Smoking cessation drugs available

Smoking cessation drugs now are available at no charge through the TRICARE Mail Order Program for service members, military family members and retirees under age 65 who want to kick this unhealthy habit. The free cessation drugs finally are available almost five years after Congress ordered them. The free medicines are part of a wider […]

Keep it short, simple and straightforward

Last Monday I attended a "Secrets of Superlative Writing" workshop with Paula LaRocque at a Fort Worth conference. Before becoming a consultant and novelist, LaRocque was a well-known writing coach for the Dallas Morning News. I talked to her afterward, and she confirmed that my obsession with teaching students (and others) to write, "The XXX […]

Monument designation good move, and overdue

M onday was an important day for Northern New Mexico — not to mention for the state and even the nation. On that day, President Barack Obama officially designated the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, preserving some 240,000 acres of our finest wilderness for generations to come. What a long time coming! Residents of […]

Many parts of Iraq war can be considered successes

With the 10th anniversary of "Shock and Awe" — the relentless bombing attack that signaled the beginning of the end of Saddam Hussein's evil regime in Iraq —came the predictable recriminations against the Pentagon, the covert services and, naturally, George W. Bush. "It was not worth it, to put it mildly," observed The Hartford Courant […]

Viewpoint: Legislature finishes with several hits, misses

Another 60 days in the Roundhouse, another set of hits and misses for New Mexicans. In addition to the important tax reform compromise package that awaits action by Gov. Susana Martinez, many other important issues were acted on — or not — in the past two short months. The good news first. Lawmakers: Brought public […]

Despite tough times, legislative session successful

Each day when the Legislature is in session, busloads of school children come from throughout the state to witness democracy in action. Let's hope none of those impressionable youngsters were in attendance on the final morning, when the House squelched debate, ignored the clock and muscled through a 35-page bill that only a handful of […]

TSA finally coming to its senses

You're getting ready to board a plane at an airport in, say, Lubbock or Amarillo. An agent asks you to empty your pockets into a plastic tray. The contents include a pocket knife you've been carrying since Grandpa gave it to you when you were a youngster. Hey, no problem, the agent says. You can […]

Viewpoint: Rebuilding requires knowing history

Rebuilding a war-torn country isn't cheap, but in Iraq it came down to throwing good money after bad because apparently it didn't work. The U.S. has spent $60 billion in Iraq reconstruction efforts. But in his final report to Congress, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen concluded the U.S. didn't get much for […]

Our viewpoint: Sunshine laws aren’t just for media

The great jurist Louis Brandeis once declared, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant." And what did the sunlight cleanse? According to the late U.S. Supreme Court justice, appointed to the high court in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson, sunlight purges government of secrecy and potentially nefarious behavior that could act against the public interest. Thus, in […]

Our viewpoint: Regarding panhandlers and bureaucracy, just say no

Panhandlers clogging traffic on Portales' streets should stop their aggressive behavior. They might get hurt. Plus, they're often seeking handouts from hard-working residents who don't have a dollar to spare. But enacting a new city ordinance, as the Portales City Council is considering, is not necessary. The best way to make these people go away […]

Senate needs to pass interlock change

When suspected drunken drivers are released pending trial, conditions of release mandate they can't drink alcohol. When convicted drunken drivers are sentenced, conditions of probation mandate they not drink alcohol. So why, then, should they be able to buy it? House Bill 87 would prohibit drunken drivers who have interlock licenses from purchasing alcohol. Sponsored […]

Sequester problems rooted in bad priorities

As many federal employees brace for furloughs that will deliver a 20 percent pay cut, and New Mexico prepares for reductions in federal funding for everything from education to job search assistance to anti-pollution efforts, rest easy in knowing your tax dollars have saved 68 imperiled Gila trout that have found temporary shelter in an […]

Efforts at combating bullying go down for a 3 count

Rio Grande High School wrestler Nick Chavez has a state championship while the justice system, some South Valley political power brokers and the anti-bullying efforts of Albuquerque Public Schools all have a black eye. A state senator, a Bernalillo County commissioner and an APS Board member all saw fit to use their official clout and […]

Our viewpoint: Washington needs more solutions, less bickering

An age-old political game is taking the United States to the brink of fiscal calamity once again. This time, with "sequestration" set to take effect Friday, the objective once more appears not to be to find a political solution, but only to lay blame at the feet of the other side. Here's an idea for […]

Editorial: Governor’s proposals warrant further study

Gov. Susana Martinez has laid the ugly truth on the line. "We must diversify our economy and not have such a heavy reliance on federal jobs," she told about 700 people attending a luncheon hosted by the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and other business groups. "We can no longer rely on government as a […]

Editorial: FDA should help businesses comply with new rules

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, one in six Americans will have a food-borne illness every year. Of those, nearly 130,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die. Since last summer there have been outbreaks of salmonella in peanut butter produced in New Mexico, as well as salmonella in mangoes and cantaloupes and listeria in […]

Editorial: 2012 full of unnecessary regulations

2012 was a boom for new government regulations. Unfortunately, a lot of them aren't likely to do anyone any good, except perhaps as employment insurance for those bureaucrats already employed or hired to enforce them. The biggest regulation offenders on a Top 10 worst list, compiled by the conservative Heritage Foundation, range from a simplification […]

Editorial: Schwarzkopf epitome of US military general

For the entire first Gulf War, U.S. Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf was the face of a valiant and successful U.S. military. Schwarzkopf, who died Thursday at 78 from complications from pneumonia, commanded Operation Desert Storm, the U.S.-led coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in 1991. Despite his postwar popularity, Schwarzkopf resisted efforts […]

Editorial: Real ID Act step down slippery slope

You wait in line, oftentimes for hours, at the New Mexico Department of Motor Vehicles office to obtain a driver's license. After all, it's the state's exclusive business to ensure that you meet the requirements set down to qualify for a license, right? Not so fast, according to an intrusive federal law called the Real […]

Editorial: Ruling victory for advocates of open records

N ew Mexicans have friends in the state's judicial system who understand a fundamental truth about how best to serve the public trust. Those friends sit on the New Mexico Court of Appeals, which has upheld a lower-court ruling that lays out a broad — and welcome — definition of which documents the public is […]