VA actions continue making things worse

Plagued with a huge backlog of disability benefit claims for years, the Department of Veterans Affairs responded by approving tens of thousands of claims without knowing whether they were valid. With the nation reeling from a litany of VA abuses, the bureaucrats appear to have been rubber-stamping unreviewed claims in what could be seen as […]

Tolerating government not a virtue

By Kent McManigal Local columnist Tolerance is sold to us as some sort of virtue when it’s nothing of the sort. It’s simply putting up with something, or someone, you hate. I don’t want or need any government, but how much could I tolerate? I could tolerate a government that coordinates the construction and maintenance […]

Codes could use some limitations

By Rube Render Local columnist Depending on where you go to look it up, the United States Code contains more than 50,000 pages. Considering that the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd Frank Financial Act each contain more than 1,000 pages, the above number seems low. To get some idea of the size involved, the […]

Abuse, waste in government programs high

Whether intentional (i.e. fraudulent), the result of sloppy bookkeeping or almost certainly a combination of the two, $100 billion a year in improper government payouts over five years adds up. In 2013, federal agencies made $106 billion in improper payments — $97 billion in overpayments and $9 billion in underpayments — to recipients of government […]

Tips that may help to attract volunteers

Robert Arrowsmith

By Robert Arrowsmith Publisher On Tuesday, I shared some thoughts about why our country has a lack of volunteers. Here are ideas for solving some of those problems right here in eastern New Mexico: • A central portal, database or website for regional volunteerism: This has come up in several discussions. Instead of the every-man-for-himself approach […]

Mood not joyous for most despite economic uptick

No wonder there is joy on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones industrial average has traded above 17,000 for the first time. On Main Street, however, the mood is not yet joyous. Issued on the stock market’s last trading day before the Fourth of July, a stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs report calmed worries about the economic […]

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 […]