KRWG

Local Viewpoints

KRWG welcomes you to join our community discussion.  E-mail your comments to:  feedback @ nmsu.edu  Comments included here represent the views of the individual writers and do not necessarily represent the views of KRWG or New Mexico State University.  Submissions must adhere to these guidelines.

The Dematerializing Economy

Nov 15, 2019
Dr. Chris Erickson

Commentary: Left wing environmentalists would have you believe that the insatiable needs of capitalism are inexorably stripping way precious resources. That greed and the desire for more and more is destroying the planet. Well, there is no doubt that capitalists are greedy, but that greed is not stripping the planet but rather driving the development of new technologies that allow us to make stuff with fewer materials.

The U.S. economy is, in fact, dematerializing. We use fewer and fewer molecules each year. Less copper, less iron, less of just about everything. The reason for this is the capitalist drive for efficiency—the drive to get more from less.

imagebase.net

Commentary: Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) introduced companion bills in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by mitigating harmful environmental impacts of the corn ethanol mandate and advancing the next generation of biofuels that actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The GREENER Fuels Act (Growing Renewable Energy through Existing and New Environmentally Responsible Fuels Act) would phase out the corn ethanol mandate and immediately reduce the amount of ethanol in fuel by as much as 1 billion gallons by capping the amount of ethanol that can be blended into conventional gasoline at 9.7 percent. After thirteen years of increasing mandates, corn ethanol is now a mature technology, but one that has contributed to habitat loss and greater water pollution from pesticides and fertilizers.

Walt Rubel

Commentary: One of the two incoming members of the Las Cruces school board believes we should have an entrance exam for kindergartners, and only those who pass should be let in.

“I believe that there should be requirements for children entering kindergarten,” Carol Lynn Cooper said during an on-air radio forum on KTAL-LP community radio in September. “It puts the responsibility on parents. I mean, if we say five years from now, a student must come to school being able to read … with certain skills that they probably get best from their parents. The point is that they are really ready for school. And so, when a kindergarten teacher is working with these students, they are ready for what she has to give and develop.”

RPNM Chairman Steve Pearce

The following is a statement from Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce regarding the public impeachment hearings in Washington:

"These impeachment hearings are nothing more than"travesty theater." There's no due process here, no one has first-hand knowledge, and there's no quid pro quo. It's all heresay and second hand knowledge. It's unbelievable the lengths to which the Democrats will go in this partisan witch hunt. The President has to endure this charade all while he continues to deliver on his promises to make this country great again."

Torres Small Statement on DACA Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Nov 12, 2019

Commentary: Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small, NM-2, released the following statement after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, a case that could decide the fate of nearly 7,000 Dreamers across New Mexico:

“Dreamers are students, small business owners, first responders and essential parts of our community who strive to contribute to the growth and prosperity of the only places they’ve called home. Earlier this year, I voted to pass the DREAM and Promise Act in the House, a bill which an overwhelming majority of the country supports.  When most of the country wants to protect Dreamers, Congress would be smart to act accordingly.  As the justices weigh the merits of this case, I will continue to fight for a clear and moral immigration system that keeps our border communities vibrant and safe.”

Udall Statement on Supreme Court Case on DACA Program

Nov 12, 2019
U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

Commentary: Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) issued the following statement on the Supreme Court case to determine the validity of President Trump’s decision to terminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the program that protects thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments today to examine whether the Trump Administration’s decision to terminate DACA was lawful. Previous lower court decisions have supported the legal grounds for the DACA program.

Peter Goodman

Commentary: “¿Qué tal?” [What's up?] That casual greeting inspired the official call-letters “KTAL” for our Las Cruces community radio station.

Despite limited funds, KTAL-LP is a pretty neat radio station – due solely to volunteers. July 2019 marked two full years on the air. Before that, a small but dedicated group worked more than two years to get the station on the air. 

 

Photo by: Nathan J. Fish

Commentary:  Complaints about “political correctness,” “purity” and “woke culture” are all mind-numbing clichés.

