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.

What could have been for New Mexico kids

Jul 7, 2021

Commentary: Another year, another 50th ranking for New Mexico in the annual Kids Count report. And this dismal ranking doesn’t even take into account the negative impact of COVID 19 and Gov. Lujan Grisham’s harsh lockdowns and over a year of lost in-person schooling.

The average U.S. child has lost the equivalent of five to nine months of learning during the pandemic, according to a report from McKinsey & Company. With New Mexico’s high poverty rates and lack of broadband access relative to other states (combined with more lost classroom time than all but 5 other states), the picture is indeed bleak for New Mexico’s youth.

Thoughts On The Trump Organization Tax Case

Jul 6, 2021

 

  Commentary: Reading about the Trump family’s disregard for law and their consistent bullying of adversaries by outspending them on lawyers took me back to an evening in Marshall, Texas.

We were there because a fellow I’ll call “Jack” had grown up there, and chose Marshall as the court for suing our clients, a small start-up north of San Francisco. He alleged that our friends’ invention belonged to his big Texas-based company, because after he bought their first start-up, they worked briefly for him.

Future for NCAA on display now at Olympics

Jul 6, 2021


  Commentary: When the New Mexico Legislature passed SB 94 earlier this year, allowing college athletes to profit from the use of their name, image or likeness, some lawmakers feared we were picking a fight with the mighty NCAA.

 

If that was the case, the masters of collegiate sports just cried uncle.

 

The NCAA changed its rules last week, just as new laws here and in other states were taking effect. College athletes will now be able to hire agents, sign endorsement deals, make commercials, leverage their presence on social media and get paid for promotional appearances, autograph-signing sessions and coaching.

Officials Oppose Locating Holtec Nuclear Waste Interim Storage Site In New Mexico

Jul 2, 2021

  Commentary: U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján, and U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury and New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham sent a letter to U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm opposing the interim storage of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level waste (HLW) in New Mexico.

“We are strongly opposed to the interim storage of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level waste (HLW) in New Mexico.  There is currently no permanent disposal strategy for SNF and HLW in place at the Department of Energy.  This leaves us extremely concerned that ‘interim’ storage sites with initial 40-year leases, like one proposed for Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensing in New Mexico, will become the country’s de facto permanent nuclear waste storage facilities.  We cannot accept that result,” they wrote.

  Commentary: As the state of New Mexico prepares to “reopen” by removing all COVID-19 restrictions, beginning July 1, Indigenous leaders with the Coalitions to Stop Violence Against Native Women are urging the public to continue the use of facemasks to proactively slow the spread of the virus and any of its new variants.

The following is a statement from Angel Charley, executive director of CSVANW, urging the public to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing until this pandemic is truly over:

“As Indigenous people of this land, we are always taught that the wellbeing of ourselves and others is a collective effort–not an individual one. And if there is one thing COVID-19 has taught us, it is that we are all connected, and we depend on each other to move forward and beat the pandemic.

Chiseling into that American Dream

Jun 30, 2021

Commentary: As we understood it, two brothers owned the house after their father had passed. One was in California, and one was in Texas. Neither really wanted to deal with the house anymore. They were in luck: I didn't want to deal with house shopping anymore. Turns out, I was one of the lucky millennials.

When my husband and I were ready to buy a house nearly seven years ago, our readiness was mostly a result of the urging of others and a hard look at the decay of the apartment complex we lived in. I had moved in during college, first into my own apartment and then hopscotching into a different unit with an ex-boyfriend. I even convinced my mom to move into the complex after my dad died.

Sharp Rise In Cargo Shipments

Jun 29, 2021

Commentary: “Yes, I am a pirate, 200 years too late. The cannons don’t thunder, there’s nothing to plunder, I’m an over-40 victim of fate. Arriving too late. Arriving too late.” These lines are from “A Pirate Looks at 40,” which is one of my favorite Jimmy Buffet songs. Buffet was romanticizing the golden age of pirates, which was supposed to have ended centuries ago. However, he was a little premature in his assessment. In April, two ships traveling in the Singapore Strait were attacked and robbed by pirates, and one crew member was hurt. In 2020, 30 incidents of this type were recorded in this body of water.

