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Articles written by Tom Mcdonald


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  • Opinion: Lack of climate mitigation could seal fate

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated May 21, 2024

    If you ask me, history is speeding up. Used to be, things didn’t change much from one generation to another, but with the onset of the 20th century, it all began to accelerate. And, now that we’re a couple of decades into the 21st century, we’re living as if the past doesn’t matter anymore. But of course, it does. History is how we got here, and it portends where we’re going. My baby-boomer generation has been through some incredible history. We were raised during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and ’60s, which led o...

  • Opinion: Unconventional advice for grads

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated May 14, 2024

    It’s that time of year, when just about every newspaper in the state gives front-page attention to at least one local graduation. They’re always a big deal, especially to those who walk across that ceremonial stage and make their families proud. It’s also the time when yours truly offers some less-than-conventional advice to those who are about to move on to bigger and better things: First, let’s dispel the notion that you can be anything you set your mind to becoming, because you can’t. If you’re short, you won’t likel...

  • Opinion: National Enquirer antics are not how newspapers behave

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated May 7, 2024

    I just want the world to know that all this “catch-and-kill” National Enquirer-style of so-called journalism is a disgusting exception, nowhere close to the rule of how newspapers behave. In my 30-plus years of newspapering, I’ve worked at big dailies and little weeklies and others in between, and I can confidently attest to the fact that I never, ever saw an editor or publisher “buy” the rights to a story, much less buy the right to bury it, as the Enquirer’s Pecker said he did for Donald Trump. That just doesn’t happen, at...

  • Opinion: Despite turmoil, plenty of levity to be found

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Apr 30, 2024

    The noise may be more pronounced elsewhere, but here in New Mexico, we’ve got plenty of hot topics of our own. Hottest at the moment, I suppose, is the lawsuit that’s been filed challenging the Public Education Department’s new rule requiring 180 days of classroom instruction per year per school district, which effectively nixes the four-day schedule that dozens of school district have been operating under. There are two questions before the 9th Judicial District Court in Curry County: Whether to order an injunction that...

  • Opinion: We should want to give children a better world

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Apr 23, 2024

    Imagine living in a household full of smokers. Whether you like it or not, you’re stuck with each other, so if you want to overcome your problem, you’re going to have do it together. More than one doctor has told you as much, but not everyone in the household believes what the docs say, opting instead for a quack’s opinion that the whole problem is better off ignored. The problem is, you’ve all got to quit together or you will all get sick and die by either first- or second-hand smoking. All that coughing and hacking around...

  • Opinion: NM taking good steps toward renewable energy

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Apr 16, 2024

    We have some big, rich and powerful neighbors, but that could change in the years ahead. Let’s start with Texas. New Mexico is heavily influenced by our neighbor to the east. In fact, a good number of New Mexicans on the east side of our state are wannabe Texans, aligning themselves to Texas values more than New Mexico’s. There’s a lot of chili (without the “e”) being eaten in eastern New Mexico. And the last time I visited the resort city of Ruidoso, I saw so many Texas license plates I wondered if I’d inadvertent...

  • Opinion: In defense of an impractical education

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Apr 13, 2024

    Earning a bachelor’s degree is a lot more complicated than it used to be. Not necessarily harder, just more complicated. Set aside for a moment affordability, which is skewed toward the middle and upper classes along with straight-A students who test well. Getting into college is easier than staying in college, and staying in college to earn that degree requires lots of delayed gratification. I have long contended that a bachelor’s degree does more than show your developing “expertise” in a particular field or two. It show...

  • Opinion: Kids social media ban good start

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Apr 2, 2024

    The world as I know it has ended. I agree with Ron DeSantis on something. On March 25, the Florida governor and former mini-Trump wannabe signed into law a state ban for children ages 13 and younger from social media while also requiring 14- and 15-year-olds to get parental consent. Forget the fact that Florida’s new law will almost certainly be challenged in court, it’s still a step in the right direction. We’re facing a mental health crisis among our children, and social media has a lot to do with it. That and the COVID...

  • Opinion: Starting to feel the effects of getting older

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Mar 26, 2024

    Lately I’ve been thinking about old age, and for good reason. Two close friends of mine, one a few years older than me, the other about three weeks younger, have given me pause about my own future at this point in my life. My older friend died after a heart attack. My younger friend had a bad fall and must now retire into an assisted living facility. They are just two of many fellow baby boomers I’ve known who have either passed on or been overcome with illness or disability. There but by the grace of God go I. At age 68, I h...

