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Today's Opinions

  • Dante and the way of love

    Dante, a serious rival to Shakespeare as the world’s greatest literary genius, was born in Florence, Italy, 750 years ago.
    Italy properly celebrated the birthday of its national poet (indeed he who virtually invented the modern Italian language) on May 4 and Pope Francis has encouraged Dante to be read as a “prophet of hope” and spiritual guide. And so he should be. Just as he has for three-quarters of a millennium.
    Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” written at the beginning of the 14th century during his permanent exile from Florence, is at once the crowning literary achievement of the Middle Ages, as well as the announcing angel of the Renaissance.
    Every true epic poem offers a totalizing vision of its age — its philosophy, science, theology, and history are all distilled to dramatize how humanity, the world and the divine struggle together.
    In Dante’s epic allegorical dream vision of a journey through the afterlife that devotes equal sections to Hell (“Inferno”), Purgatory (“Purgatorio”) and Heaven (“Paradiso”) one sees all that was thought and felt by Saints Augustine and Aquinas, but never so well expressed.
    Thus, Dante is the utmost medieval philosopher, theologian and poet.

  • Caregivers thankful for newly passed law

    Thanks to Gov. Susana Martinez and the New Mexico Legislature, as of June 17, New Mexico unpaid caregivers have a new resource that will now formally keep them included in the process when their loved one is admitted into a hospital.
    On April 9, Martinez signed into law the Lay Caregiver Aftercare Training bill, House Bill 139. AARP New Mexico led the effort to get this bill adopted.
    Under the law, patients can now formally designate a caregiver when they are admitted to the hospital — this can be a family member, a friend or even a neighbor. The hospital must notify the designated caregiver before the patient is discharged or transferred to another facility and provide consultation to caregivers on how to care for the patient when they return home.
    This could include explaining how to dispense medicine, give shots or dress wounds. A patient does not have to designate a caregiver.
    The tasks required of family caregivers go beyond assisting with meals, bathing and dressing. AARP New Mexico staff has heard stories from caregivers who provide much more medically involved tasks — wound care and medication management.

  • Letters to the Editor 6-19-15

    Take action against pancreatic cancer

    By 2020, pancreatic cancer is projected to become the second leading cause of cancer-related death. The average five-year survival rate is just 7 percent.
    Clearly, we must take action. This year, almost 49,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Without increased funding for research, they have little hope for the future because there are no early-detection methods or effective treatment options.
    We are ready to wage hope against this deadly disease. Please join me on Tuesday for the National Call-In and ask Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and Representative Michelle Luján Grisham, Steve Pearce and Ben Ray Luján, to make cancer research a priority by increasing federal funding for the National Cancer Institute.
    Cancer research is not a partisan issue. It is an issue that unites us all.
    For more information, visit pancan.org/nationalcallin.

    Cheryl Vaughn
    Albuquerque

  • Eggcorns Benedict

    There’s an old saying about one’s literary skills: Some people have a way with words, and some do not have a way.
    I was one with not much way at all, and being a math nerd I took a perverse pride in my inability to properly connect a verb to a noun.
    Back then, it was an unstated expectation that a student who was strong in either math or English had to be feeble in the other (and I more than exceeded expectations).
    I was content to play the part of the linguistically challenged, always running from the grammar police as I squinted my modifiers, split my infinitives, and dangled my participles.
      Strangely enough, no one seemed to really care.
    When all you want to discuss is obscure theorems on spherical geometry, you quickly find yourself talking to an empty room.
    But conversing with myself had its advantages. I would only get interrupted now and then, and I never lost an argument.
    Well, almost never.
    Math is quite rigid in its adherence to rules. If you break a simple rule like dividing by zero, then up becomes down, positive becomes negative and the universe explodes.
    Math is quite unforgiving.
    English, on another hand, seems to take mistakes for granite.
    That’s an eggcorn.

