Sloan: Book includes many eye-openers

My book-of-the-month-summary for July is “The Blank Slate” (Viking, 2002) by Steven Pinker. It is impossible to summarize 509 pages in 300 words, but Pinker says being born a blank slate is a myth. Discoveries in the sciences of mind, brain, genes and evolution debunk “fantastical beliefs flaunted as proof of one’s piety” that moral […]

Wilson: Good art can change destinations

I didn’t think much when the red envelope showed up, because I’d forgotten what I put on my Netflix queue. And then I saw Ethan Hawke staring me down on the disc cover. “Predestination,” the movie I received, seems destined for bargain bin DVD treatment, and it deserves more than that. Without spoiling it, the […]

Legislator trips, even comped, can carry large price tag

Had more of the state lawmakers who have traveled to Azerbaijan on the former Soviet republic’s dime been more willing to talk, one might be able to argue that Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen is simply naive when she says those paying for the 10-day, 14,000-mile trips expect nothing in return. At the […]

Editorial: Ankle bracelet only works if defendant wants it to

The fourth time was the charm for longtime lawbreaker Steven V. Trujillo who, after being turned down three times in his bid to get out of jail, convinced 2nd Judicial District Judge Jacqueline Flores to lower his bond and release him – albeit with an ankle monitor to track his whereabouts and his hollow promises […]

McDonald: Homelessness has no easy fix

It’s easy to see homelessness as more of an urban problem, since that’s where it’s more visible. But it’s a problem in smaller cities and towns too, and New Mexico is no exception. Earlier this month, a group in Silver City took up the issue by hosting a talk about the problems that surround homelessness. […]

Sloan: I had an awesome dream

With months of vegetarianism (interrupted by a brief hiatus on the Texas coast just for the halibut) probably making me unrealistically idealistic, I had a surreal dream about Rush Limbaugh. Here are a few chestnuts I hallucinated him bellowing: “I urge the good folks in Clovis and Portales to replace those Democrats-murdering-babies and hating-on-Hillary signs, […]

Wilson: Always keep a password handy

Even as a child watching Saturday morning cartoons, and even without knowing the word, I could usually spot malarkey pretty quick. “Coming up, a very special ‘Saved By the Bell,’ as Bayside students lose a close friend.” Is the close friend the guy who hasn’t appeared all season, and without explanation has a prominent role […]

Mexico shows it can’t hold onto criminals

If you’re a wealthy drug kingpin serving a 20 year-sentence in a “maximum security” prison, Mexico is the place to do your time: History has shown your stay can be brief. Over the weekend, Joaqumn “El Chapo” Guzman, the notorious Mexican drug lord and head of the infamous Sinaloa Cartel, escaped from Altiplano prison 55 […]

Hobbs active hub of energy, economic power

The road from Artesia to Hobbs — which cuts through the bustling oil-producing town of Loco Hills — is as crowded and active now as before world oil prices began to plummet last fall. And more oil- and gas-related facilities are planned or under way, such as a massive center in Jal to transfer sand […]

McDonald: Governor finds legacy in tourism

Earlier this year I wrote about Gov. Susana Martinez’s tenuous legacy, saying that, after a little more than four years in office, she has little of consequence to tout as a lasting accomplishment. Now, I’m thinking she may have found it in tourism. It’s no surprise Martinez is touting tourism, since it’s on the uptick […]

McDonald: First Cosmicon out of this world

Last weekend I experienced my first Cosmicon. That’s cosmic, not comic, aptly named for its interstellar flavor, which was inspired by an incident in 1947 that put Roswell on the international map. Cosmicon is an annual event alongside a science fiction film festival and the 20-year-old UFO Festival, which The Alien City puts on every […]

Shanna Peeples, teachers like her, hope for future

Teachers from across the country this week gathered in Florida for the National Education Association’s Annual Meeting. The inspirational speakers included one of our own, National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples, who grew up and still lives in the Texas Panhandle. While the list of problems with public education in America is a long […]

Safety a priority in our outdoor enchanted land

New Mexicans love the outdoors. That’s obvious, judging from the thousands of people who take to the mountains, trails or rivers every day of the year. We’re not just weekend nature lovers in the Land of Enchantment. Even with so many outdoor enthusiasts, it’s easy to forget that danger can lie behind the beauty of […]

Sloan: Doing my part, spreading the ‘word’

If you had to fly a rainbow or Confederate flag in your yard — with no chance to explain the nuances of what they mean to you — which would you feel more comfortable with? If someone slaughtered innocent strangers out of hatred, which symbol would you guess represented their beliefs? To understand why 21-year-old […]

McManigal: Bullies employ sleight of hand tricks

If you enjoy watching people flailing around over different ways to control each other, the past couple of weeks has probably been entertaining for you. I’m talking about the conflicting reactions coming from Terribly Sincere People over a spate of recent events. It would be comedy gold if people didn’t take these silly things so […]

Marriage an individual right, not debate for public eye

Last week’s Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage hasn’t changed anyone’s way of thinking. The religious right still believes marriage should be between a man and a woman. Trumpeters of equal rights still believe gay couples deserve to be treated the same as heterosexual couples. The only thing that changed is the law, which no […]

McDonald: Social stigmas changing in today’s world

Americans have seen a lot of civil rights advancements over the past half-century, with a launching point for other causes coming with the modern-day Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and ’60s. That’s when some inalienable rights for African Americans finally took hold, especially but not exclusively in the South, where I was born and […]

Stevens: God is on our side … when we have to bury a child

Government has declared same-sex marriage is “legal” across the land. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, depending on your political party preference, is also legal, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. And Confederate flags are being pulled from some government buildings because they offend some folks. A South Carolina maniac reminded us all why. Meanwhile […]

Government limiting free speech on plates

A new U.S. Supreme Court ruling declares specialized license plates are a form of government speech. That may make life easier for state officials dealing with potentially controversial license requests, but it also appears to dilute individuals’ free-speech rights, as several justices noted in dissent. The Texas Sons of Confederate Veterans sought a special plate […]

Sloan: Tips from book of logic make sense

My book-of-the-month summary for June is “Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking” (2004 Random House) by D. Q. McInerny. Written for a general audience, the author says logic is about reality and truth. We must value facts — whether they mesh with what we wish to be true. Here are selected thoughts from the […]