Local Viewpoints

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Nachison: Grave Concerns About The Iran Nuclear Deal

Dec 13, 2015

Commentary:  The US's many issues, mixed with hype and hypocrisy, roil us.  But the world is still out there.  Remember -  Keep Iran nuclear weapons-free ? ..... 

We now can “officially" understand the deal.  Julie Frifield, the State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs in a  11/19/15 letter to Rep. Michael Pompeo (R-Kan) said "it’s an unsigned agreement."  Talk about dreaming, geopolitics and appeasement. 

Udall Welcomes Historic Agreement To Address Climate Change

Dec 13, 2015
U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

 Commentary: U.S. Senator Tom Udall, a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and Appropriations committees, released the following statement on the agreement reached by the United States and almost 200 other countries to fight climbing temperatures and rising sea levels by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Udall was among a group of 10 senators who attended the United Nations climate talks in Paris last weekend. He has also been a strong defender of U.S.

  Commentary:*Should Doña Ana County jailer Chris Barela have been arrested?

Yes. I don't say Barela should be convicted. I haven't seen all the evidence; and conviction requires proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.” I have seen enough to believe he should be charged. I'd seen enough years ago. (So had county officials and the state police. Someone's inaction let the statute of limitations pass on some of Barela's alleged crimes.) 

Pearce Vows To Fight Funding For Paris Climate Agreement Projects

Dec 12, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  Commentary:  U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce issued this statement following the release of the so-called global climate agreement in Paris:

“The President has decided to put green energy projects overseas ahead of American families and our own economy,” stated Pearce.  “I will do everything I can to ensure that this funding is blocked to protect the people of New Mexico.”

HSC leaders pitch funding priorities to New Mexico lawmakers

Dec 10, 2015

Commentary:  Increasing faculty salaries, addressing the state’s physician shortage and expanding health care education opportunities on the University of New Mexico’s West Campus were among the funding priorities that UNM Health Sciences Center (HSC) leaders presented to state lawmakers in Santa Fe this week.

Lessons in Responsibility During a Bad News Week

Dec 10, 2015

  Commentary:  Last week several stories led Desert Sage to ponder the difference between responsibility and guilt.

Congress Has A Plan To Achieve 100 Percent Renewable Energy By 2050

Dec 10, 2015

 Commentary: World leaders from over 190 countries are meeting right now in Paris to develop global plans to reduce carbon emissions and overcome the threat of climate change. With 2015 shaping up to be the hottest year ever recorded, these talks are more urgent than ever. Extreme conditions are no longer a forecast—they are happening now. The scientific consensus is overwhelming. A more diverse international coalition is calling for action.


WHITE HOUSE REPORT: The Every Student Succeeds Act

Dec 10, 2015

  Commentary:  Last week, the White House released a fact sheet praising House passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) with strong bipartisan support and calling on the Senate to do the same. Today, as President Obama signs that bill into law, the White House is releasing an analysis of progress made in elementary and secondary education since the President took office and how ESSA will cement that progress.

Patterson: New Federal Education Law Means New Mexico Can End "Seriously Flawed" Programs

Dec 9, 2015

 Commentary: New Mexico ushers in this holiday season with one of the best gifts students and educators have received in a long time—passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Passed last week in the U.S. House of Representatives, and this week in the U.S. Senate, ESSA is a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, better known as No Child Left Behind.

US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

Commentary:  Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) voted to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) a bipartisan, bicameral bill to overturn No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The bill passed the senate by a vote of 85 to 12.

  Commentary:  A new report released today from the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) finds that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, is highly effective at reducing food insecurity—the government’s measure for whether households lack the resources for consistent and dependable access to food.

State Senator José Rodríguez

  Commentary- Senator Rodríguez issued the following statement regarding El Paso City Council's unanimous vote to oppose El Paso Electric Company's proposed rate increases:

Seven NM lawmakers provide capital outlay allocations

Dec 8, 2015
State Senator Bill Soules

  Commentary: Only seven of New Mexico’s 112 state lawmakers so far have agreed to publicly share their allocations for brick-and-mortar projects.

They are: Republican House members Yvette Herrell of Alamogordo, Zach Cook of Ruidoso, Larry Scott of Hobbs; Republican Sen. Sander Rue of Albuquerque (Republican House members Jim Dines and Dennis Roch were the first to agree to share the information); and Sen. Bill Soules, Democrat of Las Cruces.

  A new education campaign encourages people to save water for wildlife by identifying the nation’s top “water hog” counties and most wasteful household water-use activities. The “Don’t Be a Drip” website was created by the Center for Biological Diversity, with support from Levi Strauss & Co., to raise awareness about how water consumption affects endangered species.

Leaders Must Prioritize Health and Well-Being of our Families

Dec 7, 2015
Senator Howie Morales

  Commentary:  We have seen tough times in New Mexico. If you are a working parent, chances are that you earn barely enough to make ends meet. The list of daily expenses is becoming more costly – mortgage or rent, food, clothes, childcare, and transportation – not to mention health insurance.

