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Today's Opinions

  • Changing faces of feminism: They're younger and more diverse

    As I entered the hotel, a reporter was asking a woman how feminism had changed over the years. I attended the National Organization for Women’s national convention in Albuquerque last week to answer that question for myself.
    The next day’s newspaper headlines shot back one answer: DeBaca County may elect the state’s first female sheriff since the 1960s. And she’s gay, but that hasn’t been an issue in her campaign.
    More answers: The Supreme Court ruled that a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics is unconstitutional. The Supremes themselves have a 100-foot buffer zone. They also decided that the beliefs of a corporation, Hobby Lobby, are more important than a woman’s need for contraception.
    “There are three things we can do,” said President Terry O’Neill, “vote, vote, vote.”
    I’ve been a NOW member for decades but never attend events. Many of us think we’re doing our bit through career choices, voting, and raising strong daughters and open-minded sons. Still, this was an opportunity to tune back in.

  • Read fine print carefully before signing contracts

    If you always stop to read the fine print before signing anything, congratulations — your parents trained you well. If you don’t, beware: Your signature could commit you to a long-term gym membership you don’t really want, an apartment you can’t afford or worst of all, paying off someone else’s loan you cosigned.
    Broadly defined, contracts are mutually binding agreements between two or more parties to do — or not do — something. It could be as simple as buying coffee (you pay $3 and the restaurant agrees to serve you a drinkable beverage), or as complex as signing a 30-year mortgage.
    Once a contract is in force it generally cannot be altered unless all parties agree. And, with very few exceptions (e.g., if deception or fraud took place), contracts cannot easily be broken.
    Before you enter a contractual agreement, try to anticipate everything that might possibly go wrong. For example:
    After you’ve leased an apartment you decide you can’t afford the rent or don’t like the neighborhood.
    Your roommate moves out, leaving you responsible for the rest of the lease.
    You finance a car you can’t afford, but when you try to sell, it’s worth less than your outstanding loan balance.

  • Susana feasts on Dems' state chair

    Unless every last New Mexico Democrat with any influence whatsoever has suddenly fallen victim to persistent and pervasive masochism, Sam Bregman’s days as state party chairman are numbered.
    Aren’t they? Doesn’t everything we know about politics and the logic thereof dictate that he must either leave his post voluntarily or face pressure from those top state Democrats capable of rational election year thought to resign his chairmanship?
    The miracle is that prominent Democrats up for election or reelection this year — Tom Udall, Ben Ray Luján, Michele Luján Grisham, Hector Balderas, the whole lot of them, including Gary King — haven’t already quietly taken Bregman by the neck and given him the boot.
    Admittedly the metaphor is mixed. But Bregman has become the main course in the buffet of campaign hash Susana Martinez has been serving New Mexico voters since primary election day when she walked away with her party’s nomination for a second term as governor.
    Who knows what’s fair and what’s not in today’s political climate?

  • Disconnect: World fame, excellence nation’s worst state economy

    “Santa Fe, N.M.,” the newspaper dateline said. The story resided on page one of the June 30 issue. The publication was the Wall Street Journal, which has the nation’s second largest newspaper circulation at 2.3 million (including 900,000 for the digital version) for the six months ending March 31.
    Ignoring the digital edition where the story was not prominent, that means 1.4 million newspapers, nearly all with page one given at least a glance, and the words “Santa Fe, N.M.” presented in a positive business context.
    The story was about Bill Miller, a mutual fund manager who has been way, way up (becoming, the story said, “the best stock picker in the business”), way, way down and now is back up. Miller lives in Baltimore, Md., and Vero Beach, Fla., but he comes to Santa Fe occasionally as chairman emeritus of the Santa Fe Institute and a major SFI donor.
    The 30-year-old SFI (santafe.edu) is a place with employees and resident faculty and a network of “external faculty” stretching round the world. A research institute, SFI does the science of complex adaptive systems.

  • Disentangle climate damages

     

    The nation’s bitter dispute over climate change drags public discourse to new extremes of futility. Worse yet, the hostile views of man-made climate change expand into a kindred dispute about the tools of science itself. 

    The fray sharpens three key observations: 

    • Each side says the opposing side is afraid to answer questions about weak points in its case.      

    • Each side says its foe distorts how science advances by constant questioning.  

    • Each side says its foe’s energy ambitions corrupt its science.

  • A decent respect: Renewing the Spirit of ‘76

     

    July 4, 1776 gave birth to perhaps the most revolutionary political document in the history of civilization, submitted by men who proclaimed, “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” 

    Pretty heavy stuff for a group of heroes who knew that their actions exposed them all to charges of treason, for which the penalty was swift and sure execution at the hands of the colonial masters whose authority they defied.

  • Happy Second of August

     

    Another 4th of July? Didn’t we just have one last year?

    Yeah, it’s time again to watch your 12-year-old kid march in the town’s parade, make red white and blue cupcakes for a party, turn the TV to any of the 500 war movies playing on Encore, fire up the grill and show your patriotism by eating enough food to feed a family of six.

    And to truly demonstrate an undying love for America, hang a flag outside and set off some fireworks!

    What could be more true-blue American than blowing things up?

  • Claim a tax credit for summer daycare expenses

     

     

    For harried parents, the definition of true panic is realizing in April that you forgot to enroll your kids for summer day camp and now all the slots are filled. Cut to: as the school year ends, you’re feverishly trying to find adequate daycare because neither of you can take time off work to watch the kids.

    I know of one such couple; with any luck you’re more organized than they were. In fact, bonus points if you thought ahead and signed up during last fall’s open enrollment for a dependent care flexible spending account (FSA), which allows you to pay for childcare using pretax dollars.