Some genetic testing covered again

By Tom Philpott Military Update The Defense Health Agency, relying on medical laboratory experts and existing authority to conduct medical “demonstrations,” will restore TRICARE coverage this month for up to 40 genetic tests used in patient care. Many of these laboratory-developed tests — also called molecular pathology tests — are viewed as medically necessary. But […]

Happy ‘Weird’ Al’s back in action

By Kevin Wilson Staff columnist Getting on the Internet every morning is a little wierder this week, and many of us couldn’t be happier. Monday saw the world premiere of the video for “Tacky,” the first song on “Weird” Al Yankovic’s new album, “Mandatory Fun” and a parody of the Pharell Williams “Happy” song that […]

Veterans need to get services they deserve

The can of worms that is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs isn’t empty yet. The VA has been reeling recently from revelations of veterans dying while waiting for medical treatments; and tens of thousands being parked for long terms on secret waiting lists for appointments; and top officials reportedly responding by covering up these […]

Plenty of issues stopping volunteers

By Robert Arrowsmith Publisher I’m here … and will volunteer. For those who do not know about me, I have recently moved here (again) from a market that is in year seven of an energy boom, where $15 an hour is the considered minimum wage, finding workers to do most service jobs can be most […]

Obamacare problems death by thousand cuts

Watching Obamacare unfold has been like taking a dizzying carnival ride. With every twist and turn, the health care direction is altered and its riders are confronted with unexpected consequences. The Affordable Care Act got off to a wobbly start with an ill-prepared website. Health exchange signups lagged behind expectations, prompting a deadline extension to […]

Vacation an adventure in Arkansas

By Wendel Sloan Local columnist My recent vacation through Arkansas was a tale of triumph, tragedy and astonishment. The latter happened in an east Texas eatery when lifelong friend Sid Hicks put Biblical scholars to shame by creating a self-serve ice-cream masterpiece surpassing the Tower of Babble in height and diversity. In Hot Springs, Arkansas, […]

No easy fix for immigration crisis

By Tom McDonald State columnist No doubt about it. Our great debate over immigration has an emotional side to it. And this time we’re talking about children — more than 50,000 of them and growing — who are risking life and limb to make their way into the United States. No matter how you look […]

Challenge filing deadlines need to be extended

The details are not too much to ask for. Especially if a New Mexican wants to serve on the powerful agency that regulates business and industry in this state — and be paid $90,000 a year to boot. In 2012, New Mexico voters approved three of four constitutional amendments to reform the Public Regulation Commission, […]

Governments pay lip-service to reasoning

By Kent McManigal Local columnist There are two — and only two — ways to interact with other people: You can use reason or you can resort to force. Reason is the civilized choice. The really great thing about most people is they almost never — on their own — resort to force. Rarely does […]

Promote on competence, not background

By Rube Render Local columnist There are times when I wonder if we are all going just slightly mad or if we are well and truly in deep kimchi. At Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009, an Army major killed 13 people while shouting “Allah Akbar.” This incident was determined to be “workplace violence.” After […]

Name revisions part of history, change with time

The decision to rename Kit Carson Park in Taos has sparked a storm of protest. The Taos Town Council decided to rename the entire park Red Willow Park, derived from the native Tiwa language word for Taos, while keeping the name Kit Carson Memorial Park for the cemetery where Carson and his wife Josefa are […]

Central America immigration issue not that simple

More than 50,000 immigrant children, mostly from Central America, have crossed the U.S. border since last fall. President Obama hasn’t manned the border himself, welcoming these children with a firm handshake, though that’s the erroneous impression left by the president’s worst critics. Take Texas Gov. Rick Perry. On Sunday, the former Republican presidential candidate told […]

Cases about nothing pay nothing

By Kevin Wilson Staff columnist We’re having a silver anniversary about nothing this week. It was 25 years ago a popular comedian showed the world he wasn’t much of an actor in “The Seinfeld Chronicles.” Later shortened to “Seinfeld,” its nine seasons still stand as a pillar of television comedy and have made Jerry Seinfeld […]

Compensation trends need examing

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 […]

Court ruling does not mean tax lightning just

Now that the New Mexico Supreme Court has decided it should not ground tax lightning, the state Legislature should take another look at a well-intentioned law and its unfair, unintended consequences. In 2001, state lawmakers enacted a 3 percent valuation cap on residential properties, primarily to help keep older folks from being taxed out of […]

Portales 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 […]

Politicians clueless about classrooms

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 […]

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 a 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, […]