Gun Violence Prevention Vigil Saturday In Santa Fe; Free Gunlocks To Be Distributed

Dec 6, 2015

  Commentary:  On December 2, 2015, 14 people were shot and killed and 14 injured in another mass shooting. It was the second mass shooting that week. On Friday, December 27 a man shot and killed several people at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado. Every day 92 people are shot and killed in the United States. 


Commentary:  The “investigation” of Sheriff Enrique Vigil was a sad joke, rivaled for silliness only by Vigil's lawsuit against two county commissioners.

Sparked by some now-departed county employee, the investigation accused Vigil of saying bad things about the County's HR Department and “contributing to a toxic environment for county employees.”

Viki Harrison, Common Cause New Mexico

 Commentary: In the wake of the guilty plea of former Secretary of State Dianna Duran to embezzling campaign contributions and intensive media coverage of discrepancies in legislators’ and lobbyists’ campaign finance reports, Common Cause New Mexico is calling upon the legislature to fix the campaign reporting system and create an independent ethics commission to prevent further scandals.

FACT SHEET: Congress Acts to Fix No Child Left Behind

Dec 3, 2015

 Commentary: Today, the Obama Administration is praising action by the House of Representatives to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act, a bipartisan bill to fix No Child Left Behind, and is calling on the Senate to take swift action on the legislation so that it can be signed into law before the end of the year.

TPP and the Imperial Art of Diplomacy

Dec 3, 2015

  Commentary:  A reader named Bev in Las Cruces sent Desert Sage a lovely email asking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the highly controversial international treaty that was negotiated in complete secrecy and which President Obama is working hard to railroad through Congress. Bev suggested the TPP might be "a treaty that should lead to more opportunity for diplomacy rather than blasting away."


 Commentary: The “Islamic State” (IS) is very close to beating my country into submission, and I'm ashamed. 

We're a country of immigrants. We take pride in our “melting pot” where traditionally a poor, young immigrant could use diligence, imagination, and a bit of luck to succeed brilliantly. Even our oldest families came here within the past four or five centuries. Our movies often feature some statue in New York of a lady with a lantern, saying “Give me your tired, your poor.” 

 Commentary:  Republican anti-refugee propaganda?  Abominable.  God forbid, more Arabs and Islam here?

  Commentary:  Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist.           

Socialism has a mixed reputation in America, leading many to the conclusion Bernie would ruin us.  That's not true.  He's not proposing something new: we already have housing subsidies, food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, to name a few.  Bernie talks about a “democratic social revolution” through the ballot box, exactly the kind of change our Constitution provides for.

Nachison: Las Cruces Voters Rejected Outside Money

Nov 25, 2015

 Commentary: After Nov. 3’s Las Cruces election results, we can move on and not see outside money for a few months. No more nasty, degrading attempts by low-grade right-wing version of “gotcha” from GOALWestPAC, among others. We have seen what happens when proud folks forget reality and walk upright under kneeling snakes with false points. People are resting or sleeping, and at least one dog will get the loving attention that was overshadowed for something called an election.

Jennings: New Mexico Public Officials Prefer Secrecy

Nov 25, 2015
Trip Jennings-New Mexico In Depth

  Commentary: New Mexico In Depth has run into a wall of silence.

Secrecy, it seems, is an unfortunate byproduct of the way New Mexico pays for hundreds of local projects around the state each year.

Every legislative session, each of the 112 state lawmakers is allowed to allocate money for brick-and-mortar projects of their choosing.

But the public can’t view those lawmaker allocations unless the lawmakers give permission to a legislative agency to share that information.

See the problem here.

Report: Food Tax Could be Detrimental to Health of Low-income New Mexicans

Nov 24, 2015

  Commentary:  Reinstating a tax on the sale of food for consumption at home could harm the health of New Mexicans who are already food insecure—meaning they don’t always have enough to eat. And while the revenue generated from a tax on food could be used to mitigate some of the damage the tax would do, the report finds that it is unlikely governments would spend the new revenue toward that end.

Response To Terrorism Should Be Bravery, Not Oppression

Nov 24, 2015
Rep. Bill McCamley (D-New Mexico House District 33)

  COMMENTARY: Last week, a Virginia mayor used WWII Japanese-American concentration camps as an argument against taking Syrian refugees. Then Donald Trump said as president he would implement a database of all U.S. Muslims, regardless of their involvement in any crime.

  Commentary:   This week most of us will celebrate Thanksgiving, perhaps with the traditional turkey and mashed potatoes, and since we live in New Mexico there might also be tamales, capirotada, perhaps cranberries laced with local pecans.


The Coin of Discovery

Nov 24, 2015

 Commentary:  The year 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Einstein's field equations on the General Theory of Relativity. There are celebrations across the globe to mark this centennial event. Science is cooler these days than it has been for a while. Like Einstein, many bright and curious people don’t have complicated laboratories to work in. And, I believe there are many people who are like Einstein in another crucial way. Their questions don’t get answered by existing knowledge.

Heinrich: Damming Or Diverting The Gila River Is Not A Water Resources Solution

Nov 23, 2015
Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico

  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, made the following statement today after the U.S. Department of the Interior signed an agreement with the New Mexico Central Arizona Project Entity (CAP Entity) that initiates a process to thoroughly evaluate the full range of proposed water management alternatives for the upper region of the Gila River and examine their impacts and costs.