  • Opinion: PED decision could mean good year for GOP

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Mar 19, 2024

    In the great red-blue divide that is America these days, we live in an atypical state. New Mexico is not as politically divided along rural and urban lines as other states. For years now, Democrats in New Mexico have dominated politics in enough rural counties to add to their “urban” majorities in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Meanwhile Republicans have held a grip on other rural area and many smaller cities, with a lock in the southeastern corner of the state, a region deep in agriculture and rich in oil and gas...

  • Opinion: Challenge of this election surviving without hate

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Mar 16, 2024

    The biggest challenge to this election year will not be deciding between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Ninety percent of us already have our minds made up on that. No, the biggest challenge will be surviving the campaign and election without coming to hate each other. Granted, some of us already do. Some can’t differentiate between a person’s politics and their humanity. I know families in which one person no longer speaks with another family member because one of them drank the Trump Kool-Aid or the other is preaching Wokeness...

  • Opinion: Sometimes just finishing is the achievement

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Mar 5, 2024

    Back in the 1970s, when dinosaurs roamed the land, I coached basketball in an inner-city league in Nashville, Tenn. Inspired by “The White Shadow” television show at the time, the Black teenagers on my team named themselves the Shadows because I was the only white coach in the league. We lost every game that season. Even though we had a standout team captain who worked the post and led the team with natural skills, a guy we all called J.C., we just couldn’t pull off a single win. Of course, we didn’t lose because I was whi...

  • Opinion: Haley nomination would lower the political temperature

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Feb 27, 2024

    For years, I’ve been calling Donald Trump a snake-oil salesman, but that’s such an antiquated term. Then I heard about the line of shoes and cologne he’s now promoting, and now I’m thinking he’s a telemarketer. And, I must say, he’s good at it. I heard on NPR that his red, white, blue and gold sneakers are selling out. Like the Trump brand itself, they’re getting terrible reviews, but he manages to sell them to his salivating suckers anyway. Trump may be bringing down our democracy, but hey, he’s one of the best pitchmen o...

  • Opinion: Lawmakers did good work in session

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Feb 20, 2024

    Pay too much attention to the goings-on in Congress and you’d think our nation is broken. But focus your attention closer to home and you’ll see an altogether different picture. Take the New Mexico Legislature as an example. It just went through a whirlwind 30-day session and got plenty done, and not just for the special interests. The people of our state, both left and right, might actually benefit from our lawmakers’ recent actions. Altogether, 72 bills were passed and now await Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s signatu...

  • Opinion: Finding I've lived through some amazing history

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Feb 17, 2024

    I just turned 68. Happy birthday to me. It’s been a long and winding road, one in which I’ve stolen from the Beatles more than once. But, hey, what can I say — I was Born to Run! Actually, and with apologies to the Boss, I was born to live through some incredible history. From the unraveling of Jim Crow to the rise of Artificial Intelligence, we baby boomers have seen it all. By the time I got to high school, I was attending an integrated school and getting to know Black people as equals. That may sound quaint today, but b...

  • Opinion: Truth, honesty no longer valued

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Feb 6, 2024

    For just a moment, let’s deviate from modern times and actually be honest about the state of our nation. Remember how, back in the old days before lawyers replaced gunslingers, honesty was actually valued. “A man’s word is his bond,” went the old adage, while a simple handshake could close the deal. Now, that handshake is considered unsanitary and you’d better have some wet wipes and a contract before you go any further. Fact is, as a society we don’t really value honesty anymore. Advertising has always been about super...

  • Opinion: Trump, abortion biggest issues on 2024 ballots

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Jan 30, 2024

    Seems to me that Nikki Haley is a bigger problem for Donald Trump than he’s letting on. She’s exposing a rift in Trump World, one that might just get him defeated. I still say she’s the one who can beat Biden, but Trump appears ready to run roughshod over the Republicans’ nomination process to claim the crown. Then he’ll ride herd over another thumping at the polls, up and down the nation’s ballot. It’s almost funny to say, but I think the two biggest issues on 2024 ballots will be Trump and abortion. And on both those is...

