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Today's Opinions

  • Letters to the editor 7-20-14

     

    School Board takes no action on merit pay 

    Parents and students in this school district deserve good teachers who are well paid.  Consequently, it is disappointing that our school district is not participating in the New Mexico Public Education Department’s (NMPED) Incentive Pay Pilot (ped.state.nm.us/ped/RFPDocs/).

    A statement in a Los Alamos Monitor story (July 10) about the Incentive Pay Pilot Program incorrectly implies that NMPED will control and administer this pilot. 

    However, the Incentive Pay Pilot Application itself states that it is up to each participating school district to design an incentive pay model. If the application is accepted, funding is provided by NMPED.

  • Again, the isolationist smear

     

    It doesn’t take much to be smeared as an isolationist by leading Republicans. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who appears to be running for president again, and former vice president Dick Cheney — not to mention Sen. John McCain, Gov. Chris Christie and other members of the GOP establishment — can always be counted on to drag out that insult whenever they sense a threat from anyone not as hawkish as they are. 

    If they thought that 30,000 U.S. troops should be sent somewhere, and someone recommended sending only 10,000, we could count on Perry, Cheney, et al., to condemn the other person as an appeasing isolationist.

    Let’s be clear: Someone who simply doesn’t want Americans draw into foreign conflicts is not an isolationist. The proper word is “noninterventionist.” “Isolationism” suggests withdrawal from the world. But noninterventionists don’t seek that. 

  • Interest rate limits needed to protect borrowers

    Getting a small loan license in New Mexico is a cinch. Just pay a $1,500 fee to the Department of Regulation and Licensing, show you have $30,000 in capital and a reasonably clean criminal record and you are in. There were 656 small loan operators in the state at the close of 2013.
    The powers that come with a license are astonishing. Outside of a very narrow product area technically defined as Payday Loans, licensees can charge any interest rate over any period of time with almost any loan terms they choose on amounts of $2,500 or less. Small lenders routinely burden unsophisticated borrowers with interest rates of anywhere between 200-600 percent and sometimes more than 1,000 percent. In the process, they often point to the license on their wall claiming their products are “state approved.” That license is, in fact, their license to steal.

  • The bloodstained banner

    Once again, the Confederate flag is in the news. Washington and Lee University recently announced it would take down the Confederate flags, which had been displayed next to the university’s statue of Robert E. Lee.
    Twelve African American law students protested the display as being “hate symbols representative of slavery and racism.”
    Supporters of displaying the flag countered that “the Confederate flag honors freedom-loving Americans who fought against Northern tyranny” and that removing the flag “besmirched Lee’s military honor.”
    You do have to respect freedom-loving people who owned slaves. I suppose they’re also proud that the university owned about 80 slaves who were used to build dormitories in the early 1800s.
    The university’s website states, “The Washington and Lee University community thrives on an ethic of honor and civility.”
    I’m sure that’s exactly how their slaves viewed it.
    The university’s President Kenneth Ruscio did remove the flags, but refused to apologize for Lee’s actions during the Civil War. Ruscio said, “Lee was an imperfect individual living in imperfect times.”

  • Interest rate limits needed to protect borrowers

     

    Getting a small loan license in New Mexico is a cinch. Just pay a $1,500 fee to the Department of Regulation and Licensing, show you have $30,000 in capital and a reasonably clean criminal record and you are in. There were 656 small loan operators in the state at the close of 2013.

    The powers that come with a license are astonishing. Outside of a very narrow product area technically defined as Payday Loans, licensees can charge any interest rate over any period of time with almost any loan terms they choose on amounts of $2,500 or less. Small lenders routinely burden unsophisticated borrowers with interest rates of anywhere between 200-600 percent and sometimes more than 1,000 percent. In the process, they often point to the license on their wall claiming their products are “state approved.” That license is, in fact, their license to steal.

  • The bloodstained banner

     

    Once again, the Confederate flag is in the news. Washington and Lee University recently announced it would take down the Confederate flags, which had been displayed next to the university’s statue of Robert E. Lee.

    Twelve African American law students protested the display as being “hate symbols representative of slavery and racism.”

    Supporters of displaying the flag countered that “the Confederate flag honors freedom-loving Americans who fought against Northern tyranny” and that removing the flag “besmirched Lee’s military honor.”

    You do have to respect freedom-loving people who owned slaves. I suppose they’re also proud that the university owned about 80 slaves who were used to build dormitories in the early 1800s.

  • Supreme Court to Obama Administration: Congress writes laws, you don't

    Now that the dust has settled on the Supreme Court’s 2014 session, we can look at the decisions and conclude that the Obama Administration received a serious smack down. Two big cases got most of the news coverage: Hobby Lobby and the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) recess appointments. In both cases, the administration lost. At the core of both, is the issue of the administration’s overreach.
    Within the cases the Supreme Court heard, one had to do with energy: Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) v. Environmental Protection Agency — and it, too, offered a rebuke.
    The UARG v. EPA decision came down on June 23. The decision was mixed — with both sides claiming victory. Looking closely, there is cause for optimism from all who question the president’s authority to rewrite laws.
    A portion of the UARG v. EPA case was about the EPA’s “Tailoring Rule” in which it “tailored” a statutory provision in the Clean Air Act — designed to regulate traditional pollutants such as particulate matter — to make it work for CO2. In effect, the EPA wanted to rewrite the law to achieve its goals. The decision, written by Justice Antonin Scalia for the majority, stated:

  • A tailored approach needed to market N.M. Hispanics

    Doing business in New Mexico requires an awareness of — and sensitivity to — the attitudes and preferences of people who identify as Hispanic or Latino, because this demographic represents a plurality of New Mexico’s population. Hispanics are 47 percent of the state’s residents — the largest percentage of any other racial or ethnic group.
    In its annual statewide perception survey, the Garrity Group learned how Hispanics and Anglos feel about 17 industries and institutions and 14 professions and how people in both groups use different media for news, information and shopping.
    Likenesses and differences
    In some areas, the positive feelings of Hispanics and Anglos toward various institutions weren’t far apart. For example, both groups had similar feelings about the health-care system, with Hispanics expressing 52 percent favorability and Anglos 46 percent. Both groups also had poor opinions of journalists and lawyers.