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Today's Opinions

  • Has the GOP changed energy policy since taking Congress?

    BY MARITA NOON
    Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great

  • Sometimes the world opens to inspection

    On rare occasions, the world opens itself to being inspected in new and unusual ways. Such a time came in 1883 on a scale that was unthinkable.
         Some story lines of the past grow larger in hindsight. In 1883, Karl Marx died; Bernard Kroger opened his first grocery store; and Charles Fritts used selenium and gold to make the first working, solid-state solar cell. Their aftereffects are with us today.
         The larger news was in August that year: A volcanic island exploded in the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra. The blast went round the world and turned the island with the oddly harsh name – “Krakatoa” – into a treasure trove for science.
         Effects of the rarity advanced the ways in which we know the world. The stories fill a global canvas.
         Evidence says the blast was the loudest sound on Earth in recorded history. The British ship Norman Castle was 40 miles from Krakatoa at the time of the explosion. The ship’s captain wrote in his log, “So violent are the explosions that the ear-drums of over half my crew have been shattered.”

  • Gov.’s DWI proposals ignore deeper problems, solutions

    On Dec. 14, the governor announced her DWI proposals for the Legislature, and within days she was apologizing for an employee bash and her own behavior after she committed GWI – governing while intoxicated.
    If you are one of the three people who didn’t hear the recording, you missed a tipsy Susana Martinez haranguing a desk clerk and two police dispatchers. Somebody complained about noise coming from a staffer’s hotel room, where the governor insisted six people were “eating peetzahhhh.”
    After the internet joking subsided, local and national pundits began pronouncing her star fallen.
    Maybe, but we still need to talk about DWI.
    The governor wants legislators to toughen up DWI penalties – adding jail time for certain repeat DWI offenders, expanding habitual-offender laws to include felony DWI offenses, and cracking down on people who lend vehicles to a DWI offender with a suspended or revoked license. She also wants to have volunteers monitor DWI cases in some counties.

  • Homework Diner a solution for low-income schools

    Let’s humiliate the schools a little more, says the state Public Education Department. That’s a great way to motivate and encourage students.
    While this is going on, there’s a bright spot.
    The humiliation: PED has released the “grades” of schools throughout the state, and the grades are a little lower than last year. This, says the department, is because of the standardized PARCC tests that were forced on school districts. Students didn’t do well on the unfamiliar tests, so the test results depressed the evaluations of the schools. All very logical, unless your motive is to give some encouragement to a state that is constantly being beaten up by low rankings.
    Here’s the bright spot.
    A school in Albuquerque came up with a program that empowers kids, brings parents into the education process, makes good use of school facilities, involves teachers and community volunteers in a friendly way, and supports learning, all at the same time. And it provides a free meal.
    The program is called Homework Diner. It started at Manzano Mesa Elementary School, located in a low-income neighborhood in Albuquerque. It has spread to several other schools.

  • 5 ways to be charitable while staying on a budget

    BY NATHANIEL SILLIN
    Practical Money Skills

  • Money constraints will limit 2016 legislative agenda

    Most action during the 2016 legislative session beginning Jan. 19 looks to come in bits and pieces.
    Beyond the bits, the action will be political posturing for the 2016 election and, maybe, incremental movement on the big topics of tax reform and highways.
    This conclusion comes from more than four hours of listening to senior state government officials, “interested stakeholders,” four legislators and Scott Darnell, deputy chief of staff for Gov. Susana Martinez. The occasion was the annual legislative outlook conference of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute, held Dec. 17 in Albuquerque.
    The constraints are lack of money for anything exciting and the governor’s agenda, or crabby types might say, the non-agenda other than education.
    “New money,” projected at $231.7 million, is defined as expected recurring revenue in the coming year minus recurring spending this year. That $231.7 million is up 3.7 percent from the current year appropriation but down $62 million from the August forecast.
    David Abbey, director of the Legislative Finance Committee, began with recounting past crunch times for the state. “I am confident we can get through it again,” he said.

  • Analysis: Bush strong in GOP debate but it may not matter

    BY STEVE PEOPLES
    Associated Press

  • What do ‘radical Islam’ and ‘terrorism’ really mean?

    BY DR. L. JOHN VAN TIL
    Visions and Values