Political rhetoric must give way to reality

By Tom Philpott Military Update In shaping a 2015 defense authorization bill, Congress has decided to protect the prized commissary benefit from the most worrisome budget threat to base grocery stores in decades. But military personnel are not likely to escape other key compensation curbs to include a second consecutive annual pay raise cap in […]

Less government means more opportunity

We won’t tell you how to vote on Tuesday. But here are some suggestions for finding candidates who favor less government control of our lives. • If a wanna-be public servant comes to your door and asks for your vote, ask what kind of public service they do now. If the answer is meals-on-wheels or youth […]

In good company if I die on Plains

By Wendel Sloan Local columnist For my final nap, I intend on returning to my east Texas roots. If fate disguised as an irritated reader intervenes and my final breath is on the High Plains, I will be in good company. Since 1982, I have attended funerals of far too many who awed and inspired. […]

Fly, but don’t lose your way home

Tom McDonald

By Tom McDonald State columnist About this time every year, parents all over New Mexico swell with pride as their daughters and sons walk across the graduation stage — and wave goodbye. The walk is ceremonial; the wave, at least for small towns, is figurative. As the urbanization of America continues, fewer of these young […]

Taxpayers must be considered in SunZia deal

The Department of Defense is offering up a reasonable compromise that could allow the SunZia electricity transmission line project to proceed while protecting the national security mission at White Sands Missile Range. It’s important that in the end taxpayers are protected, too. The proposed $1.2 billion privately owned 515-mile electricity transmission line would take renewable […]

Restricting liberty leads to tragic results

By Kent McManigal Local columnist As soon as I heard about the Santa Barbara, California, murders I held my breath and waited for the anti-gun advocates to start dancing in the blood — I didn’t need to wait long. Six innocent people died — three of those shot to death. All because one person (who […]

Nature offers sensory symphony

By Kitsana Dounglomchan Local columnist Cassandra, our two dogs and I drove six hours northwest from Clovis to camp near Lake Isabel in Colorado. We were excited to smell the quaking Aspen and blue spruce trees. Cassandra assumed the temperature would be comfortable in late spring.  And she confirmed this by checking the weather report for […]

Veterans group’s tactics offensive

By Tom Philpott Military Update This month marks 20 years of writing Military Update. I’ve used it three times to editorialize about news events, including President Clinton’s sex scandal while commander in chief and President George W. Bush’s worrisome plan to invade Iraq a month before it happened. This week I do so again to […]

State deserves better teacher evaluation system

Is 99 percent of your workforce effective? Is 99 percent of any workforce effective? Exactly. That’s not necessarily a question of how hard those employees work, or how much they try, or how nice they are. It’s a question of how productive they are and what kind of results they deliver. And now, 102 years […]

Open house hopefully sign of things to come

Over the weekend, I believe there was a cosmic symbolism between the Cannon Air Force Base air show and all the pouring rain. Here’s what I mean. Many of us were awakened early Saturday morning to the crackle of lightning, the roar of thunder, and rain drops pelting our roof tops. I was happy. Rain […]

Free-speech prayer ruling comes with cost

The Supreme Court says public prayer before city council meetings is OK. That’s got to be a victory in the culture wars. But, will people who are deeply religious be happy with the notion of prayer as a form of free speech? The subject of prayer before governmental meetings wouldn’t be contentious except for one […]

No headline here — silence is golden

There are few members of the American Civil Liberty Union in the conservative communities this column appears. They might well conduct their meetings in a phone booth. (Note to younger readers: “Phone booth” is an ancient call box invented in 1889. It was a glass-enclosed contraption just wide enough and tall enough for your grandpa […]

Fabricating quotes hurts credibility

Most of us love the freedom of speech we enjoy in the United States — unless we disagree with those exercising it. If we do not slander others, we can say whatever we want and the worst that can happen is we get attacked with words. (There are exceptions, of course, like being too outspoken […]

Viewpoint: West fire has lessons for everybody

In retrospect, we often come to understand   that many tragedies could have been prevented if only certain procedures had been followed or a few safety devices had been in place beforehand. We gain clarity by looking back, but the clarity is wasted if it doesn’t lead to a meaningful attempt to prevent a similar tragedy […]

McManigal: Politicians irrelevant, unnecessary

Many people are terribly obsessed over what a tiny minority of rather unimportant and silly people are doing. It would be funny if it didn’t waste so much life. So much time and space is taken up by the news media discussing them, and so much time is spent by individuals debating which one is […]

McDonald: Contamination deserves discussion

A couple of reports related to Superfund sites in northwestern New Mexico caught my attention last week, in part because of a trip I took to the Navajo Nation and its governmental center, Window Rock, Ariz., where the Navajo Times is headquartered. The Times had a front-page story on contaminated groundwater as a result of […]

Proposal would create largest free-trade area

If there were ever a way devised to promote economic growth, add jobs, expand markets, promote common interests and avert traditional wars without costing taxpayers a penny or adding to budget deficits, the United States should be first in line to embrace it. Senators, are you listening? The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a proposal born […]

Quote teaches us valuable lesson

Paris Gray isn’t an irresponsible student.   She’s her senior class’ vice president. She didn’t drink and drive and kill somebody. She’s involved in Students Against Drunk Driving and other organizations. Still, the Atlanta student came close this week to being barred from speaking at her high school graduation, because of a yearbook quote. Gray’s yearbook […]

Retirement concepts ‘hybrid’ plan

By Tom Philpott Military Update Current military members and retirees are to be “grandfathered” from any retirement changes that the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission recommends to Congress next February. Current force members shouldn’t let that dampen their interest in the work of the commission or its final recommendations, because any retirement reforms proposed […]

Thunderbirds showcase skills next weekend

The argument, “There’s nothing to do around here,” flies out the window and into the wild blue yonder next weekend. The Thunderbirds are back. Cannon Air Force Base hosts the air demonstration squadron at its open house and air show Saturday and next Sunday. Admission is free. The precision aerobatics begin at 2 p.m. both […]