With a bit of effort, we could be more precise. Is the object of scrutiny being pedantic, unreasonably partisan, impractical or hypocritical?

Those distinctions allow us to have a conversation, at least; but conversation may not be the point. Keep in mind that the function of these clichés is more often to close down reflection and discussion; and that serves existing power relationships well.

 

A system by the lawmakers and for the lawmakers

Nov 7, 2019
Walt Rubel

COMMENTARY: New Mexico has two ways of distributing money for capital outlay projects, and both were on display here last week.

School building projects are governed by the state Public Schools Capital Outlay Council, which has a rigorous evaluation system to impartially rank projects and take care of those schools that have the greatest need first.

All schools in the state are ranked based on statewide adequacy standards to create the Facilities Assessment Database. School districts seeking capital outlay projects submit a request for funding, which is then scored on a points system based on critical needs.

Rep. Xochitl Torres-Small (D-NM 2)

  Commentary: Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), Committee Chairs and the New Mexico Delegation called on the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General to launch an investigation into the actions of Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) with regard to the treatment of Roxsana Hernandez and ICE’s failure to preserve video evidence that may have been crucial to her family seeking justice. Roxsana, a trans woman from Honduras, died just weeks after arriving in the United States.

 

The letter was signed by CHC Chairman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (MS-2), Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (NY-10), Judiciary Subcommittee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (NM-3), Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small (NM-2), and Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-1).

Deep State Meaning under the Trump Administration

Nov 4, 2019

Commentary: Back in the 19th century, federal employees served at the pleasure of the President and could be fired at any time. The result was the spoil system--which meant that jobs were used to support political parties in power.

The Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 and subsequent laws change that situation and hiring was based on merit. Under the Hatch Act of 1939, Civilian employees are not allowed to engage in political activities. Each Agency has a limited number of Political employees that are appointed by the President, but the vast majority are civil servants protected by Civil Service laws.

Celebrating Hatch, Chile Capital Of The World

Nov 4, 2019

Commentary: Back in July, I visited my sister who lives in Vancouver, Washington, just north of Portland, Oregon. She is a chile fanatic, and when we are together, we try to cook both red and green chile dishes. When I visit her, I pack my suitcase with fragrant ground red chile from New Mexico. On this recent visit, we went to the supermarket to pick up some fixings to prepare our recipes. As we are strolling down the salsa aisle, she suddenly stops and lets out a cry, “Look at this!” I caught up with her and followed her gaze to dried red chile pods with “Hatch chile” on the label.

Commentary: There are some local election races many folks don't know much about.

The Doña Ana Soil and Water Conservation District (“DASWCD”) has been a rancher-dominated board, largely out of step with the county's views. When most people favored creating the Monument, DASWCD unanimously wrote President Obama opposing it. Fortunately, DASWCD is changing, and now includes both environmentalists and ranchers. 

RPNM Chairman Steve Pearce

Commentary: The Republican Party of New Mexico and Las Cruces mayoral candidate Mike Tellez have filed suit against New Mexico’s Secretary of State, the Dona Ana County Clerk and the County’s Absent Voter Precinct Board. The RPNM and Tellez claim the defendants are ignoring a 2019 law that requires absentee voters to provide their name, address and date of birth.

Should Reciting The Pledge Be Mandatory?

Oct 31, 2019

Commentary: The pledge of allegiance is, without question, the most successful marketing campaign in history.

The original oath — “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands — one nation indivisible — with liberty and justice for all” – was essentially part of an effort to sell magazines in 1892.

The publication Youth’s Companion used to distribute U.S. flags as rewards for selling subscriptions. The pledge was written by Francis Bellamy in a push to install flags in every public school for the 400th observance of Columbus Day.

No Blood For Oil

Oct 30, 2019
Walt Rubel

 Commentary: I always had a negative reaction whenever I saw that bumper sticker during during the days of the Iraq War. I opposed the war, but thought the bumper sticker, like most bumper stickers, was overly simplistic.

And, it was fundamentally wrong.

