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Today's Opinions

  • The son also rises

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi caught a good many political know-it-alls back on Capitol Hill by surprise last week, when she announced that New Mexico’s 3rd District Democratic Congressman Ben Ray Luján will be the next chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
    It will be quite a jump in the congressional pecking order for Luján, who was first elected to the 3rd District seat in 2008 as the successor to Democrat Tom Udall who ran (successfully) that year for a berth in the United States Senate.
    Both men were handily reelected this year, with Udall returning to a Senate under GOP control and Luján returning to a House even more firmly dominated by an unruly cadre of Republicans hitherto prone to government shutdowns.
    So, over and above his obligations to District 3 constituents, when the new Congress convenes in January, Congressman Luján will be spending a good deal of his time gearing up for the elections of 2016, when Democrats hope to elect sufficient of their own to tame those unruly GOPers.
    To put it mildly, Luján has accepted a big challenge here. Clearly his political profile, both here at home and nationally, will be substantially elevated with this assignment.

  • Voters to Washington, Santa Fe: Do something

    After an election in which Republicans cleaned up, nobody is talking about mandates. That’s wise of them.
    There was definitely a sentiment to throw the rascals out, but that was the case in the previous election and will be again in 2016. All anybody can say for sure is that voters are angry.
    There is a kind of snarling expectation: Do something. Spare us your grandstanding and your petty little fights and solve some problems.
    Pass a bill, as the president said in his immigration speech. Funny that a guy who’s become unpopular can give voice to public sentiment, which is why nobody should feel comfortable.
    Republican political consultant Frank Luntz wrote recently in the New York Times that the “anti-Democrat wave was not the same as a pro-Republican endorsement.” What voters said was, “Washington doesn’t listen, Washington doesn’t lead and Washington doesn’t deliver.” Luntz traveled the country listening to voters this year. “And from the reddest rural towns to the bluest big cities, the sentiment is the same. People say Washington is broken and on the decline, that government no longer works for them — only for the rich and powerful.”

  • New model for artists borrows from business

    Making a name in the art world used to mean the artist toiled in obscurity and poverty, dependent on galleries and patrons to exhibit and champion his work. This notion — that artistic creativity and business savvy occupy separate worlds — was reinforced by art schools that taught students how to make art but not how to market or sell it.
    An emerging, 21st century approach is that art making is a business and the artist should be at the controls — the chief executive officer of her own production and distribution network. This model borrows many ideas from the business world.
    Get serious about sales. Artists should tear down the contrived wall between the creative and the commercial, because distribution of artwork is just as important as production. They should school themselves in marketing, inventory and financial management, cash flow and all licensing and intellectual property laws that pertain to creative works.

  • Conflict between circuits

    A month ago, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear a collection of cases which raised the question of traditional marriage vs. same-sex unions.
    Now, a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision may have changed all of that. By voting 2-1 to uphold same-sex marriage bans in four states under the appellate jurisdiction of the Sixth Circuit — Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee — the panel has now created a conflict between the circuits. This conflict exists because four other federal circuit courts had found bans on same-sex unions to be unconstitutional. We know now, at least according to statements from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, that a lack of a conflict between the circuits was the reason the Supreme Court balked at hearing the earlier cases from five other states.

  • John Pawlak: The beauty of impermanence

     

    "My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings. Look on my works, ye mighty and despair!”

    So wrote the English poet, Percy Shelley, in 1818.  Ozymandias, once all powerful and feared, and now nothing remains but fragments to remind us of his reign. The grandeur of a king falls into dusty ruin and oblivion, much like the decaying face of the Great Sphinx of Egypt.

    Ozymandias is a metaphor for the impermanence of all things.

    Humans, however, believe that they themselves are eternal, their fame destined to live on in historic perpetuity.

    Sorry folks. Even a diamond isn’t forever.

  • Pet Talk: Pitfalls of ringworm

    Dermatophytosis, otherwise known as “ringworm,” is a fairly common fungal infection that can affect dogs, cats and other animals.
    “The term ‘ringworm’ actually comes from the circular, ring-like lesion formed on the skin of infected people; however, the disease itself is not caused by a worm at all,” said Dr. Alison Diesel, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
    Dermatophytosis is a zoonotic disease, meaning it not only can be transmitted to other animals, but to people as well. An animal or person can become infected with dermatophytes from contact with another infected animal, transfer from infected materials such as bedding and grooming equipment, or from the soil.
    “Very young animals and older animals with other underlying illness are at higher risk for dermatophytes,” Diesel said.  
    “Dermatophytosis is the most common cause of alopecia, or hairloss, in cats. In addition to poor hair coat, it can also cause reddened skin, hyperpigmentation, and lesions.
    “Lesions will often involve little red bumps called papules, scabs and circular areas of hairloss. Anywhere on the body may be affected by hairloss, but face and paws will often have lesions,” Diesel said.

  • Small Business Saturday benefits local communities

    Maria-Alicia Cordova cares about her business and the community it serves. Besides offering manicures, haircuts and other personal-care services at Al’s Styling Salon in Belen, Cordova serves on the board of the Belen MainStreet Partnership — a community effort to improve the appearance and economic vitality of the city’s downtown.
     Small Business Saturday — the Saturday after Thanksgiving — draws attention to the important role that Cordova and other independent merchants in New Mexico play in the local, state and national economy.
     “Belen has always been good to my business,” Cordova said of the venture her father started 57 years ago. “My father raised our family on salon work.”
    When communities embrace small businesses, it proves that people can thrive in small towns, she said. “Communities are sustained by local businesses — they anchor a community.”
    Business owners like Cordova are the core constituents of the New Mexico MainStreet program, an initiative of the New Mexico Economic Development Department. The MainStreet program, which started in 1985, is reviving the state’s traditional business districts through investments in infrastructure and amenities that bring new businesses and jobs back to distressed downtowns.

  • Six must-know facts about Obamacare open enrollment

    Nov. 15 is the date open enrollment is available for individual healthcare plans offered through the Healthcare.gov site, your respective health insurance marketplace (healthcare.gov/medicaid-chip/eligibility/) or independent agents in your community.
    If you’re working for a company that provides your health insurance, chances are your open enrollment period has already begun. The SHOP insurance marketplace, open to small businesses and nonprofits with 50 or fewer full-time employees, also begins taking online applications Nov. 15.
    If you buy your own personal or family coverage, don’t wait until Nov. 15 to start planning your 2015 coverage decisions — do it now.
    Here are six things you should know to get started:
    1. Timing is tight. Last year’s health insurance enrollment process lasted six months. This year, it’s only three — Nov. 15 to February 15. You may be able to enroll outside of those dates if you’re facing a major life change like a divorce, birth of a child or marriage; otherwise, that’s your window.