Category Archives: other voices

Talk of the town | Albuquerque Journal News

I admire this writer for responding to angry nonsense with reason. At the time, my only response was ‘Wow’.

Talk of the town | Albuquerque Journal News

Name-calling is not acceptable rebuttal

LAST WEEK IN SpeakUp! there were two violently anti-environmental submissions. They contained six sentences, one of which was totally false, one was a rhetorical question, and four amounted to name-calling.

The only sentence of substance claimed that “we have millions of miles of pipelines and railroads that carry oil and gasoline without incident.”

On pipelines alone, a Wall Street Journal review found that there were 1,400 pipeline spills and accidents in the U.S. in 2010-2013 – 350 per year, and four of every five pipeline accidents are discovered by local residents, not the companies that own the pipelines.

As far as I can determine, there’s a little over 300,000 miles of major natural gas pipelines, with another 1.8 million miles of lines that come off those and deliver to cities. There are only about 100,000 miles of gathering and distribution pipelines for oil.

Unfortunately, that’s the only sentence of the six that can be fact-checked, because all the rest are name-calling or extremely obvious exaggeration. For example, I consider myself an environmentalist, but I don’t think we should go live in caves, just that we should be a bit more careful with our surroundings.

Another sentence claims environmentalists have used “falsified science and pagan Gaia mysticism.” Wow. Science and mysticism.

If you want to rebut the arguments of environmentalists, you might try:

a) Getting your facts straight, and

b) Actually giving reasons for your views, not resorting to name-calling and nonsensical claims.



Talk of the town | Albuquerque Journal News

When mouth-breathers speak, the spittle flies

From today’s Journal’s Speak Out column come back-to-back insights:

IT COMES AS no surprise that the Democrat/Liberal/Progressive party vehemently opposes any educational reform in New Mexico. Their future lies almost exclusively in the under-educated, government-dependent low-information voter. – R.D.H.

“PROGRESSIVE” IS CODE for communist/socialist. “Moving forward…” — this expression is commonly used by socialist/communist liberal Democrats. The Forward was the name of the communist newsletter published by Comrade Karl Marx. Words mean things. – J.C.G.

I find the first ironic because it is the Conservative movement that denies science and opposes formal education. They would have schools teach prayer and how great (white) America was. As for the second, I assume he has been in a coma for 60 years (or just listens to Fox, another sign of how important “information” is to Conservatives). peace, mjh

‘My way or the highway’ attitude is killing GOP — or maybe it’s rabies

‘My way or the highway’ attitudes are killing GOP | ABQJournal Online

Today (Tuesday, Oct. 1), my wife and I went to the Sandoval County Bureau of Elections office to change our voter registration affiliation from independent — our status since we first became eligible to vote more than a half-century ago — to Democrat.

We did so because the Republican Party has ceded all power to the most radical element within its ranks — a noisy, anarchic clique of political yahoos whose “my way or the highway” attitudes have reduced Congress to a state of impotency, as well as making considerable mischief in state and local governments. (Rio Rancho is a prime example of the latter.)

Hence, our new political affiliation. We are determined to be part of the effort to save the U.S. from feckless, irresponsible zealotry. Unless a viable alternative one day arises, we will maintain that affiliation, as we await the day when Republicans complete their party’s self-destruction.

It cannot come soon enough. It’s a sad end for a once-grand old party, but we see no hope for a turnabout.

Daniel Cobb

Rio Rancho

‘My way or the highway’ attitudes are killing GOP | ABQJournal Online

Fanatics should be checked for rabies | ABQJournal Online

Unbelievable. A small cabal has shut down the most powerful country in the world.

A handful of fanatics has forced a vote 44 times, spending about 100 million dollars to do so, to repeal a law that will save the lives of tens of thousands of Americans suffering from easily treated medical issues.

Has anyone checked these yoyos for rabies?



Fanatics should be checked for rabies | ABQJournal Online

Oñate Had His Thanksgiving in 1598 in New Mexico

Oñate Had His Thanksgiving in 1598
By Donald A. Chavez y Gilbert, Freelance Writer, Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thanksgiving Day is a holiday which has a much longer history than most Americans realize.

The first recorded act of giving thanks by Europeans on this continent occurred April 30, 1598, as the Oñate muster arrived on the banks of El Rio Bravo, the Rio Grande. That was almost a quarter century before the Pilgrims anchored the Mayflower at Plymouth Rock on Nov. 21, 1620.

Health Insurance Is Justice for All, by Merri Rudd

ABQJournal Online » Health Insurance Is Justice for All

By Merri Rudd / Former Bernalillo County probate judge on Mon, Jul 2, 2012

Are you hoping to retire before you’re eligible for Medicare? Planning a career switch or move to self-employment? Being laid off from a job with a group insurance plan? Working at a job without health insurance benefits? You’re healthy, so buying individual health insurance will be easy, right? Wrong!

I recently applied for individual health insurance because my COBRA benefits from my 10 years as Bernalillo County’s probate judge, a term-limited position, expire soon. Both Lovelace and Presbyterian declined to sell me health insurance.

Presbyterian, my current provider, and Lovelace referred me to the high-risk pool, which charges a premium between $540 and $679 per month, up to triple the cost of an individual health plan. I am stunned that this is my only option for insurance coverage, given my overall good health.