It played to an obvious narrative, with both President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney coming from the oil industry. But history will show, that’s not how things played out. 

Yazzie plaintiffs call on state to develop transformative education plan

Oct 30, 2019

Commentary: New Mexico students still lack the basics necessary for a constitutionally sufficient education, charged the Yazzie plaintiffs of the landmark education lawsuit, Yazzie/Martinez v. State of New Mexico in a motion filed with the First Judicial District Court today. The motion asks the court to order the state to develop, implement, and fully fund a long-term plan that will meet the state’s constitutional mandate that guarantees all public school students the opportunity to be college and career ready.

twitter.com/potus

Commentary: A new poll conducted after President Trump’s rally in Rio Rancho shows his approval dropping among Hispanic New Mexicans. The poll, conducted by Equis research, shows Trump job approval among Hispanic New Mexican voters is down to 29%, while favorable views of Democrats rose 13 points. It was conducted after President Trump held a rally in Rio Rancho where he was criticized for his “bizarre” attempt to reach out to Hispanic voters. 

 DPNM Chair Marg Elliston released the following statement in response to the poll: “Donald Trump came to our state with the same divisive rhetoric that he’s been using since the beginning of his campaign, and it fell flat. New Mexican voters have made it clear again and again that we aren’t interested in the president’s destructive lies and broken promises.”  

What Explains The Loyalty Of Trump Supporters?

Oct 29, 2019

Commentary: If any theory of psychology explains the fierce devotion motivating Trump's base, it has to be social identity theory, an idea popularized by the social psychologist Henri Tajfel (1919-1982) in the 1970s. According to Tajfel’s research, people will show remarkable allegiance to arbitrary groups for seemingly unimportant reasons e.g., "shared hair color, place of birth, or even after being randomly assigned to a group by an experimenter."

Gessing: New Mexico Should Look To Colorado For Ideas On Spending Reform

Oct 28, 2019

Commentary: The Legislative Finance Committee recently reported the requests of New Mexico government agencies for FY 2021. Last year the Legislature increased general fund spending by a robust 12%, but with oil production growing rapidly and prices per-barrel holding stable, New Mexico government is planning for another year of massive growth.

In fact, (not including funding requests for public school support and from higher education institutions) agencies are looking to further increase their budgets in Fiscal Year 2021 by a shocking 17 percent.

Commentary: The Choice For Las Cruces Mayor

Oct 27, 2019

Commentary:  Voting in our mayoral election involves not only our preferences among the ten candidates but the new process of ranked-choice voting.

 

RCV, or instant run-off, lets a candidate reach the required fifty-percent-plus-one without wasting time or money on a runoff election. We vote for our preferred candidate by marking him/her as first choice; then there are circles to fill in for second, third, and even ninth choice. Sounds simple, but I've heard many misconceptions.

 

Indicating secondary choices is optional. If you vote for only one candidate, your vote counts. However, voting for secondary candidates cannot possibly hurt your top choice: no one even looks at your second choice unless your top choice has been eliminated. Each round of counting eliminates the last place candidate. Where a voter for that newly eliminated candidate has a next-choice marked, that next choice (if not already eliminated) gets another vote. 

Commentary: Me and about 200 other NMSU administrators recently attended a day long University retreat held at the Farm and Ranch Museum. Announced at this retreat were new performance metrics to be used by NMSU upper administration to evaluate academic departments. As a department head, this caught my attention as the new measures will likely be used to evaluate me!

Three of the new metrics are a measure of faculty productivity. These are instructional dollars per student credit hour, research dollars per tenure system faculty member, and dollars per hour of service.

Photo by: Nathan J. Fish

 


Report: New Mexico Among Worst States in Nation for Higher Education Cuts

Oct 24, 2019

Commentary: New Mexico made some of the deepest cuts in the nation to its public colleges and universities, leading to tuition increases that have students struggling to afford school. Between 2008 and 2018 New Mexico cut state support by $4,030 per student (when adjusted for inflation) – the third deepest cuts per-student of state support in the nation. That’s according to a report released today by the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

New Mexico is one of 19 states that cut funding for public colleges and universities by more than 20 percent per student between 2008 and 2018. New Mexico cut per-student spending by 28.8 percent, or $4,030 – outpacing the national average decline of 13 percent or $1,220 per student.