Policing changed this week for the better

Jun 29, 2021


 

  

  Commentary: Frank and I were home after our first year of college, and Bruce had just graduated from high school in the summer of 1977 when we decided it would be safe to smoke pot in an abandoned field off a quiet road.

 

We were in an abandoned field because none of us had a home of our own at the time. We were all staying with our parents for the summer. Several years ago, a Sunland Park City Council member got caught driving around town getting high with his buddies. And I wondered, doesn’t that man have a living room?

Accountability For the Insurrection Is Essential

Jun 28, 2021

 

  Commentary: Nearly six months later, what do we know about January 6?

Joe Biden’s very comfortable election victory over Donald Trump remains untarnished by any serious accusation of fraud or error. Trump’s fans struck out in dozens of lawsuits; their comical, costly attempt to have Arizona’s vote “re-audited” by a biased and inexperienced group is embarrassing; and Trump’s lawyers are getting sanctioned for their legally frivolous arguments. Sydney Powell faces serious disciplinary charges in several jurisdictions, and the New York Court of Appeals just suspended Rudy Giuliani’s license pending a final decision, rejecting Giuliani’s defense that he’s no longer a danger to society because he promises to say nothing more about the election.

Pride month is more than just rainbows on brands

Jun 24, 2021

Commentary: Every June across the United States, LGBTQ2 communities come together for a month-long celebration of love, diversity, acceptance and self-pride. As we close out Pride Month, here in The Land of Enchantment, it is important to acknowledge that the capitalist way of celebrating Pride month has removed us from the origins of what Pride is actually about.

Bipartisan Legislation to Harness Carbon Capture’s Full Potential to Reach Net-Zero Emissions

Jun 24, 2021

Commentary: U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) led the introduction of the bipartisan Coordinated Action to Capture Harmful (CATCH) Emissions Act to enhance the federal Section 45Q tax credit to commercialize and deploy much needed technologies to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century and create new, good-paying jobs across the United States. The bipartisan legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).  

$60 Billion Proposal To Boost American Rescue Plan’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund

Jun 24, 2021
U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  Commentary: Due to record applications for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) cosponsored bipartisan legislation to boost the fund with an additional $60 billion to help New Mexico restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open. Senator Heinrich helped establish the $28.6 billion fund as part of the American Rescue Plan.

“As New Mexicans, we know the value of good food and good company—it’s why our local restaurants are such anchors in our community,” said Heinrich. “That’s why I’m dedicated to securing additional relief so that our smallest, locally-owned food trucks, bars, and restaurants keep their doors open and their employees on payroll.”

Herrell Leads Effort to Keep Title 42 Authority in Place

Jun 24, 2021

Commentary: Congresswoman Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) today continued to push the Biden administration to keep critical border health protections in place. Media reports indicate the administration may end the use of Title 42 authority before July 31.

"As the situation at the border continues to worsen, Title 42 has been the only thing preventing your border crisis from turning into a complete and uncontrollable catastrophe," Herrell wrote to Homeland (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a letter co-signed by Representatives Brian Babin (R-Texas), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Chip Roy (R-Texas), and Tom McClintock (R-Calif.).

Commentary: All of us take great pride in living in New Mexico, and we can all agree that we want our state to be a place where families choose to raise their children. But we face serious challenges in reaching that goal. After spending the last three years ranked 50th in child well-being, New Mexico has moved up to 49th in the 2021 KIDS COUNT Data Book, recently released by the Annie E Casey Foundation. This improvement does not yet reflect the smart investments made by our policymakers over the last two years, or the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. These significant investments in our kids and families will likely be reflected in data in the coming years, but they are not yet adequate to reach the level of progress our families and children need. Incremental improvements show us both that progress is possible and also that creating the nurturing environments our kids deserve and need to thrive will require bold and sustained actions and investments.  

Beadwork is genius

Jun 22, 2021

  Commentary: Indigenous communities have had systems and ways of proliferating knowledge, skills and understanding since time immemorial. For decades, community members have been asking for, planning toward, and contemplating a more relevant education system that aligns to the identities and priorities of the community.

