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Columns

  • Bingaman ponders reelection bid

    We have become such a rancorous lot, we Americans.
    Perhaps that’s why many New Mexicans had a moment’s pause when Jeff Bingaman recently let it be known that he is thinking about not seeking another term in the U.S. Senate come 2012.
    Bingaman is that rare political figure who rarely blows his cool, an isle of balance and sanity in a sea of roiling political waters.

  • Whatever the shortfall, service cuts are looming

    A crowd appeared for the Dec. 2 Legislative Finance Committee meeting. The topic was a new consensus General Fund Revenue Projection. All 16 LFC members were there.
    Eight other legislators had a chair at the front of Room 307 in the Capitol in Santa Fe. House Speaker Ben Lujan sat in a dark corner, almost hidden. Room 307 wasn’t full, as in wall-to-wall full. The audience, scattered around the room, included lobbyists, state staff, and business types.

  • Santa Claus & Mr. Scrooge

    Isn’t it wonderful to have a brief season of good will that even extends into the political world this year? With a new administration headed into Santa Fe, a period of high hopes reigns at least for a few weeks.
    Our major state newspaper feels hearts are so light that it can feature a front page article on our governor-elect’s pajamas. The inference is that readers have little reason to consider anything more important than Susana Martinez’s “sleepy pants” at this time of year.

  • GOP majority = less government

    A Republican renewal in Congress and in statehouses across the nation changes the political dynamic in favor of more limited government.
    But along with restraining runaway spending and checking bureaucratic expansion, there is a real chance to shift the balance of power in education policy from Washington, D.C. back to the states where it belongs
    At least four-dozen new Republicans will enter the House of Representatives and five new Republican senators will take office with a mandate not merely to slow or contain the expansion of federal power, but to roll it back.

  • Same story, second verse

    Are New Mexicans about to get the same story: second verse? During Susana Martinez’s year-long quest for the governor’s office, no one talked publicly about the possibility of her being the GOP vice-presidential nominee two years hence.
    Late in the primary campaign, it became very obvious that state and national GOP leaders had pegged her as their favorite.
    Those of us not in the party structure were very surprised to see her crush four other candidates badly at the Republican pre-primary nominating convention in March.

  • Building a more sustainable town

  • Forget taxes, deficits, debt - it’s time for a family movie or two

    Nothing like Christmas to test our fragile American psyches.
    While times remain hard for millions of us, stores have amped up the gift-giving hype because, well, they’ve been hit by hard times, too. What better way to make up for a hard year than by sending us the message that if we really, really care for someone...kaching! Guilt makes the sales soar, si?

  • Spirits of budgets past

    All this talk about budget cutting conjures up images of Aubrey Dunn Sr. As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee back in the 1970s, he kept a hatchet on the table to remind his committee members – and everyone else – what they were there for.
    I’m imagining two ghosts of budgets past hovering over Roundhouse deliberations – Dunn and the equally no-nonsense John Mershon, once chairman of the Legislative Finance Committee and the House Appropriations Committee. Both hailed from Otero County, both were fiscally conservative Democrats.

  • Hard-fought rules add oil field jobs

      People dearly want a lasting supply of clean air  and water. The answer is pollution control.    
    As more people make and use more stuff, pollution  sources grow to need more controls. The controls add jobs in the pollution  controls industry. The bonus is more of the clean air and water people  want.
    In mid-October, a black headline glared from  the Albuquerque Journal. It read: “Jackpot in the Oil  Patch - State Rules Helped Politically Connected Players.”  

  • Stressing toward retirement is a dicey proposition

    The Los Angeles Times reported recently on a new study that almost certainly caused a lot of readers to chuckle and say, “Duh.”
    It seems investigators have discovered that among the health benefits people experience following retirement is a marked reduction in mental and physical stress, according to the study published last week in the British Medical Journal.
    Hello? How could it be otherwise? Name a job from which one might retire that doesn’t induce some measure of physical or mental stress, if not a bit of both.