Budget environment threatens readiness

By Tom Philpott Military Update Military leaders lead. Politicians can lead too, of course, but usually not before sticking a wet finger in the wind to learn how political winds blow. The contrast was evident last Wednesday as top enlisted leaders delivered a kind of suck-it-up-and-punch-us message to a group of nervous senators. The armed [...]

State employment system in need of major update

Would you wait 78 days for a job with the state of New Mexico? More importantly, could you? According to various news reports, almost half of Americans have more credit-card debt than emergency savings, more than three-fourths live paycheck to paycheck and 28 percent have no emergency savings. So unless you are fortunate enough to [...]

Money just like speech, only louder

Ned Cantwell

By Ned Cantwell State columnist Last week the Supreme Court opened the door to even more influence by money in American politics. One of the arguments was that contributing money to a candidate is a First Amendment right, no different whatsoever from, say, a newspaper endorsing a candidate. Let’s look at how that may play [...]

Nuclear stockpile maintenance deserves full attention

A highly critical audit of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex does not invite confidence in the agency’s ability to maintain our nuclear stockpile reliably. The Department of Energy’s Inspector General report on National Nuclear Security Administration’s facilities — including Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories — details just how lax official record-keeping has been. It’s [...]

Not everything has its reason

Wendel Sloan

By Wendel Sloan Local columnist Some say everything happens for a reason. That seems simplistic — even cruel. What possible purpose is there for 239 people to lie on the bottom of the ocean. Whether mechanical failure or deliberate act, the final moments of terror were incomprehensible. Vanished, ranging in age from 2 to 76, [...]

Immigration control breaks law

By Kent McManigal Local columnist Government at every level throughout America needs to obey the U.S. Constitution — the highest law of the land — to the letter. All federal, state and local governments need to tightly control and regulate who is allowed to enter our country, and make sure those allowed in are complying [...]

Result-oriented system better for schools

Washington, D.C., bureaucrats are arguing whether New Mexico should lose $34 million in federal special education funding because it didn’t spend as much on those students in 2011 as it did in 2009. Ditto for 2012. To be clear, this is a dollars-out-the-door equation with spending, not results, as the bottom line. The feds don’t [...]

Savings, conservation start with small steps

In the annals of ideas to save taxpayer dollars, we liked one suggestion from a 14-year-old from the Pittsburgh area. His simple but brilliant idea? Use lighter type fonts and save ink. That’s it. The idea began as a science fair project. Suvir Mirchandani wanted to help his Pittsburgh-area middle school cut waste; so, for [...]

Smarter to supply Europe coal than gas

Jim Constantopolous Guest columnist As much as we would like to use America’s abundance of natural gas as a political lever against Russia’s Vladimir Putin, uncertainty over the demand for relatively high-cost U.S. gas will likely force us to be more realistic about what we can accomplish. A better strategy would be to supply Europe [...]

Insight gleaned from homeless young man

Wendel Sloan Local columnist Around Portales I’ve seen numerous people holding up “need help” signs. In the past, mostly because of traffic, I seldom stopped. Lately, I’ve been donating a few bucks. Most recently, I parked and motioned a young man over. His handmade sign, written with red marker on white paper taped to brown [...]