Recent alleged comments from a state education leader, which disregard the impact of cultural practices like beading, reflect how racism against Indigenous people poisons government institutions. These comments directly conflict with how communities and schools are articulating Indigenous education in response to decades of abysmal academic achievement.

Say No to the Dumb Husband Advertising

Jun 22, 2021

Commentary: With my dad gone for nearly 14 years, Father's Day stings slightly less than it did the first few. Now, I watch the role of a father through the lens of a wife, seeing how the experience unfolds a person through time, much like my similar but separate journey as a mother. But just as my experience as a mom is overlaid with tired tropes in advertising, so is the experience of a father and husband.

Perhaps to alleviate my guilt for my increased online shopping during the pandemic, my husband became obsessed with a specific shirt brand. Its slick website advertises shirts for the modern, active man, shirts that are comfortable and unobtrusive; the shirt enables masculinity to shine.

The Economic Impact of Oil Field Remediation in New Mexico

Jun 22, 2021

  Commentary: Plugging abandoned oil and gas wells and cleaning up sites and related infrastructure on State Trust and private fee lands in New Mexico could generate $4 billion in wages, 65,337 jobs and $541 million in revenue for the state, according to a new report from O’Donnell Economics, a New Mexico-based firm specializing in economic impact analyses.

“A concerted effort to clean up unplugged oil and gas wells, tanks and pipelines on state and private land in New Mexico offers the state tremendous job and economic benefits in addition to addressing an environmental and public health problem,” said Dr. Kelly O’Donnell, Principal of O’Donnell Economics and research professor at the University of New Mexico School of Public Administration. “But the benefits accrue only if oil and gas companies fund the clean-up of their sites.”

Couy Griffin


 

  Commentary: I wish Couy Griffin would do us all a favor the next time he goes on national television and tells them he's from Texas.

 

Griffin was one of a handful of Jan. 6 insurrections featured Sunday night on a two-hour CNN special about the riot that day at the U.S. Capital. He was later arrested by FBI agents on federal charges of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority.

 

Among the pearls of wisdom he dispensed were the belief that Capital Police Officer Brian Sicknick and protester Ashli Babbitt are still alive; and that Donald Trump was “annointed by God.”

  Commentary: The Republican Party of New Mexico stands with the Union Protectiva de Santa Fe organization in its lawsuit against Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber over the destruction of a veterans memorial at the Santa Fe Plaza. The group is asking the Mayor  to restore the Plaza obelisk after protestors tore it down last Indigenous Peoples Day.
 
RPNM believes the suit is the proper course of action because the organization is protecting our Hispanic history, culture, heritage and faith. 

These monuments serve as a reminder of who we are as New Mexicans and as a people. 

Las Cruces Municipal Court

  Commentary: Sitting in the upstairs courtroom of our modest brick Las Cruces Municipal Courthouse reminds me of sitting there in 1975, a young reporter covering a federal kidnaping case.

Back then, this was the U.S. Courthouse. Now, morning shadows from the massive Federal Courthouse across Church St. darken Muni Court.

U.S. v. Lowe was tried here because it was too hot for Albuquerque.

Juneteenth: A Reason to be Optimistic

Jun 18, 2021

Commentary: The kindness of strangers has been the mantra for many people in this country for generations. Certain acts of kindness have changed the course of history. One of the most notable acts of kindness occurred on June 19, 1865, two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, when Union Soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger delivered an order, declaring, “the people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free”.

Gila River

Commentary: U.S. Representative Yvette Herrell argues the Environmental Protection Agency’s unravelling of the Navigable Water Protection Rule is a “Washington-Knows-Best” move. The move is designed to restore federal pollution oversight to U.S. waterways, such as oversight of a massive proposed open-pit copper mine near Tucson.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan has committed the agency to holding public outreach sessions around the country this summer and fall. Does that sound like a “Washington-Knows-Best” approach or “Washington-Wants-to-Hear-From-And-Work-With-You" approach? Regan, the former head of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, has a reputation as a person who works well with all sides. The public outreach sessions will help create rules that are durable, so  the rules won’t be changed every four years when a new administration comes into office. That sounds like openness, dialogue and common sense, not “Washington-Knows-Best.” 

