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Columns

  • Martinez riding high

    SANTA FE — Despite a few slips, Gov. Susana Martinez is riding high in New Mexico and national popularity polls.  Both Public Opinion Strategies and Rasmussen recent polling show Martinez with at least 60 percent popularity in recent months.
    The latest big news for our governor is her inclusion in a top-ten list compiled by Washington Post columnist Aaron Blake. His choices are evenly split between parties. Four are from the Mountain West — New Mexico, Colorado, Montana and Nevada.
    Blake says his rankings take into account all factors in determining how successful governors have been — from approval rating to difficulty of what they have attempted to do legislatively to the political bent of their states.

  • Getting a 'F' in economics

    The end of the school year is just over a month away and most students are already busy making plans for the summer.  A visit to the grandparents in Montana.  Some time on the California beach with friends.  Whitewater rafting down the Colorado River.  Perhaps a trip out to Europe to see if the Tower of Pisa is still standing?
    But for graduating seniors, the horizon beckons a new sunrise, a new horizon, a new challenge.
    College,right?
    Well, not exactly.  After the acceptance letters and college selections, the real challenge is that crinkly green stuff that colleges demand in return for an education.  What’s that called again?

  • Monthly District 43 update

    This is the second monthly column discussing a few of the concerns and issues that have come to me in New Mexico House District 43 in the past 30 days.  It is a short column intended to recognize both the diversity and community in this beautiful part of Northern New Mexico. If anyone in District 43 has state government issues (1) that are referenced in the column or (2) are not being addressed, I welcome questions or comments.

  • Tracing roots to Mexico

    Some 2010 Census numbers report where New Mexico’s Hispanics trace their origin. That Hispanics are 46 percent of New Mexicans isn’t news. Add Native Americans (9.4 percent), African Americans and Asians, and New Mexico is a majority minority state by a fair margin.
    Of our Hispanics, 62 percent in 2010 trace themselves to Mexico. The percentage was 43.1 in 2000. That’s news.
    A mere 37 percent of Hispanics are those of the northern villages who provide the conventional image of New Mexico. These folks trace themselves to Spain or simply say they are “other.”
    The census questions were: “Is this person of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin?” and “What is this person’s race?”

  • VP Martinez? Don’t mention it

    Presidential election years are fraught with traditions masquerading as “news” and Gov. Susana Martinez has been caught up in one of the most durable of them.
    They take many forms, these traditions, and they assert themselves at different stages in the selection of the major parties’ presidential nominees. Their persistence, however, is because political journalists attached to major news outlets dutifully resurrect them on cue every four years.
    With Mitt Romney having now nailed down the 2012 Republican nomination, we are once again at that point where the Great Mentioners of Mediadom entertain themselves with speculation about the  putative GOP nominee’s options for a vice presidential running mate.

  • Tales of the Pajarito Plateau

    The natural history of the Pajarito Plateau, home to Los Alamos, is as rare as its human history.
    Peggy Pond Church lived on the plateau for years in intervals, first with her father, Ashley Pond II, who founded the Los Alamos Ranch School and whose name is on Ashley Pond, then later with her husband, Fermor Church.
    In 1943, the plateau was a backdrop to suddenly different residents. The panorama is captured in sharply similar words from separate times.
    Peggy Pond, the fledgling poet and author, wrote  in 1914:

  • Should you adjust your tax withholding?

    Now that tax day has passed, chances are you’re either waiting patiently for your 2011 tax refund to arrive, it’s already been spent, or you just wrote the U.S. Treasury a check and are in budget-cutting mode.
    It’s difficult to calculate exactly how much you’ll owe in taxes unless your income and family situation are identical from year to year. But going more than a few hundred dollars above or below your final tax bill is not a good idea: A big refund means you’ve been giving the government an interest-free loan, while significantly underpaying means you may have to pay costly penalties and interest on the amount.

  • Johnson now a contender

    Gary Johnson hasn’t forgotten who he is.
    Maybe our former governor couldn’t elbow his way into Republican presidential debates, but he hasn’t been ignored by the media.
    Recently, he was even on the Comedy Channel’s “Colbert Report,” where he held his own with comedian-satirist Stephen Colbert – no easy feat. I once harpooned Johnson’s rambling speeches and off-topic digressions, but today’s he’s a poised speaker who communicates clearly and stays on message. The political caterpillar has become a butterfly.

  • State lacks Billy the Kid statues

     Now that New Mexico finally has a statue of Pat Garrett, our state’s best known lawman, Lincoln County War researcher Mike Pitel notes that the score on Billy the Kid statues is Texas: 2, New Mexico: 0.
    We recently mentioned San Elizario, Texas, just down the river from El Paso, has erected a Billy the Kid statue in its business district designed to increase tourist traffic to the village. Then there is a statue of the Kid and a small museum in Hico, Texas and a grave marker in nearby Hamilton, Texas.

  • Humans against the aliens

    Kids surround me. Kids from ages 5 to 17 surround me.  I have some in my house and then a bunch at my workplace. Because their ages vary so much I have different behavioral expectations for each of them. I expect that my 5 year old will behave differently than my 15 year old- I expect this, doesn’t mean it is true.  It seems the older they get the higher the expectation.