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 […]