Today's Opinions

  • There's fresh hope for N.M. health care

    Freshman Texas senator, Republican Ted Cruz, wasted a lot of the U.S. Senate’s time last week on a phony filibuster lambasting “Obamacare.”
    Meanwhile, New Mexicans, along with most other Americans, are now able to shop for health insurance with much greater information about the costs of premiums and the range of coverage available to them than ever before.
    Today, a key provision of the Affordable Care Act kicked in whereby health insurance exchanges in every state make it easier for people to obtain what ACA’s title promises, affordable health insurance.
    Granted, critics of “Obamacare,” as the ACA has come to be known, have so thoroughly confused the issue that many among us range between horrified and mystified when the subject comes up.
    But like it or not, with the advent of these state-based health insurance exchanges, a big step has been taken toward something akin to comprehensive and comprehensible health care coverage in New Mexico and elsewhere in the country.
    Forget all the balderdash with which we have been bombarded, health insurance exchanges are simply markets to which individuals and families seeking insurance can go to compare the coverage options available to them through the various private insurers and to weigh the relative costs the various options carry.

  • Two equally clueless views of New Mexico

    The New Mexico economy is doing better. That’s one view in recent days from the University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research.
    Another view is that, well, yes, while very rural areas have some problems, the life is nice. A third view holds that recruiting businesses is the answer, the only answer, for the state economy.
    Numbers support BBER. We have added wage jobs all year, on a monthly year-over-year basis. An August statistical cloud appears in the drop in the labor force from 934,930 to 927,009. This means that while some people are getting jobs, the trend continues of fewer thinking it is worth looking.
    The Atlantic provides context in a forecast from IHS Global Insight, an international economics firm, placing New Mexico among the eight states comprising the second slowest group for recession recovery, defined as returning to the pre-recession employment peak. We will take until 2016. Only Nevada, Michigan and Rhode Island will take longer.
    The states will still be behind because there will be more people than before the recession, but the old number of jobs.

  • Pet Talk: The Importance of a PETicure

    You and your beloved pet may share a lot in common: enjoying long walks in the park, snuggling up on the couch, or even taking a relaxing dip in the pool. But when it comes to an afternoon of pampering at the nail salon, our pets don’t typically share our idea of relaxation. Nevertheless, even if they find it unpleasant and stressful, clipping your pets’ nails is a crucial grooming technique for their overall health and well-being.
    Leaving your pet’s nails untrimmed can lead to pain and discomfort from many different sources. “Nails that are too long can get hung on fabric, blankets, towels, etc., and get torn off which is not only painful, but tends to cause a great deal of bleeding,” Dr. Stacy Eckman, lecturer at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences said. “Nails that are too long (especially the dewclaws) can also grow around and into the footpads causing pain and infection.”

  • ’Tis the season for Big Money

    Twas three months before Christmas
    And all through the nation
    Everyone was fearful
    And manning their stations.
    When Big Money decided
    It’s that time of year
    To take a break, a reprieve,
    From our anger and fear.
    Big Money’s no fool;
    He’d grown strong and, yes, bold.
    But his streets were in need
    Of more layers of gold.
    He deserved it, you see,
    For he had worked hard this past year.
    Installing the minions
    With false pride and big fear.
    It took hard work to buy
    All those hearts and those minds.
    They came from everyone,
    You and me, all peoples, all kinds.
    They came from the rich.
    They came from the poor.
    They came from the lady
    Minding the store.
    They came from the powerful.
    They came from the weak.
    The came from most everyone,
    Save the humble and meek.
    Big money is mighty
    Like a fortress of steel.
    But he hides well from the masses
    The truth: he’s not real.
    He knows he’s an illusion,
    A facade we’ve all made.
    Formed of our fear, our greed,
    Of the lies that we’ve laid.
    Big Money needs this season,
    One of hope and true peace.