Herrell: Water protection changes are inexcusable federal overreach

Jun 16, 2021

Commentary: From how to spend your money to how to manage your land, the Biden administration thinks they know best. Take for example this week’s move by the Environmental Protection Agency to begin unravelling the Navigable Water Protection Rule and bring back the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule. This “Washington-Knows-Best” decision is a direct attack on the private property rights of millions of farmers, ranchers, and homeowners.

Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter responds to court order on leasing pause

Jun 16, 2021
Laura Paskus, New Mexico In Depth

  Commentary: On Tuesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked the Biden administration's pause on new oil and gas leasing on federal public lands pending reviewing of the Interior Department’s leasing program. The court’s preliminary injunction, which applies to Interior leasing nationwide, harms the needed transition from fossil-fuel pollution and efforts to address the climate emergency.

The Sierra Club joined environmental and community organizations in seeking to intervene in the case to defend the pause, citing climate, economic and public-health concerns, but that motion was denied. Sierra Club has since participated in the case as an amicus curiae. 

The super-rich should pay their fair share of taxes

Jun 15, 2021

Commentary: How do the super-rich avoid paying their fair share of taxes?  By convincing Federal, State and local politicians with money and lobbyists about what is good for the economy. These include gimmicks like tax reductions to stimulate business investment, private equity takeovers and special treatment for capital gains and carried interest. You will notice that none of these ideas benefit the average wage earner—and it doesn’t trickle down. The super-rich earn virtually all their wealth from the constantly rising value of their assets--particularly in the stock market. Using the gimmicks just mentioned-- their tax rate is incredibly low or zero.

No more turning a blind eye to systemic violence

Jun 15, 2021

  Commentary: The calls for justice in every corner of our globe continue to get louder and louder. Not only because injustices continue happening across our world, but because people have been awakened, and they are not allowing our governments and ourselves to turn a blind eye to systemic violence and abuse impacting our communities. 

 

The world is being forced to reckon with the brutal reality of systemic genocide against Indigenous peoples around the world after the remains of 215 children were found in the Kamloops Indian Residential School in Southern British Columbia. Residential schools are what we in the United States have come to know as ‘Native American Boarding Schools’. While this story has made the news globally, this horrible discovery has been met with silence and inaction right here in New Mexico––despite the well documented history of atrocities that were carried out in our five boarding schools.

Refills from a Blessed Cup

Jun 15, 2021

Commentary: It was hard for my dad to describe to me what he did at work when I was little. He was a mechanic in the Air Force, specializing in hydraulics for F-16s. When I asked, he would tell me about how fluids turn into pressure and how wind creates lift, conversations that floated above me but must have ended up still tucked into a corner of my mind where I listen to them now. But then, I must have given him enough blank looks to usually have him end with a gruff, "I fix planes."

The View From Juarez

Jun 15, 2021

Commentary: I recently took a friend of mine and his son to Juarez, Mexico, to pick up some items over the Memorial Day weekend. Usually, I would drive into Mexico, but I didn’t want to do this on a holiday weekend. I knew the later we stayed in the city, the longer the northbound lines at the ports of entry to cross into the U.S. would be, as U.S. citizens/residents who have relatives in Mexico returned home. Therefore, I parked at the base of the Santa Fe Bridge and we entered Mexico by foot.

Leakers are essential to honest government

Jun 14, 2021

Commentary: I rise today in support of leakers.

Here’s to Daniel Ellsberg, a former Marine who was working as a private-sector military analyst  in 1971 when he leaked the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret study on U.S. activities in Vietnam dating back to the Truman administration. It revealed a decades-long history of lies to the American public by both military and civilian leaders, including their denials at the time of bombing raids beyond Vietnam’s borders.

Peter Goodman

 

 Commentary: Thursday I spent a half-day with high school students in a photojournalism class. The kids saw things in neat ways, some had a real good eye. It was refreshing.

One student had written a thought-provoking poem. (Sunday’s blog post will reprint the full poem.)

With the poem lingering in my head, I read that Donald Trump is telling Joe Biden to fire the Joint Chiefs of Staff if they think climate change is a big deal.

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