Picture this: a non-smoking 57-year-old woman who is 5 feet, 6 inches tall, weighs 128 pounds, has never used illegal drugs, eats a low-fat diet, takes no daily prescription medicines, walks three to five miles daily, attends yoga classes weekly, hikes, and dances. Sounds pretty healthy, doesn’t it?

My only medical issue is high cholesterol, which is genetic. Low triglycerides, high good cholesterol, and no evidence of blockage or inflammation greatly reduce my risk of future health problems. As I also disclosed on my insurance application, my car was rear-ended in 2009 and I had a back injury, which fully resolved without surgery or prescription medicine. I have had no back complaints since late 2010.

Both companies cited “history of back injury” (despite resolution) in denying me coverage. Presbyterian added “height/weight guidelines,” whatever that means, and high cholesterol. Neither application asked about exercise or diet. If a healthy person like me is ineligible for individual health insurance, there are millions of less-healthy folks who cannot qualify either.

This is not a new problem. President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed a type of universal health care. In his plan, private insurance companies that extended benefits to uninsured Americans would be reimbursed by the federal government for excessive losses. Congress rejected his plan. Despite repeated efforts by elected officials to safeguard the health of Americans, almost 60 years later more Americans than ever have no health insurance.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people without health insurance coverage rose to 49.9 million in 2010. Many people, who live from paycheck to paycheck but have incomes higher than poverty level, simply cannot afford health insurance after paying for rent, food and utilities. Others like me may be willing buyers of insurance, but unable to find a willing seller. In his book “The Healing of America,” T.R. Reid reports that 22,000 Americans die annually from lack of access to health care.

The federal Affordable Care Act, upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, will require people to either purchase basic health insurance or pay a tax. But starting January 1, 2014, insurance companies will also be required to accept all insurance applicants, regardless of their health status and pre-existing conditions. In 2014 healthy people like me, as well as cancer survivors and others, should be able to purchase health insurance without a penalty for gender or pre-existing conditions.

According to Reid, private insurance companies that are required to cover everyone in other countries have continued to operate profitably, due in part to the large influx of new members paying premiums and cost controls on services.

As a healthy person who has been denied health insurance, I know that our country has serious problems to resolve. If members of every political party can cease their posturing in the health care debate and focus instead on supporting affordable health insurance for all Americans, we can compel this country to change its inexcusable position as the only developed nation in the world without access to health care for all its citizens. Is that too much to ask?

Marriage is a civil contract governed by established contract law

The following letter is a cogent and thorough argument for marriage rights for all adults. Marriage is a contract. Indeed, Merri has made this argument for 25+ years. Kudos to David Paul Blacher.

A different letter insists Americans bow to Leviticus as the law. Not in America, bub. We have the Constitution. You are free to let the Bible rule your life, but not to force that rule on the rest of us. Amen. peace, mjh

Contract Law Applies To Marriage Licenses

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER’S comments (“The Same-Sex Marriage Dilemma,” May 19) are interesting, but he misses the fundamental issue— marriage is a contract. In fact, in America, it is most often actually two contracts: one civil and one religious. I absolutely support the right and obligation of religious organizations to define, pursuant to their own doctrines, who may enter into a contract that they validate and recognize.

However, the civil contract — usually in the form of a “marriage license” — automatically provides the individuals who sign and register the document with several unique and valuable government- issued and -sanctioned advantages. First and foremost is a significantly lower income tax rate, both federal and state. Add to this the way married couples may choose to own real property — usually as community property — and the inheritance advantages which are thereto attached.

Also, married couples have access to a capital gains deduction upon sale of the primary residence that is double that of a single owner. Add to this the general inheritance rights and tax levels provided by governments to married couples but not single couples.

Furthermore, the ability for hospital visitation, treatment and health-decision participation are treated differently for married and unmarried couples. The list of civil rights available only to married couples is extensive. … Most, if not all, governmental entities have laws that disallow discrimination on the basis of sex in the fulfillment contracts — both oral and especially written. The most significant contract that most people will ever sign is their civil marriage contract.

To abrogate a contract based on the sex of the signatories goes totally against the grain of the history of the United States as to the sacrosanct nature of contracts — see Article I, section 10, clause lof the U.S. Constitution that forbids the states from passing any “Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts.”


[Curiously, this letter is not available on-line. What’s up with that,]

New Mexico’s official flag until 1925, plus a beautiful interpretation of “crescit eundo”

I missed these two items when they were timely, a month ago. Just stumbled upon them in my archives.

original NM flagNew Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan

That flag photo accompanying today’s lead piece may not look familiar, but it was in our state’s early days. From 1912 to 1925 it was the official state flag. Since then the easily recognizable Zia symbol flag has flown proudly.

posted by mjh at December 3, 2004 11:13 AM

ABQjournal: Letters to the Editor

Thunderbolt in Motion

THE MUCH-CRITICIZED state motto "crescit eundo" is actually a quotation from the first-century B.C. Latin poet Lucretius in his epic poem De Rerum Natura, "On The Nature of Things," book 6.

In context it refers to the motion of a thunderbolt across the sky, which acquires power and momentum as it goes. Whoever chose that as a state motto in the old frontier days obviously knew the classics.

Once one realizes that the motto is comparing the state of New Mexico to a mighty thunderbolt flashing across the sky, it gives a whole new meaning to the expression.

Professor of classics, University of New Mexico

Other entry by mjh at March 22, 2005 11:19 AM