  • Loan helps couple open studio to enrich clients’ physical, spiritual lives

    Empowerment is the core of Mira Rubiano’s mission-driven life.
    After graduating with a degree in economics from Mount Holyoke College, the Minnesota native worked at the State Department and the World Bank, specializing in efforts to reduce poverty and increase social inclusion.
    Now she and her husband, freelance photographer Eduardo Rubiano, are taking charge of their own financial destiny by opening a yoga and fitness studio that helps clients build their energy and well-being. Santa Fe Thrive opened in the Solana Center at the end of May with a commitment “to providing inclusive, community-conscious empowerment in the spirit of holistic health and vitality.”
    “I always felt I had to tackle things at a macro level,” Rubiano said of her aid work, which included time as a Fulbright scholar teaching English in impoverished Brazilian neighborhoods. “But I kept being drawn to the individual — the empowerment of the individual — (and wanting) to let that flourish outward.”
    That self-assurance proved essential when the Rubianos began planning their business in 2014 and discovered the obstacles that fledgling entrepreneurs can face.

  • Money management for ‘Boomerang’ households

    Due to recent economic realities, multi-generational living has been on the rise for many families.
    A 2014 Pew Research Center analysis showed that a record 57 million Americans, equal to a little over 18 percent of the U.S. population, lived in multi-generational family households in 2012 — double the number in 1980.
    The major driver was young adults aged 25-34. According to Pew, nearly 24 percent of these older millennials lived in multi-generational households, increased from nearly 19 percent in 2007 and 11 percent in 1980.
    It’s possible the “boomerang” family trend will remain in place for some time to come.
    For homeowner parents who may also be juggling the “sandwich” responsibilities of caring for older relatives, paying attention to the financial and behavioral details of taking in family is critical. Here are some suggestions to consider:
    Your finances come first. Operating a full house means higher utility and food costs and additional wear and tear on the property. Taking in family also shouldn’t derail a parent’s career goals or retirement planning, nor should it diminish other necessary financial objectives like maximizing savings or eliminating debt.

  • With capital outlay, we borrow from Peter and forget to pay Paul

    Last week our legislators did a good thing.
    During a short, business-like special session, they passed a public works bill and a package of tax incentives and directed funding to the courts and the Health Department.
    At the end of the day, Sen. John Arthur Smith, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, threw a little cold water on the euphoric proceedings. Ninety-nine municipalities supported the capital outlay bill, he said.
    “I want them to be on their guard. We can claw that back. That’s not an empty threat. They will have to act more responsibly. I have a list of how much money is out there not spent.”
    The Legislature giveth and the Legislature taketh away.
    As Smith has said before, he doesn’t play games or make idle threats. Next year, without a solid economic rebound of the state’s economy or oil and gas revenues, we can expect another tight budget. Smith’s committee and its counterpart in the House will be looking for money.
    During the regular session, last winter, State Auditor Tim Keller announced that $4.5 billion was sitting in more than 700 state accounts. Of that, $2 billion, primarily from past allocations, hadn’t been spent for infrastructure projects, including $700 million for water projects.

  • We’re not alone in tax policy woes

    If you want to get a laugh out of some of the wonkiest policy wonks in the state, try this: The top question asked these days by tax policy people all over the country is what’s happening with taxing marijuana.
    Everybody wants to jump on that bandwagon.
    Hold off, said Scott Pattison, director of the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), speaking recently at a conference of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute. The news is not that exciting. Legalizing and taxing marijuana will not solve New Mexico’s revenue problems. Darn!
    And some New Mexico policy makers thought it was such a clever idea.
    The benefit of a speaker with national perspective is that he reminds us we’re not alone, we’re not that different from other states and the laws of nature and economics apply, even in the Land of Enchantment.
    According to Pattison, most states face the same critical needs and no state has enough revenue to meet them all.
    The big issues include infrastructure, education, tax cuts, revenue shortfalls, arguments about other funding mechanisms (read: marijuana tax), Medicaid and more Medicaid.
    Several states rely on oil and gas for a major part of their funding. They’re all having a hard time. Some states rely on federal spending, as New Mexico does.