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Today's Opinions

  • Sing the body electric

    I love a good movie, especially one that relies more on acting and less on special effects.
    In particular, I love how some movies manage to capture the raw essence of the human condition in a single scene. Sometimes, that condition is warped or contorted with human greed and hatred. Sometimes, it’s mandates tears from the audience as the actors transcend the boundaries of love and tenderless.
    And sometimes it’s just a hoot to sit back and enjoy the slapstick shenanigans of a good funnyman.
    The other day, I happened to catch the end of the 1980 movie “Fame” on TV. The graduating class of the New York High School of Performing Arts performs a finale, singing and dancing to an interpretive rendition of a Walt Whitman poem.
    I sing the body electric. I celebrate the me yet to come. I toast to my own reunion, when I become one with the Sun.
    I sing the body electric. I glory in the glow of rebirth. Creating my own tomorrow, when I shall embody the Earth.
    Seriously, how can you listen to lyrics like that and not marvel at the potential of individual achievement? The fame these students thirsted for was not public recognition or money or power. They were reaching for the stars, to become a light to shine upon others.

  • Rules of engagement: Start with plan for social media outreach

     New Mexico residents turn increasingly to digital resources when seeking out all types of information. According to the most recent (2013) annual Garrity Perception Survey, New Mexicans use television as a news and information source 58 percent of the time, newspaper 39 percent of the time and Internet news sites 29 percent of the time. Those sources are followed by radio (28 percent), Internet blogs (17 percent) and social networking sites (17 percent).
    When Internet news sources, blogs and social media are combined, New Mexico residents turn to digital sources 63 percent of the time, surpassing television. Having an active presence in digital media gives an organization relevance.
    A business’s digital outreach can be as simple as a basic retail website, or it can cover multiple bases with a Facebook page, Twitter account, interactive blog and email marketing. Deciding how far to go with social media technology depends on the business type, available resources and how digital outreach fits into the company’s strategic plan and vision.

  • Self-employed? Use these tax-filing tips

    Calculating income taxes is a royal pain, even when your situation is uncomplicated enough that you can file a 1040EZ Form. And if you’re self-employed, be prepared for extra layers of complexity. Not only must you file an annual return with numerous additional forms and schedules, you’re also responsible for paying quarterly estimated taxes, which can mean having to write a pretty hefty check while waiting for your clients to pay their overdue bills.
    Add in that you’re also responsible for funding your own health insurance and retirement, and you may start to miss having an employer manage a portion of your financial affairs. (Although many people go into business for themselves precisely to call their own shots.)
    Here are a few things to remember when calculating your 2013 taxes:
    First, some potentially good news for taxpayers who claim a home office deduction: You now may choose between the traditional method of calculating the business use of your home (which involves numerous calculations, filling out the onerous IRS Form 8829 and maintaining back-up records for years) and a new simplified option.

  • Gas Company, customers will benefit from TECO acquisition

    There has been relatively little publicity about the application pending before the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) for TECO Energy to acquire New Mexico Gas Company.
    However, approving the application, which has been pending since July 9, 2013, will bring many benefits to the state.
    TECO Energy, based in Tampa, Fla., is a large utility holding company with more than $7 billion in assets and a strong credit rating. It has been in the utility business for more than a century and has an exemplary record of providing excellent gas service and a reputation for safety practices that has earned it recognition for excellence by the American Gas Association. TECO has been a driving force in Florida in leading economic development efforts and intends to do the same in New Mexico, which could contribute significantly to our economic recovery.
    TECO has been successful in helping businesses convert to natural gas vehicles that if its successes can be replicated here, would be a boon for New Mexico’s economy and environment. Natural gas vehicles are a new focus for the Farmington area, which is rich in this plentiful resource. This could be an incredible opportunity to further this industry while jumpstarting the Four Corners’ area economy.

  • EDD update: Bits, pieces, old theaters

    Anyone thinking that the state Economic Development Department has much significant to do with developing the economy should promptly drop the notion. The standard rhetoric aside, such thinking is an illusion.
    Start with there being a whole separate department devoted to tourism, a fair piece of the economy.
    Someone not knowing the name of the department but curious about the state might find the state website, newmexico.gov, the “official state portal.” A bit of looking at the site would lead to the lower left corner and a headline, “business resources,” with six subheads including “business assistance, economic development, job training incentives program.” I clicked on all six subheads, but connected with just two. My 2008 vintage MacBook Pro just wasn’t good enough.
    Newmexico.gov had several topic headlines flashing by. One pitched, as an upcoming event, the 2012 state centennial. Carpe ayer? Boxes in the middle posed questions. “Are you a visitor? Are you a business? And, best of all, “Are you a citizen?” offering a guide to living in New Mexico. Non-citizens don’t count, apparently.

  • Doctor shortage and federal policy

    Why is there such a serious shortage of doctors in New Mexico?
    A bit of good news: The basic cause is not anything inherently wrong with New Mexico. It’s tied up in the complications of medical regulations and funding.
    A group of speakers from New Mexico Health Resources Inc. recently described the background of this situation and what they are doing about it. NMHR is a nonprofit dedicated to recruiting and retaining physicians in New Mexico, especially underserved areas. The speakers were Jerry Richardson, executive director; Kevin McMullan, health professional recruiter; and Dr. Frank Hesse, a founder and former board member of NMHR who is also former chair of the now-moribund New Mexico Health Policy Commission.
    The undersupply of doctors nationwide, they said, traces to a federal commission called the Council on Graduate Medical Education. This commission was founded in the 1930s, when the nation had an oversupply of doctors. A quota was established for the number of medical residents. Today, the training of medical residents is largely subsidized by Medicare. The quota sets the number of residents in each teaching hospital that Medicare will support. It also sets the allocation among specialties.

  • Expelling the myths of fixing a pet

     

    Today’s widespread animal overpopulation is a direct effect of the failure of many pet owners to spay or neuter their pets. With myths such as behavioral changes and health complications resulting from the procedure circulating, it can be difficult to tell if spaying/neutering is the right choice for Fido or Fluffy. In order to save millions of homeless animals’ lives, as well as keep your animal in the best health possible, these myths should be put to rest once and for all.

  • Steampunk stilettos

     

    The dictionary defines “culture” as an anthropological manifestation of human intellectual achievement, which is collectively assigned value and meaning.

    Wow, that’s impressive! Who knew that Boy George named his group “Culture Club” after an intellectual manifestation?

    Our world is like a big vat of yogurt chock full of culture; curdled governments, fermented values, sour foreign relations, and sometimes a little granola-flavored tradition thrown in to add texture.

    But that’s just the surface of human culture. Peel away the veneer of acceptable standards, and much like ripping the bark off a fallen rotting tree trunk, you’ll find a mass of insects busily living out their lives in another world.