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Today's Opinions

  • You just can’t make this stuff up

    As the new year begins, I can’t help but take a look back and gaze at the wonders of the year past.
    By “wonders,” I mean that I can’t help wondering how civilization survived another year of its continuing bizarre behavior.
    For instance, the Pepsi company almost succeeded in destroying life as we know it by test marketing a Doritos flavored soda. What says “I’ve lost what little mind I have” better than saying it with a mouthful of fizzy Doritos?
    Not to be outdone on the stupidity meter, James Manning, pseudo-pastor of the ATLAH “church” accused Starbucks of flavoring its lattes with the “seeds of sodomites.”  Actually, I think they only do that with the Frappuccinos.
    Yes, 2014 was a good year. A company released a kiddie coloring book featuring Ted Cruz fighting off serpents (Obamacare and social programs), flying on the back of eagles (defending the Second Amendment and the rights of firearm manufacturers), and various pages designed to give the children nightmares (images of Palin, Beck and Bachmann).
    The publisher originally wanted to make it a “color by numbers” book, but Cruz had trouble with the double digits.

  • A symbolic battle against a way of life

    As the author of a 1998 book, “Talking So People Will Listen,” I perked up when an article within an issue of The Atlantic earlier this year was brought to my attention: “How to Talk About Climate Change So People Will Listen,” by Charles C. Mann — which offers some noteworthy insights.
    Mann is obviously a believer in anthropogenic (or man-made) climate change, making his observations all the more interesting.
    Much of his essay is spent deriding the left for its unrestrained rhetoric that it uses to “scare Americans into action.” He says “the chatter itself, I would argue, has done its share to stall progress.”
    Within his argument is some history and context that is illustrative for those who see climate change as cyclical — something natural that has happened before and will happen again, rather than something that is new, scary and human-caused.
    Those of us who believe the climate changes, but that human activity is, certainly, not the primary driver, struggle to understand the cult-like following of alarmists like Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org.

  • Old dogs can learn new tricks

    Whether you plan on getting a new puppy or just want Fido to finally nail the “sit” command, it is never too late to begin training your dog.
    Here are some tips for having a well-behaved pooch just in time for the holiday season.
    “The first few commands are usually basic obedience commands such as sit, down, stay, walking on leash and most importantly, to come when called,” said Elizabeth Bachle, a technician at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences pharmacy and an agility instructor at Puppy Love training. “These are a great foundation to training more complex behaviors and can keep your pet out of harm’s way.”
    New puppy owners often get caught up in the excitement of having a four-legged friend to play with and forget that training them early on is most effective.
    However, don’t believe the saying that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Even your loyal, more seasoned companions can improve on current techniques or learn new skills.

  • LA County Council doesn’t endorse tax on food

    LA County Council doesn’t endorse tax on food

  • Leave us alone! We can’t breathe!

    The last words out of the mouth of strangling victim Eric Garner are actually a metaphor for how libertarians feel about the entire welfare-warfare state under which modern-day Americans have been born and raised.
    Don’t his words express precisely how we libertarians feel? Leave us alone, we say to the state. Get out of our faces. Get out of our lives. You’re suffocating us. You’re killing us — literally, spiritually, financially and economically.
    Thomas Jefferson described this phenomenon in the Declaration of Independence: the king’s government was sending “swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”
    There is hardly any part of our lives that government officials aren’t involved in. They just won’t leave us alone. Drug laws. Economic regulations. Income taxation. IRS audits. Asset forfeitures. Home raids. Secret surveillance. Draft registration. Permits and licenses. Minimum-wage laws. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Terrorist blowback from an interventionist foreign policy. Checkpoints. Perpetual crises and chaos.
    It never stops.
    The direct cause of Eric Garner’s death was obviously the chokehold that the cops put on his neck, which prevented him from breathing.

  • Make teachers happy

    I keep talking with public school teachers who are miserable. They’re all looking at their bank accounts trying to figure out when they can retire.
    The purpose of the school system is to educate students, not to make its employees happy. Students come first. But it’s hard to imagine that students are getting the best possible education when their teachers show up each morning feeling beaten and dispirited.
    They say it’s because of testing — too much testing, too little time to teach, testing results applied to their evaluations in ways that they say are unfair or illogical.
    Some complain about Common Core standards, but testing is still the primary theme.
    They are echoing a common complaint of unhappy employees. Employees are unhappy, it’s said, when they have no sense of control over their work, when they think things are being done wrong but they can’t do anything about it, when they don’t trust management and believe management won’t listen to them.
    That’s the classic formula, virtually guaranteed to produce low morale.

  • Reform or more of the same in Santa Fe?

    New Mexico’s Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, arguably the most powerful elected Democrat in the state, recently laid out some of his views on the upcoming legislative session.
    He claimed to support “compromise,” but it is clear that what he really means is that he has no plans to support reforms that will boost New Mexico’s struggling private sector economy.
    Sanchez’s intransigence is not surprising given that he and his allies have controlled New Mexico’s Legislature for many decades and see the recent GOP takeover of the House as a temporary loosening of control as opposed to a decisive break. That big-government ideology, by the way, has driven New Mexico to the bottom of most good lists and the top of most bad ones.
    Sanchez, despite his rhetoric of compromise, has stated firmly that he opposes “right to work.” On the other hand, he supports a new $50 million “closing fund” designed to bring new businesses to our state.
    His positions are not surprising for two reasons. Despite both policies ostensibly being “pro-business,” right to work will cost zero tax dollars, reduces the fundraising power of a key special interest group, and has reams of studies showing that its effectiveness.

  • Continuation not vision

    If a vision for the state and the articulation of action for confronting our myriad deep structural problems appeared at the recent New Mexico Tax Research Institute legislative outlook conference, it slipped out the door faster than it entered.
    Ferreting out a vision will be further obstructed by the newest job performance report, which appeared three days after the TRI meeting.
    From November 2013 to November 2014, a seasonally-unadjusted 14,700 new wage jobs appeared, a 1.7 percent increase that is the best in a long time.
    The growth is “close to the long term average,” said Tom Clifford, Department of Finance and Administration Secretary. I suspect that the happy news will divert the existing slight attention to matters such as our pathetic labor force participation, which is toward the top of the structural problems.
    What, me worry?
    In another venue, the December Consensus Revenue Estimate, reality begins to intrude. The report cites University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, which “points out that New Mexico is the only state that has experienced so weak a recovery and questions whether the state’s weak performance is a cyclical, temporary phenomenon or if it indicates a more troubling structural change in the state’s economic competitiveness.”