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Today's Opinions

  • Education presentation offers obscure ideas

    This is one of those words-mean-something columns, to wit, some words used in political and public policy conversations are code for policy prescriptions.
    At the start of a recent presentation about education to the Albuquerque Press Women, cautionary bells rang when, under the headline, “liberal egalitarianism,” I heard, “Grave inequalities keep people from being meaningfully free to choose for themselves. Fairness and justice require a safety net with a livable minimum of housing, income, food, education, healthcare and equal opportunity.”
    Under “free market libertarianism,” I heard some more appealing points. “Free people should choose for themselves. People are responsible for their own actions and their consequences. Redistribution of income or wealth is unfair, and creates disincentives for hard work.”
    The libertarianism-egalitarianism nuggets were offered to define the political dialogue.
    While “fairness and justice” live as technical jargon in the identity politics of the left, the notion of “being meaningfully free” is obscure. I don’t remember the phrase, have no idea what it means, and suspect rampant agendas.

  • The politics of child abuse

    If any one person deserves credit for the creation of New Mexico’s Department of Children, Youth and Families it must surely be Alice King, wife of the state’s longest serving (12 years) governor, Bruce King.
    Alice and Bruce King are now deceased, and more’s the pity.
    But during their three (non-consecutive) terms in Santa Fe it was widely understood that the governor not only cherished his wife, he trusted her judgment and valued her counsel.
    In the early years Mrs. King publicly feigned to be little more than the traditional “First Lady” — wife, mother, help-mate.
    One year into Bruce King’s final term as governor, however, Alice King came into her own by putting her experience and political savvy to the task of consolidating various programs critical to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children and young people that, despite good intentions, frequently languished throughout the far-flung agencies of state government.
    In 1992, that consolidation became the single, cabinet-level department we know today as Children, Youth and Families, CYFD, focused on issues central of New Mexico life.

  • Shoot, shovel and shut up!

     

    If you find oil or natural gas on your property, the value goes up. If you find an endangered species, your land becomes virtually worthless — resulting in the half-jest, half-serious advice: “shoot, shovel and shut up.”

    The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was signed into law in 1973 by President Richard Nixon to preserve, protect and recover key domestic species. Though well intentioned at the start, the ESA has since been used as a tool to hinder or block economic activity from logging and farming to mining and oil-and-gas development.

  • Billions sitting on the sidelines while critical ideas lack funding

     

    As the legislative session winds down and the final budget is crafted, I can’t help but reflect on one of the great tragedies of current state government. With every tax break, education program, special interest and critical line item being accounted for, it is easy to forget that our state government is awash in cash.

    There are hundreds of millions of unused tax dollars — excess bonding capacity and thousands of unfilled jobs — tucked away throughout state government. 

    Meanwhile, critical government services, water projects, ‘big idea’ education and economic development investment proposals fall to the wayside. We have the resources to move New Mexico forward but they remain unused. 

  • Bullet in the head of a ridiculous law

     

    Column as I see ’em …

    It’s rare these days when proponents of the 2nd Amendment have a reason to celebrate, and rarer yet when that reason emanates from a state like California.

    With little fanfare and a begrudging attitude from gun control advocates disguised as reporters, news broke Thursday that the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel overturned restrictions on carrying concealed handguns.

    No, that doesn’t mean gun owners no longer need to apply and be approved for concealed carry permits, but pending future and inevitable appeals from gun control zealots, it does strike a blow to local municipalities that place unrealistic restrictions on those who apply for a permit.

  • Ways to protect a pet's dental health

     

  • Global warming has Winter Olympics skating on thin ice

     

    As the world turns its attention to the Sochi Olympic Games, Environment New Mexico revealed a summary of global warming impacts on Winter Olympic sports, and highlighting the need to act urgently to reduce the carbon pollution fueling global warming.

    “When it comes to the future of winter sports, global warming has us skating on thin ice,” said Dominick Lawton, field associate with Environment New Mexico. “There’s still time to keep from sliding off the edge by going after the biggest sources of the carbon pollution fueling global warming.” 

  • E Pluribus Multi Stulti

     

    In  the United States Constitution, the Founding Fathers took great care with the inclusion and exclusion of various topics. Many aspects of what defines America are explicitly enumerated.

    And many other aspects were purposely avoided. For instance, they made no effort whatsoever to define a national language.

    Standing on avant-garde political terra firma of the times, these colonial guerrillas forged a joie de vivre mentality that gave birth to a nation. The omission of declaring a national language was, de facto, evidence of their compos mentis and a sense of Realpolitik.

    Then again, maybe this exclusion was per se, a faux pas?