Today's Opinions

  • With apologies to Archie

    The year was 1972 and America eagerly sat down to watch the beginning of the third season of “All In The Family.”  After two years of spouting bigoted, sexist and racial epithets, he had won the hearts of our nation.
    How could you not love someone so despicable and close-minded? We laughed at his stupidity. We laughed at his inane philosophies.
    We laughed at what he represented – evolution’s greatest accomplishment of a non-thinking life form.
    The human race.
    The season’s opening episode was particularly funny, mostly because it went off the scale of sanity.
    Archie is invited as “a man on the street” to appear on television and present his views on gun control. As usual, he goes off on a ridiculous rant, embarrassing his family by suggesting that skyjackings could be prevented by arming all the passengers. No need to search for firearms ... just hand them out at the gate! If everyone is packing, no one would dare pull out a rod and try anything!
    It was funny, hilarious, to even think that anyone with a brain connected to their mouth would suggest that arming people would eliminate the possibility of a crime.
    Well, we have to apologize to Archie.  His ideas on domestic peace were visionary.

  • Rolling back the tide of government overreach

    Executive director for Energy Makes America Great

  • Smaller banks make moves with Dodd-Frank burdens

    Simply listing a bank’s percentage of deposits in the state is one way to report on banking, as an Albuquerque publication did recently. Thought and history offer another approach.
    The annual deposit report from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (https://www5.fdic.gov/sod/index.asp) motivated the listing. It shows deposits and other figures as of June 30 for the given year and appears about three months later.
    Discussions of New Mexico’s poorly performing economy suggest – but don’t prove – that banking has something to do with it. The infamous Dodd-Frank act is a standard villain. A recent FDIC report indicated that Dodd-Frank might not have been all that injurious to community banks.
    I’m not one to argue the FDIC’s numbers. However, any regulation that forces a small business (and small banks are small businesses) to hire staff or consultants to deal with it causes injury. The money to pay that staff comes from the operating margin of the business and basically means less profit.
    For banks, less profit means pulling in the risk horizon; less room exists for making a loan that might – just might – develop a problem. Overall, fewer loans get made and that, folks, constrains the community’s growth.

  • End-of-life decisions should begin at the kitchen table

    My son and I just had The Discussion. Not the one about the birds and the bees, or the car keys (his or mine). No, this is the one where I told him plainly that I did not want to be a lump of meat being kept alive by machines. Pull the plug, I said.
    This was an easier conversation to have because I’m not expecting to check out any time soon and because he’s finishing his residency as an emergency physician.
    “I’ve seen a lot of people die,” he said, “and it’s never like you see it on TV.”
    It’s a discussion I wish we’d had with my dad. He was always so healthy it was a shock when he suddenly contracted an irreversible disease. The only thing passing for instructions was his occasional joke: “When the time comes, just screw me in the ground.”
    So the time came, and we found ourselves in a hospital meeting room absolutely unprepared for the most excruciating decision any of us had ever made. I wanted to spare my next of kin that anguish.

  • Tethered to technology — escaping the IT trap

    Visions and Values

  • GOP is party desperately in search of a leader

    AP White House Correspondent

  • Mentally ill need more resources

    Oh, those inconvenient people – the mentally ill. They fill our jails, they scare their neighbors, they drive their families crazy and sometimes bankrupt, and once in awhile they kill somebody, or become involved in a disturbance in which the police kill them.
    The upcoming legislative session will probably revisit the painful issue of how to deal with mentally ill people who pose a real or potential threat.
    Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry recently spoke in support of a bill that almost made it though the session this year.
    As last amended during the 2015 regular session, Senate Bill 53, by Sen. Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces, was intended to give the legal system a broader range of choices for dealing with mentally ill people who come to the system’s attention. Berry said it’s expected again in 2016.   
    The bill is similar to “Kendra’s Law,” first enacted in New York. That law resulted from an incident in which a schizophrenic man pushed a woman in front of an oncoming subway train.  It allows a judge to require a mentally ill person who meets certain criteria to undergo treatment, including medication, for up to a year.
    The title of the bill is “Assisted Outpatient Treatment.” What does that mean?  

  • Key to markets are keys to regulation

    Stick your nose into a crevice in the bark of a big old ponderosa pine. The smell of vanilla sweetens your senses. Some call it butterscotch, but the best noses say vanilla.
    How can a ponderosa, a species that taught respect for turpentine, surprise with the fragrance of vanilla? The story is absurd, until you put your nose in the bark.  
    We leap now to the Digital Age.  
    Information is often acclaimed as the sweet driver of market efficiency and the currency of efficient regulation. That is, information is a regulator of markets of its own accord. The more informed the trading, the wider the interests served by markets.    
    No doubt it costs time, and thus money, to hand over details on the quality of a product, or, say, factory emissions.
    Just as surely, the details allow more informed choices in the marketplace, which quicken the blessings of market efficiency. The very meaning of efficient market is one driven by widespread information.  
    The Information Age spreads data far and fast. Much the way that better data are key to market efficiency, we begin to see that better, faster data at less cost also make regulation more efficient.
    Looking further, supplying better and faster regulatory tools is itself a new market.