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Today's Opinions

  • Control what you can, enjoy the benefits

    BY DR. JOSEPH HORTON
    Visions & Values

  • State of two states are markedly different

    As it turns out, Donald Trump tweets.
    I found out about this after President Obama had wrapped up his State of the Union address last week.
    It was a good speech, actually – thoughtful, candid, truthful, hard-hitting and engaging. As most presidential State of the Union orations go, that’s a bit rare.
    Mr. Donald Trump, on the other hand, didn’t like the president’s remarks in the least. Barely had the presidential teleprompter gone black before the real estate mogul was typing out this tweet for the edification of his acolytes: “The #SOTU speech is really boring, slow lethargic – very hard to watch.”
    Then, too, since he embarked upon his quest for the Republican presidential nomination several months back an impressive body of evidence has accumulated to suggest that the only voice Donald Trump truly likes to hear is his own.
    Which probably explains why the voice of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was even more off-putting for Mr. Trump than Mr. Obama’s, when she began her “official” Republican response to the president’s State of the Union.     

  • Session looks to be nasty; life goes on

    The legislative session looks to be nasty, Steve Terrell, political writer for The New Mexican newspaper, told Albuquerque Press Women a week before Tuesday’s session start. The big difference between 2015 and 2016 is that this year’s gathering will shorter, mostly focused on finances.
    But as to contemplation of fundamental reforms for our floundering state, much less action, uh, no. The exception is the continuing tax crusade by Republicans Rep. Jason Harper of Rio Rancho and Sen. Bill Sharer of Farmington.
    Outside the legislative bubble, the world continues with people not working, government investing in businesses, an athletic discussion and world-class research.
    Nationally the labor force participation rate was 62.6 percent in December, a near-record low. That’s the proportion of people either working or looking for work. The rate has dropped for five years.
    The rate was 57 percent for New Mexico in November, says the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. No doubt we were affected by all the commonly cited factors, from aging population (retiring Baby Boomers) to welfare systems, with little push to find work. Indeed, as unemployment benefits increase, the value of work goes down. Casey Mulligan of the University of Chicago works on these topics.

  • Jobs Council’s brainstorming may seed future development

    Adversaries are already squaring off over hot-button issues in the legislative session that begins Jan. 19, so it might surprise you that there’s an oasis of agreement.
    That’s the legislative Jobs Council. The agreement is due to ground rules that required unanimous decisions. Right off the bat, it eliminated pointless debates over issues that will never see a consensus.
    The Jobs Council is three years old. It’s the brainchild of former House Speaker Ken Martinez, who envisioned a nonpartisan forum where legislators, community leaders, business people and economic developers could hammer out ideas.
    That’s what happened.
    Guided by veteran economic developer Mark Lautman, the council began with meetings in every county and every Council of Government district. Participants at this grassroots level were asked, probably for the first time: How many jobs do you need? How many jobs do you think you can create? What economic sectors are most likely to provide those jobs? What obstacles do you face in creating jobs?
    The data from these exercises has been lovingly charted by council helpers.

  • Big Brother vs. the Little Sisters

    The Obama administration’s lack of understanding of the spiritual depth and commitment of private religious charities is shocking. The callousness of the federal effort to compel a noble Catholic religious order — the Little Sisters of the Poor — to forsake its faith commitments shows the depth of the intolerance of the behemoth secular state under President Barack Obama.

    The story is one of courageousness on the part of the nuns of this religious order. Founded in France in 1839, the Little Sisters of the Poor has spread to many other countries, including the United States, with the charitable goal of giving aid and comfort to the poor. The sisters take the normal vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, but also add hospitality, which they extend to some of the “least of those in our midst.”

    In March, the nuns will continue their long battle against the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its head, Sylvia Burwell, when the sisters and their lawyers come before the Supreme Court.

  • January 2016: the U.S. becomes a global energy superpower

    Environmentalists like a good crisis. Spreading fear is a proven fundraising technique — with manmade climate change as the fear du jour. But, back in 2005, the “looming crisis,” according to the Kansas Sierra Club, was the end of cheap oil. The post concludes: “The end of cheap oil, followed by the end of cheap natural gas, threatens to cripple strong economies and devastate weak ones.” The author posits: “The world burns oil faster than new oil is discovered.”

    Today, slightly more than 10 years later, thanks to American ingenuity and initiative, the world is awash in oil and natural gas — with America being the world’s number one energy producer. As a result oil and natural gas are cheaper than anyone imagined just a few years ago when the price of gasoline, due to a “red-hot global economy and fears over dwindling supplies,” spiked to $4.11 a gallon in 2008. All time highest average gasoline prices of $3.60 in 2012 — during the last presidential election — gave credence to the “end of cheap oil” gloom-and-doom scenario. 

  • The Romanian stonecutter: a refugee story

    BY DAN MCCARN
    Los Alamos

  • Working sick is reality of new American economy

    In the back of the restaurant, out of sight of the patrons, an employee is trying to avoid sneezing on your dinner.
    He shouldn’t be there. He should be home in bed, but he can’t afford to stay home because his wages barely cover his expenses and his employer does not provide paid sick leave. Working sick is one reality of the new American economy.
    The movement to require employers to provide sick leave has not taken hold in New Mexico so far. Legislation on this issue is not expected in the upcoming 2016 session. What is expected is another attempt to pass right-to-work.
    Right-to-work is the principle that a worker employed in a unionized company or organization should not be required to join a union or pay union dues in order to keep his or her job. Supporters say the lack of right-to-work is holding New Mexico back because businesses won’t come to a non-right-to-work state. Opponents say that’s based on outdated information.
    There’s even a dispute about whether right-to-work is intended to damage or weaken unions. Right-to-work advocates say it isn’t. That’s nonsense. Intended or not, it will damage them.