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Columns

  • Why you need a social media will

     By most estimates, over half of adult Americans haven’t written a will stating how their assets should be distributed after death. Fewer still have bothered to appoint someone to make financial and health care decisions on their behalf should they become incapacitated. And now we can add another necessary, but probably overlooked legal document: a social media will.
    That’s right, in this age of email, password-protected accounts and social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, the U.S. Government, of all sources, recently pointed out why it’s important for people to leave instructions for how they want their online identities handled after death.

  • Virtute et Veritatem

    Did I ever tell you about my being one of the soldiers raising the flag over Iwo Jima?  Or that I received two silver stars?  And five purple hearts for being wounded in battle multiple times?  I was awarded the US Navy Cross, the US Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross, and I received the US Marine’s Medal of Honor for throwing myself on a grenade and saving the lives of my platoon.
    Oh yeah, I also defended the Alamo, fought in the Battle of Verdun, and led the charge up San Juan Hill.
    Well, maybe I’m stretching the truth a bit.  Okay, outright lying is more like it.  But I’ve got justice on my side!
    Or more accurately, Justices.

  • Gov's plan on health insurance

    Just two days before the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of President Obama’s  health care law, Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration in Santa Fe announced the creation of a task force charged with developing a state health insurance exchange.
    One of the major features of that law, known as the Affordable Care Act, is that each state must institute health insurance exchanges by 2014 for the purpose of insuring a competitive insurance marketplace in the state, offering choices in health plans and assisting consumers in understanding the insurance options available to them.

  • Medicaid debate rises to forefront

    I attended a Medicaid conference in Washington, D.C. on June 27 and 28.  The non-partisan Council of State Governments organized the conference for state legislators to address ongoing growth in Medicaid costs and expected changes in Medicaid programs.  
    This is the first of two columns on Medicaid.  This column discusses the current program.  The next column will discuss Medicaid’s future in New Mexico.  The June 28 PPACA decision by the Supreme Court makes these issues even more timely and important.

  • Right to work right for state

    New Mexico, along with much of the country, still struggles to recover from a recession that began more than four years ago. While the state has benefited from the recent energy boom, states like New Mexico have struggled to cope with the employment consequences of the recession. In response, policy makers have tended to focus on fiscal policies such as tax cuts and “stimulus spending” rather than market structural solutions.

  • What the primary election tells us

    An old saying reminds us that it’s generally a bad idea to preach sermons on attendance.
    Since you are reading this column, you are – obviously – a reader of your local newspaper, which means you stay informed about your community. You probably voted in the recent primary election. Good for you!
    So it’s not necessary to explain to you why voting in primaries is important. I just wonder about some of your neighbors.

  • People who move gain money

    Toward the end of “Wizard of Oz,” Dorothy gets a mantra, “There’s no place like home.” Repeating the mantra helps her get home. Dorothy had taken the action required to know, “There’s no place like home.” She left.
    Those who never leave have no basis for comparing home to anywhere else.
    For high school graduates considering college, my advice continues to be: if you have the money, get out of town. Even better, get out of state.
    The reason is simple: Young people need to know about somewhere other than where they grew up. They need the experience. That experience will teach them why they want to live in New Mexico, or why they don’t.

  • July 4 ­— Not so pet friendly

    The Fourth of July is one of the most stressful and potentially dangerous times of the year for pets.  While you and your family, friends, and neighbors are celebrating the holiday with fireworks, pets are finding these festive activities anything but celebratory.
    Many pet parents assume that if their pet is not afraid of thunder or other loud noises, they will not be bothered by fireworks. This is not necessarily true. Even pets who normally are not bothered by thunder and other loud noises are often frightened and panicked by the cumulative effects of the fireworks, the excited voices outside, and being left alone inside the house.

  • Celebrating the state of N.M.

    This is a holiday week, when we celebrate being an American in our own New Mexican way.
    I give the floor to Paula Tackett, retired director of the Legislative Council Service, who described what it meant to be a New Mexican during the recent Centennial banquet of the Historical Society of New Mexico. Here are her remarks:
    It means often feeling like there is only one degree of separation from each other, because New Mexico is geographically large but really a small community.
    It means that although I was born in Albuquerque, I am privileged to have roots and be a part of this land. My mother was born on a homestead at Three Rivers, right next to the A.B. Fall ranch, and my father came to San Marcial, south of Socorro, as a small boy.

  • Celebrate bringers of better ways

     Molybdenum, the unpronounceable metal, is a timely topic for this holiday eve. And not just for the yellow-green fire that molybdenum adds to fireworks.
    We celebrate the start of cleanup work at the Chevron Questa Mine Superfund Site in Taos County.
    The decades of old-style molybdenum mining and milling near Questa left environmental problems for others to deal with. The current owner of the operations is Chevron Mining. Most of the mess was made by Molycorp, Inc.
    How does mining work? Surface rock is removed to get at the ore. The ore is mined and sent to the mill nearby that extracts molybdenum and leaves behind the tailings to dispose of.