Election comes at a time of leadership changes

Oct 24, 2019
Walt Rubel

Commentary: There have been few odd-year elections in Las Cruces more important than the one now taking place.

For the first time ever, municipal and school board elections are being held at the same time.

Elections for the soil and water conservation board, which had been virtually ignored in the years before leading the opposition against creation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, are also included.

China And The NBA

Oct 21, 2019

Commentary: Two recent incidents that are still playing out illustrate the interconnectedness of the world, in this case, in relation to China. The first has to do with Houston Rockets Basketball General Manager Daryl Morey, who issued a tweet in support of the Hong Kong residents protesting against the Chinese government’s clampdown on freedoms in that province. The Chinese government’s reaction was swift in condemning Morey’s message and blocking or scaling down NBA-scheduled events in China, and canceling broadcasts of NBA games in the country. Morey quickly deleted his tweet and stated that he was merely, “Stating one thought,” meaning his comments were his alone.

Commentary: Trump's Disasterous Decision In Syria

Oct 20, 2019
Peter Goodman

Commentary: Will Donald Trump's bizarre betrayal of the Kurds and our country's security interests wake anyone up?

Imagine for a moment that Barack Obama, against repeated advice by military and defense experts and his own aides, suddenly went wacky on a call with the Turkish President and said, “Yeah, I know you want to get the Kurds, so we'll get out of there.”

Suppose that when grownups from both parties screamed, Obama gave no coherent explanation, but said the Kurds had “nothing to do with us” and weren't necessarily nice people. When reporters noted that his former security advisor, General Mattis, thought the move unwise, Obama said Mattis was a lousy general, and that he, Obama, had beaten ISIS in a month. Yeah, sounds kind of like a playground spat outside an elementary school.

 Commentary: Below is a statement from Emily Kaltenbach, New Mexico State Director and Senior Director of Criminal Justice Reform Strategy for the Drug Policy Alliance, who served on the Governor’s working group on cannabis legalization, in response to the recommendations that were released by the group:

“Having worked towards cannabis legalization in New Mexico for the better part of the last decade, we are grateful the Governor’s office involved us in this process, inviting us to be a part of the working group, and are excited by the opportunity to help shape New Mexico’s policies as it looks to become the 12th state in the country to do so.

Using Fear In Politics Isn't New...And Will Continue

Oct 18, 2019

Commentary: The world certainly does not need one more psychoanalysis of Donald J. Trump. There have been plenty of those already and everyone already has their mind made up about who he is and what he stands for.

But sometimes an intellectual of such immense caliber as Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says something so misleading that it must be challenged. 

Heinrich Condemns Trump's Decision On Syria

Oct 17, 2019
U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

Commentary: As America’s Kurdish allies in Syria continue to deal with the devastating, deadly incursion of Turkish forces, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Intelligence Committee, issued the following statement:

"President Trump’s reckless, irresponsible decision to withdraw American support in northern Syria has resulted in an invasion that has endangered countless, innocent lives - sparking a humanitarian catastrophe in the region.

"The Kurds, under attack from Turkey, are the very forces responsible for destroying and imprisoning ISIS forces. By withdrawing our troops who have been instrumental in providing security to the Kurds and ensuring the continued eradication of ISIS, President Trump has abandoned our allies and created a vacuum that will no doubt be filled by an ISIS resurgence. Under this so-called ceasefire, Kurdish forces and their families face the impossible choice of fleeing their homes or being ethnically cleansed. Because of Turkey’s actions, we should seriously reconsider its role in NATO and any future military sales.

"America’s credibility on the international stage depends on us keeping our word to our friends and allies. By deserting those who fought with us, President Trump is throwing away the alliances that America has built up since WWII and making it only more likely that potential partners will side with our adversaries in the future.”

 

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