bust as mine after mine closed until they were all shuttered.

  • Death by mushrooms

    It’s a classic plot device of murder mysteries: an evil killer slips poisonous mushrooms into the frying pan of an unsuspecting victim who dies an agonizing death.
    But in real life, poisonous fungi typically sicken and occasionally kill people for quite different reasons.
    Recently I learned a lot about what can go wrong in the world of mushrooms from Dr. Denis Benjamin, a medical doctor who is also a fungi and poison expert.
    As the weather improves over so much of the nation, this seems like a good time to review how you can avoid having yourself or members of your family join the ranks of those who eat the wrong mushrooms.

  • What’s government really supposed to do?

    Some things are outside the proper scope of government. That much is clear to me.
    But like what? Specific examples are easy. At the federal level, there are ethanol subsidies, nearly everything that happens in the bedroom and specification of the graphics for street signs in neighborhoods. For the latter, see my post at www.capitolreportnm.com.
    At the state level, I’ve been making suggestions for a couple of years in the largely unsuccessful hope of inspiring what is now the Martinez administration. One is closing, for cost reasons, the El Camino Real International Heritage Center, located four miles off Interstate 25 in the middle of nowhere.

  • Take action right now

    A fellow who thought of himself as a political reformer approached a friend of mine, a former legislator, one January to ask for support for a large group that planned to visit to the Roundhouse during the legislative session.  
    “Whom do you plan to talk to?” my friend asked.  
    “Everyone,” the man replied.   
    “What do you plan to talk about?” my friend asked.  
    “Everything.”  
    In other words, advocacy for general principles, not specific bills.
    Whoops! Bad plan, bad timing. The gentleman was wasting his time and proposed to waste other people’s time as well.