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Today's Opinions

  • NM’s tendency to whine rates high

    “Tendency to whine” should be a business-climate rating category. New Mexico’s tendency to whine probably would be high.
    Just before Thanksgiving there was news that New Mexico has the second worst state business climate for construction contractors. So says the Associated Builders and Contractors, a national trade group. Only Illinois is worse.
    That same day complaints claimed Facebook’s standards for contractors working on its $250 million data center near Los Lunas were too tough. Faced with the whining, ever sensitive Facebook acquiesced to an old New Mexico joke, if the standards are too high, lower the bar. Facebook said it was committed to using local companies and that some of the requirements were only guidelines.
    Our review of rating studies continues. The source is the annual “Toward a Competitive Colorado” report, produced by the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. (metrodenver.org). The report provides 75 measures gathered under the general headings of economic vitality, innovation, taxes, livability, K-12 education, higher education, health, and infrastructure. We continue braving the statistical gods by averaging the measures within each general heading, some of them averages of yet other measures.

  • Standing Rock about much more than one pipeline

    What you need to know about the Standing Rock standoff is how much you don’t know. This confrontation, playing out in frigid North Dakota, has drawn thousands of people from across the country and the attention of New Mexico’s senators.
    In April the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe camped in the path of a $3.8 billion pipeline project to protest plans to tunnel under the Missouri River, which the tribe says would jeopardize its water supply and destroy cultural sites. On Sunday, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers rejected the current route.
    It’s not over.
    Here are five things you should know:
    One: Organizers say they’re not opposed to the oil and gas industry. This is about protecting Standing Rock’s drinking water. The company insists the pipeline is safe. Protesters don’t believe it. Since 2010 regulators count 3,300 leaks and ruptures ranging from a few gallons to hundreds of thousands of gallons, according to the Center for Effective Government. Just last week, a natural gas liquids pipeline exploded near Kansas City.

  • An idea is a splendid risk

    An idea results when one or several persons put some things together in their heads. Every new thing that humans invent or create starts as an idea.
         The history of ideas began with defense tactics and ways to defeat them, then came food craft and farm tools. Ideas branched out into new materials, forms of writing, ethics, art, medicine, music, science, governance, law and transport of goods and ideas.
         Ideas are not as simple as cartoonists suggest with light bulbs casting rays above leading characters. And a column can only begin to sketch the nature of ideas and their ventures in different fields. Yet these few brief points explain the drought of budding ideas in politics.  
         First, consider the chief traits of ideas. At its core, an idea is a splendid risk. Look back at how the idea to distill and purify kerosene in the mid-1800s curtailed the last of the profit in whale oil. The gain and loss from that idea depend on how you see things today.  
         At first airing, an idea is as lonesome as a space alien. An idea, as are computer chips, can always be refined, improved and built on. In a word, ideas grow.

  • Good grief - give the man a chance

    The Augusta Chronicle, Georgia, on Donald Trump’s Twitter account:

    From the daily news reports, you get the impression the Trump administration is already collapsing on itself.
    Since the election, the nation’s news syndicates have produced an unending string of nearly apocalyptic Tales of Dread. The transition is too slow! His chief counselor is a “conservative provocateur” and “controversial conservative firebrand” who may be anti-Semitic! Trump’s children may be helping pick the Cabinet! Foreign policy may change! His appointments are scary — and maybe even “anti-Islamist”!
    He may be planning “extreme vetting” of immigrants and refugees! It’s been two weeks since the election, and Trump still hasn’t cut his lifelong business ties!
    Good grief.
    Give the man a chance. He’s forming a new administration from scratch — and as a political newcomer, it really is from scratch. But as a savvy businessman, he’s doing a thorough job of screening candidates.
    Moreover, his meeting with Mitt Romney — who bitterly opposed Trump during the campaign — is a tremendous gesture of the kind of good will presidents should engender.

  • Do we believe in free and fair elections?

    New Mexico dodged a bullet in the recent election. We elected a Secretary of State who encourages voting instead of a candidate whose publicly stated goal is to suppress it.
    Congratulations to us!
    At a candidate debate in October, Republican nominee Nora Espinoza talked about only one issue: requiring voter ID. Her opponent, Democrat Maggie Toulouse Oliver, won by almost 100,000 votes.
    Voter ID has been shown to be a code word for voter suppression – purposeful organized techniques to prevent legally qualified Americans from voting.
    Some forms of voter suppression are now legal in America. Both legal and illegal forms of voter suppression were employed this year in several states. Pundits and scholars will argue whether voter suppression caused the election results or merely contributed, but there’s little doubt that many votes were never cast or never counted – as to how many, the pundits will argue about the numbers also.
    The 1965 Voting Rights Act recognized that voting practices in some states actively discriminated against ethnic minorities and other target groups. The law required that voting procedures be conducted so as not to discriminate against those groups. In states with records of discriminatory practices, federal oversight was imposed.

  • Use caution when lending startup money to family

    BY FINANCE NEW MEXICO

  • Letters to the Editor 12-2-16

    An effortless way to help education

    Take the time to vote for the public schools bond in January.  It’s easy and almost effortless.  If your house is anything like mine, there’s a stack of papers on the counter where important things may get lost or overlooked.  Apparently, every college in the country feels the need to send a glossy publication to my home because a high school senior lives here.  When I get my ballot in January, though, I will open it immediately and check the yes boxes, sign and seal it, place a stamp on the envelope and put it in the mailbox right away.  It’s too important to get lost in the shuffle of pictures of impressive buildings and happy students promising a bright future.
    It hasn’t been that long ago that my oldest son started kindergarten and now, unbelievably, we’re nearing the end of his school years in Los Alamos.  The buildings have changed along the way with many improvements for which we are extremely grateful.  It’s been amazing to watch the transformation of the high school, middle school and Aspen, and for my kids to reap the benefits of new and remodeled buildings.  One thing that hasn’t changed at all is the team of dedicated teachers, guiding and encouraging my children from beginning to end.  

  • Pot farming becoming a big business

    By Bob Hagan