Independent center decides elections

By Tom McDonald State columnist People don’t listen like they used to, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the world of politics. I’ve heard it said that we’re now in an era in which Americans can go through their entire day plugged in to the media and hearing only that which supports their […]

Letter to the Editor — Grateful for great people of Clovis, Portales

A few weeks back my wife and I visited the Blackwater Draw Museum and archaeological sites. We pulled in to a Recreational Vehicle park to spend a couple of days in your area. As we were setting up our RV, we encountered some problems. The next morning we located a welding and repair shop. We […]

Mood not joyous for most despite economic uptick

No wonder there is joy on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones industrial average has traded above 17,000 for the first time. On Main Street, however, the mood is not yet joyous. Issued on the stock market’s last trading day before the Fourth of July, a stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs report calmed worries about the economic […]

Some genetic testing covered again

By Tom Philpott Military Update The Defense Health Agency, relying on medical laboratory experts and existing authority to conduct medical “demonstrations,” will restore TRICARE coverage this month for up to 40 genetic tests used in patient care. Many of these laboratory-developed tests — also called molecular pathology tests — are viewed as medically necessary. But […]

Obamacare problem death by thousand cuts

Watching Obamacare unfold has been like taking a dizzying carnival ride. With every twist and turn, the health care direction is altered and its riders are confronted with unexpected consequences. The Affordable Care Act got off to a wobbly start with an ill-prepared website. Health exchange signups lagged behind expectations, prompting a deadline extension to […]

Vacation an adventure in Arkansas

By Wendel Sloan Local columnist My recent vacation through Arkansas was a tale of triumph, tragedy and astonishment. The latter happened in an east Texas eatery when lifelong friend Sid Hicks put Biblical scholars to shame by creating a self-serve ice-cream masterpiece surpassing the Tower of Babble in height and diversity. In Hot Springs, Arkansas, […]

No easy fix for immigration crisis

By Tom McDonald State columnist No doubt about it. Our great debate over immigration has an emotional side to it. And this time we’re talking about children — more than 50,000 of them and growing — who are risking life and limb to make their way into the United States. No matter how you look […]

Challenge filing deadlines need to be extended

The details are not too much to ask for. Especially if a New Mexican wants to serve on the powerful agency that regulates business and industry in this state — and be paid $90,000 a year to boot. In 2012, New Mexico voters approved three of four constitutional amendments to reform the Public Regulation Commission, […]

Governments pay lip-service to reasoning

By Kent McManigal Local columnist There are two — and only two — ways to interact with other people: You can use reason or you can resort to force. Reason is the civilized choice. The really great thing about most people is they almost never — on their own — resort to force. Rarely does […]

Central America immigration issue not that simple

More than 50,000 immigrant children, mostly from Central America, have crossed the U.S. border since last fall. President Obama hasn’t manned the border himself, welcoming these children with a firm handshake, though that’s the erroneous impression left by the president’s worst critics. Take Texas Gov. Rick Perry. On Sunday, the former Republican presidential candidate told […]

Compensation trends need examining

By Tom Philpott Military Update Military folks upset that recent defense budgets have targeted their pay and benefits have no reason to fear a new 358-page “interim” report from the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission. The nine-member blue ribbon panel does present, in impressive detail, the full range of military and veteran pays, allowances […]

Politicians have no clue about classrooms

Wendel Sloan

By Wendel Sloan Local columnist In January, “Frustrated,” a fifth-year teacher in a lower socio-economic school, was transferred from fourth to first grade because a veteran teacher had had enough and quit to become a bank teller. Her 16 boys and seven girls included four Anglos, 10 Hispanics and nine African-Americans. Three lived with both […]

County jail staff must be held accountable

Nobody suggests it’s easy to run a jail. But most would agree it’s a bad idea to arm a murder suspect with an ax and send him out on a work detail with a lone, unsuspecting county maintenance man to keep watch. Yet that’s what happened Wednesday in Portales. Roosevelt County officials admitted, eventually, they […]

Patriotism shown in many ways

By Tom McDonald State columnist Patriotism isn’t one-dimensional. You won’t find it by wrapping yourself in the American flag. That really says nothing. And you won’t be saying much by shouting out that the U.S. is the greatest nation on Earth. That’s really just a matter of perspective. And while it’s important to lift up […]

Country’s religious freedom hanging by thread

If you like your religious freedoms, you can keep them. For now. The U.S. Supreme Court narrowly ruled Monday that business owners with religious objections can’t be forced to pay for women’s birth control under the Obamacare law. The 5-4 opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, held that imposing the contraceptive mandate on closely held […]

Privacy violations won’t keep us safe

By Kent McManigal Local columnist You are being spied on. As you read this, hackers are getting into your computer, your other electronic information, your telephone, and possibly even watching you with cameras (including the webcam on your computer — even if it’s turned off). And the worst culprits, capable of doing the most harm, […]

Independence Day, not Fourth of July weekend

Rube Render

By Rube Render Local columnist Today is Independence Day. It is not the Fourth of July weekend or the Summer Sale Extravaganza. It is Independence Day and commemorates, “Action of Second Continental Congress, July 4, 1776.” I expect that sooner or later some far-sighted politician will introduce legislation denoting the first or second Friday of […]

Praise, criticism part of elected official’s job

Elected officials and the public servants they supervise can get awfully thin skinned. It’s understandable. After all, who wants to listen to speakers rip them from the podium during public meetings, with comments that can range from right on to ridiculous to patently untrue. Yet, in our system, that’s part and parcel of being a […]

Roth TSP offers many advantages for military savers

By Tom Philpott Military Update Military savers are discovering the special advantages a Roth-type Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) provides to them, given that their taxable income is dampened by tax-free allowances and periodic tax-exempt combat tours. The Roth TSP choice only became available in May 2012. TSP account balances so far average only $2,500 for […]

Cultural diversity still ‘American’

By Tom McDonald State columnist When I first came to New Mexico nearly 10 years ago, I had never been to a fiesta. Since then, I’ve been to more than I can count. I wish I could say it’s because I wanted to embrace the culture I had moved into, but really it was because […]