  • Opinion: Wedge issues for New Mexicans

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Jan 27, 2024

    As this year’s legislative session gets underway, there’s one wedge issue already getting lots of attention. Rest assured that any and all gun-control proposals, no matter how reasonable, will get plenty of attention by the usual band of Second Amendment reactionaries and their demagoguing leaders. Remember last September when Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an executive order limiting the carrying of firearms in Bernalillo County? It was specific to metro Albuquerque, but some of the most aggressive demonstrations cam...

  • Opinion: A good laugh might be best medicine for what ails us

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Jan 20, 2024

    Trump. Climate change. Liberals. Conservatives. Socialists. Capitalists. Bet you don’t think any of these charged-up words are funny, but maybe you should. “All comedy starts with anger,” Jerry Seinfeld once said, explaining that stand-up comedy turns anger into laughter. But of course, it’s not just anger that generates laughs. It’s also pain, insecurity and other human frailties. And as it turns out, one of the most therapeutic approaches we can take in dealing with our problems is by laughing about them. My brother D...

  • Opinion: Turnout of Swifties may be what Biden needs

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Jan 13, 2024

    Random thoughts on the political year ahead: • Will Taylor Swift be the Oprah Winfrey of this year’s election? You might remember what Oprah did for Barack Obama back in 2007, giving a pop culture endorsement of great consequence in his winning bid for the White House. Maybe Taylor will do the same for Joe Biden this year. She did throw her support behind Biden four years ago, but then old Joe publicly confused her with Britney Spears. He’d better hope she’s not too sensitive about that. As far as I can tell, very few vot...

  • Opinion: Brother took my spot as comedian of family

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Jan 6, 2024

    When I was a kid, people compared me to Tommy Smothers, who, at age 86, died just as 2023 was winding down. Aside from sharing the same first name, I was also a blonde-haired, blue-eyed white kid with an off-the-wall sense of humor. When I imitated the clueless Tommy Smothers with one of his routines I memorized from a Smothers Brothers album, people would laugh and say I sounded just like him. My brother Don was more like Tommy’s brother, Dickie Smothers, straight man for their comedic schtick. Donnie, as we called my b...

  • Opinion: New year promises to be even more extreme

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Dec 30, 2023

    As intense as this year has been, next year promises to be even more so. For one thing, 2024 is a presidential election year, even though 2023 almost felt like one. This year will go down in history as the year when 91 felony charges were leveled against a former president, stemming from four major cases against him — and with each set of indictments making him an even stronger presidential contender, at least in his own party. In next year’s general election, however, he’ll be facing Joe Biden, who contends — perhaps...

  • Opinion: Handling Santa myth job of parents everywhere

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Dec 23, 2023

    Back in the 1990s, as a father of young children and a journalist committed to honest reporting, I became concerned with the whole Santa Claus “lie” that I was perpetuating with my own little girls. So I asked my father how he handled the whole myth about Santa. After all, I don’t remember ever thinking of Dad as a liar when it came to such matters, nor do I remember a day when I went from being a believer to a humbug, so I figured Dad must have done it right. For me while growing up, Christmas was all about Jesus’ birthda...

  • Opinion: Climate meeting closes with some encouraging signs

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Dec 16, 2023

    It’s a political myth, really, but it’s still poignant: that no one could have visited China back in 1972 but then-President Richard Nixon. His anti-communist positions provided him the political cover he needed to improve relations without being attacked by the Cold War “hawks” on the right. “Only Nixon could have gone to China,” historians and even Spock (in the movie Star Trek VI, Wikipedia says) have said. Maybe in the years ahead, they’ll add, “only the fossil fuel industry could take on global warming.” The l...

  • Opinion: Getting harder to stay well-informed

    Tom McDonald, Syndicated content|Updated Dec 9, 2023

    Could it be that today’s “Deep State” conspiracy theories got their start with 1947’s Roswell Incident? One could say you can draw a straight line from the UFO conspiracy theories that grew from that mystery to today’s belief that the 2020 presidential election was rigged by a massive government conspiracy. Garrett Graff, a seasoned journalist with extensive experience covering national security issues, is now making the rounds to promote his new book, “UFO: The Inside Story of the US Government’s Search of Alien Life He...

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