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 […]

Green Tea Party for bare essentials

Wendel Sloan

Wendel Sloan Local columnist If I decide to run against David Lansford and Sharon King for combined mayor of Clovis/Portales again, it will be on the resurrected Green Tea Party (GTP) ticket. Our views do not strictly fit Republican or Democratic platforms, and the Tea, Libertarian and Communist parties are impractical. The Parrothead Party would […]

State should note Wisconsin youthful offender study

In 1995, the Wisconsin Legislature established a program to study and, ideally, cut recidivism among the toughest of its youthful offenders — those who had committed homicide. Of the group of 200 that was given a year of specially designed therapeutic exercises and games, as well as designated ways to consider the consequences of their […]

Limited government Utopian dream

By Kent McManigal Local columnist The siren songs of the next election season are already tickling your ears. One thing I notice a lot of people advocating is a “return to the Constitution,” which they believe would bring back “limited government.” I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it didn’t work before, […]

King should look into campaign money scheme

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King, one of the people specifically empowered to look into campaign finance violations, should take a break from his run to put the Democrats back in the Governor’s Mansion and investigate how around $128,000 was essentially laundered through a web of liberal political action committees before the June 3 primary […]

Feds have no business deciding what’s offensive

The nickname “Redskins” is indeed offensive to many. A good argument can be made that it’s time to move beyond it. That certainly will happen when fans quit buying tickets and merchandise. But the conclusion by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that the Washington Redskins’ name is “disparaging of Native Americans” and it is therefore […]

Non-VA care growth worrisome

By Tom Philpott Military Update Like a waiter bringing the check after a high-spirited meal in a fine restaurant, the Congressional Budget Office has dampened some good vibes among lawmakers who rushed to solve the access-to-care crisis for veterans. CBO estimates the cost of requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide non-VA medical care […]

Letter to the editor — Maturity helps heal high school wounds

You’d think I’d have been apprehensive about coming back to Portales to see people I hadn’t seen in almost two decades. You’d think I’d have been apprehensive about reliving some of my high school experiences when some of those experiences weren’t the best. Heck, I didn’t even have that many experiences compared to others. But […]

Iraq war architects should consider sitting one out

Seldom have truer words been written: “Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.” Trouble is, the words were written by former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, Liz, about current President Barack Obama and his foreign policy. That the man who helped lead this […]

Sloan: Educated will seek out evidence

When this column was due, I was vacationing in Arkansas — caves, cousins, cabins, canoes — so I perused Facebook for inspiration. A few anti-education, anti-intellectual, reverse-snobbery sentiments caught my attention. One pejorative term was “overly educated.” Since I have a master’s degree, perhaps I am lumped in that category. My degrees at a blue-collar […]

Cantwell: Barney doesn’t get us; hard to blame him

There’s something about the sound of the ring. Maybe it is just acute intuition on my part, but I often just know I am going to pick up the receiver to hear Barney’s bark. Yep. It was him. My New Jersey friend was all in a dither over New Mexico politics. “Did your governor not […]

Solitary should only be used when necessary

Solitary confinement is “a tool that needs to be managed appropriately,” said New Mexico Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel. After spending 48 hours in solitary at the State pen, New Mexico’s top prison guard now has some personal experience to motivate him to carry out his vow to reduce the hundreds of inmates in segregation, which […]

Imposing law violates others’ rights

By Kent McManigal Local columnist Not a day goes by I don’t witness a complaint by someone saying their freedoms are being trampled on and legislated away. Almost everyone can point to something they enjoy that has been regulated into illegality — or severely restricted — by government edict. Yet, if you question most of […]

Grouse threatened listing no solution

By Jim Constantopoulos Guest columnist Fish and Wildlife Service seems confounded by the negative response to listing the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species. In designating the lesser prairie chicken as threatened, a step down from endangered but warranting specific protections, it had provided assurances that no additional federal regulations that might have an […]

Americans need more inspiration at ballot box

L ines of voters once again stood patiently, waiting to vote in the Afghanistan runoff election over the weekend. At risk to life and limb, the citizens of that war-torn country demonstrated that they understand the importance of voting. Such regard for the ballot is something Americans have lost. A primary election during a non-presidential […]