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Columns

  • More than 10 years have past since the feared 2000 disaster

     I remember it like it was yesterday: 9 p.m., Dec. 31, 1999. The world, according to people who knew, would soon end. All of civilization was run by computers, and when 1999 rolled over and became 2000 we would be launched back into the Stone Age.  
    Or at least the Eisenhower years.
    I checked our stockpiled food and water, gathered the family together, built a fire, brought out our most cherished family game, and waited. Ever vigilant.  
    Finally, I dozed off. My son poked my ribs, “Wake up.”

  • Seeking answer to school woes

    Education may be the biggest item of discussion in the 2011 Legislature. That is as it should be. New Mexico’s constitution identifies public schools as the state’s most important service. And it’s almost half the budget.
    But every year, state lawmakers get embroiled in discussing social issues. The media add to the distraction by pushing open government legislation that will help us tell you what is going on up here.

  • Obstacles to state restructuring may be set in concrete

    In the old days, a friend reminisced long ago, we had to move after every election.
    State office buildings were rented, she explained. After the election the new governor could reward political supporters with leases.
    Mediocre facilities, scattered all over the place, imperfectly matched to the needs of their occupants or the public. Short leases.
    With all the talk of reorganization and consolidation, don’t we wish those good old days were back again. Many of New Mexico’s state institutions are now, literally, set in concrete.

  • Stunning vistas and recent storms

    Here’s a classic poem that’s dear to me, both for its manic intensity and its meaning in the natural world. It’s so short you can memorize it right now and always have it at your disposal when you consider news of storms and their destruction.
    “Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand: Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!”
    The poet was Edna St. Vincent Millay. Her lines always come to my mind when heavy rains ravage the West and homes, bridges and roads are swept away by mudflows and flash floods.

  • Seeking the new and novel

    The current Age of Anger feeds on daily news that reports and receives public gripes.
    Mainstream news is a prime venue for bouts between camps of adversaries, called “strategists.”  
    The most public value of the medium, apart from entertaining joy rides or rant fodder, depends on whether its role is understood. What is news and how does it fit in?  
    To explore news, I make up a typical, but imagined, news event. I do it to disrupt political habits.  

  • New year, new time for new business plan

    Writing a business plan is a daunting process to many entrepreneurs, but one that will help find financing and keep a new or existing business on budget and on schedule for growth and development. And it’s worth it — studies show that business owners without a formal plan are three times more likely to close their doors.

  • Happy New Year folks

    I was my mother’s third child and her third son.  I never did understand why parents care so much about the gender of their newborns, but my mother sure did and the entire hospital wing knew it.  
    As the story was told to me, she literally threw a tantrum, throwing things and crying that she had wanted a girl. The nurses even put a pink bracelet on me in an attempt to calm her down.

  • Start slowly with a few dollars each month

    If you dread making New Year’s resolutions because you’re afraid you’ll fall short, take heart: One minor setback doesn’t mean having to write off the rest of the year.
    You’ll probably have more success if you start out with small steps and gain momentum as you go, whether it’s losing weight, lowering debt or boosting retirement savings.
    If your goal is to improve your personal finances, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Our economy is flawed

    Finally, we almost have a new governor. Finally, also, we know the number of New Mexicans, 2,059,179 residing in the state as of April 1, 2010, plus another 8,094 living outside the country.
    We know the state’s rate of population increase, 13.2 percent during the past decade, was half the rate of the 1990 to 2000 decade.
    A good guess, if the Census Bureau’s between-census estimates are anywhere near correct, is that most of our population growth came from making babies. New Mexico holds much less appeal for grownups than do Arizona and Colorado.

  • Elections 2010: An expensive slurry of repeated slams

    On her retirement, a friend dedicated herself to public service and has since served on boards and run for office a few times. In the recent election, she lost her race for county commission.
    “My opponent spent $95,000. $95,000! For county commission! I raised $6,000 from my savings and by asking everyone I knew for money,” she said.
    For the lesser offices, she wonders, how does an ordinary person finance a campaign? Apparently all that cash flowing into races at the top of the ticket also flowed downhill to the well connected.