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Columns

  • Gov. will survive emailgate

     SANTA FE — Our new governor has been accident prone recently. At least that is the way members of her administration have explained it. There were oversights, a typo, and a foggy memory. 

    A big uproar was created over the governor’s chief advisor, Jay McCleskey, obtaining a list of non-union teachers from the Public Education Department. That act created a number of controversies. First was preferential treatment. How did McCleskey get a request filled without putting it in writing? 

  • A new way to fight fires?

    SANTA  FE  —  If we don’t improve our firefighting, the Rockies will burn down. Those were the words of retired Los Alamos scientist Chick Keller when interviewed by Capitol Reports.
    Keller has a point. We are not utilizing all the resources our nation has to fight wildfires. Almost every year fires in Western states are setting records for most land burned and that will continue until we get smarter.
    Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) criticized the Forest Service for its handling of the Ruidoso fire that burned over 200 homes. There appeared to be opportunities to stop the fire in its early stages if the right actions had been taken at the right time.

  • The colors of freedom

    “I have profound respect for the one sentence of the Declaration of Independence that I’ve actually read.”  (Author unknown)
     This quote does call to question, “Exactly which sentence do people remember?”  My favorite happens to be “They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.”  It’s not often that you get to use a cool word like consanguinity.  Verisimilitude is another favorite of mine (truly it is).
     Anyway, with Independence Day just around the corner, what better way to commemorate the virtues of freedom than sitting back and enjoying the artful lyrics of “Born to Be a Hick,” “Wax the Booty,” and “Killing Brain Cells?”

  • Celebrating July 4 with your pet

    This Wednesday, most people will spend the day outside celebrating Independence Day watching fireworks with their family and friends.  Often, people bring their dogs to enjoy the day’s festivities.  There are a few things to know if you plan to spend July 4 outside with your pets.
    Dr. Melanie Bolling, veterinarian for the Small Animal Hospital at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, said the most common problem associated with July 4 is dogs’ sensitivity to the noise from the fireworks.

  • When public emails go private

    Last week, Gov. Susana Martinez issued an edict declaring, henceforth, members of her administration would no longer use their private email systems to transact official business of the state.
     Martinez reportedly said even she would abide by her new directive.
    The day following Martinez’s directive, news broke that her former corrections secretary, Lupe Martinez, had given an affidavit stipulating that the governor’s chief of staff actually instructed that private emails be used to circumvent requests for public records.
    Conducting public business by means of private email accounts has been a source of controversy for Martinez from almost the beginning.

  • How to catch a 'Phish'

    Their names may sound funny but their financial consequences are not: “Phishing,” “smishing,” “vishing” and “pharming” are just a few of the ways criminals gain access to personal information via your computer or smartphone. If you’re not careful, identity thieves can use harvested information to open fraudulent bank or credit card accounts, take out loans, rent apartments or even charge medical procedures to your insurance plan.
    Unfortunately, every time the authorities plug one hole, crafty criminals figure out new ways to trick unsuspecting victims. Here are some identity theft scams to watch out for:

  • Income: Lagging peer states

    Staying the slow-growth course was the New Mexico population and income story for 2011. A guess is that slowness will be the 2012 story, too, what with loss of 1,500 jobs in May after nine months of ever so slight year-over-year gains.
    The New Mexico economic pattern is performance better than some states but worse than what might be called our peers — Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma. Real gross domestic product is an example. Real GDP, says the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis, is income plus production costs.
    During 2011, New Mexico GDP grew 0.2 percent, as best as I can see from the computer map. That’s 41st nationally, but one-fifth the performance of the next lowest peer state, Oklahoma.

  • Hall attends several meetings

    This is the fourth in the series on State House District 43.  The district is large, diverse, and filled with active people and events.  This report is necessarily brief and only covers a few events.  
    First, there is now more background information on the Las Conchas fire, the science, and proposed policy and technical responses.  As I mentioned in my special report, one of the major events was the EPSCoR sponsored meeting on “Fire and Water: The Las Conchas Fire”.  The final meeting report is at:   nmfirst.org/_literature_139628/Town_Hall_on_New_Mexico_Fire_and_Water_Final_Report).

  • Knockoffs hurt jewelry industry

    It’s tourism season again. In New Mexico, that means it’s also time for an uptick in purchases of Indian jewelry. But of all the money spent here for jewelry purportedly made by a Native American, about half is fake.
    Visitors flying in to Albuquerque can walk into inviting shops at the airport and not find a single piece of jewelry created by a Native American artisan, according to Bruce Bernstein, executive director of the Southwest Association for Indian Art.
    They will find instead Native American-looking jewelry made in China, Syria and Jordan. This stuff is out there in abundance, even in the epicenter of jewelry making, Gallup.

  • Government can be efficient at times

    SANTA FE — What a great example of governmental efficiency and transparency. With a mere telephone request, Gov. Susana Martinez’s chief political advisor was able to get a list of all nonunion teachers in the state along with their school email addresses.
    It required considerable work by at least two divisions of the Public Education Department. It was done so fast and efficiently that the PED information officer proudly attached an email message that went to his boss, the governor, her chief of staff and, of course, her chief political advisor.