  • Keep garbage away from wildlife

    Garbage is mixed in with trash, recycled cardboard, and papers (chicken bones, pizza boxes, paper plates not rinsed, food containers and wrappers, etc.).
    The smell of garbage attracts the bears into our communities and they become a nuisance and a dangerous threat to the lives of our families. The bear is blamed for doing what comes naturally. The bear is trapped, relocated and sometimes euthanized.
    Everyone can help alleviate these concerns by developing a few simple habits.
    For instance:
    1. Rinse all food smells off of everything you put into your trash and recycle bins.
    2. Collect garbage in a bag in the freezer until the morning of trash day.
    3. If you have to put your trash out the night before, soak some paper towels in ammonia and place them on top in the bin with the garbage.
    4. Keep your trash bins in the garage at least until the snow falls.
    Fruit trees are a problem, but if the fruit can be picked or disposed of when ripe that can help discourage intruders. At least fruit is a natural diet for bears in the wild. None of us want our address on the list of five-star restaurants for bears, or any of the wild animals that live in our canyons and forests. Please help save the lives of the local wildlife and make our communities safer by cleaning up your trash —literally.
    Joy Green

  • That evil sucking sound as the IQ sinks

    Can you calculate 8 times 7? Well, let me “figure it out.” Two sevens is 14. Two twos is four, so four sevens is two 14s. Two 10s is 20 and two fours is 8, so that makes 28.
    Now two fours is 8, so 8 times 7 would be two 28s. Two 20s is two sets of two 10s, so that’s four 10s which is 40, and two 8s is 16.
    OK, 40 and 16 is four and one tens, or 50, plus the 6. So 8 times 7 is 56!
    Whew! Good thing you didn’t ask me to calculate 16 times 13. I would get carpal tunnel of the tongue.
    So, give me another one! What’s that? 8 times 7?
    Hmmm, let’s see. Two sevens is 14. Two twos is four, so four sevens is two 14s.
    Gee, haven’t we been here before?
    Memorization is out of fashion. The recent trend has been “constructivism,” the belief that children learn better if they “discover” the knowledge rather than being given it to consume.
    Translated to normal English — people learn not by being told how to do something, but rather by figuring it out all by themselves. You know, kind of like how people learn to fly airplanes?
    That’s an interesting concept. I wonder how many people “discovered” the Pythagorean Theorem on their own? Or how to calculate pi?

  • Perspective, persistence important aspects of running a business

    Business leaders are a hardy breed, loath to admit trouble and express anything but optimism and confidence. This tough façade is handy when applying for loans, seeking investment capital and competing in the rough and tumble marketplace.
    But it’s hard to maintain when customers are drifting away, employees are quitting, cash flow is falling short and a new product is taking too long to reach market. It’s hard to stay externally cool when internal fears wear down nerves and mental stability.
    As tempting as it might be to turn inward and work even harder at such times, experts suggest a healthier approach is for the business owner to create some distance between her personal and professional lives.
    When a business is failing or struggling, the owner shouldn’t isolate himself or develop the tunnel vision of obsession; that just intensifies panic and despair. People who have been there say hard times are the times to strengthen meaningful connections with family, friends and one’s inner self — to find meaning outside work.

  • Seniors most vulnerable to scams

    I look forward to the day when we no longer need to warn senior citizens about scams designed to separate them from their hard-earned money. I’m not holding my breath, however.
    According to the FBI, senior citizens make attractive targets for con artists for a variety of reasons:
    They’re more likely to have a nest egg, own their home and have good credit.
    Seniors are less likely to report fraud because they don’t know where to report it, don’t realize they’ve been scammed, or are too ashamed at having been duped — possibly fearing they won’t be trusted to manage their own finances going forward.
    When elderly victims do report crimes, they often make poor witnesses because of faulty memory.
    Seniors are more susceptible to products promising increased wealth, cognitive function, virility, physical conditioning, anti-cancer properties and so on.
    Here’s a roundup of common telemarketing scams targeting seniors and how you can avoid them:
    Be wary, even if callers appear legitimate. Caller ID “spoofers” pretending to represent your bank, credit card company, or government agencies may try to trick you into revealing personal information under the pretext of fixing a security breach. When in doubt, hang up and contact the organization yourself.