CC BY Steve Jurvetson
We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Resumés
Recently, great levels of attention have been focused upon the possible placement of Tesla Motor’s first “gigafactory” within the boundaries of New Mexico. Galvanized by the excitement surrounding the decision, I decided to make a mental list of all of the facets that would look attractive to the company—after some time, a very meager list developed. It was actually much easier to delineate the reasons placement of a Tesla factory in any town, village, Pueblo or stretch of barren wasteland within the state is highly unlikely. Anyone having lived any amount of time within these borders will possess ample anecdotal and statistical substantiation for such pessimism. Poverty, substandard education and lack of a skilled workforce are a few of the reasons any functional company would look elsewhere. Then, of course, there two interrelated issues more prominent than the typical socioeconomic and demographic impediments for their pernicious impact to this state, and deserving of the most malicious criticisms possible—nepotism and cronyism.
Having not been born and reared in the Land of Enchantment, I was astonished with the ubiquitous acceptance of antiquated familial and acquaintance-based hiring practices. Hiring practices that exist not just in private business, but also in the publicly funded institutions the state is so dependent upon for tax revenue. Where one would assume knowledge, skills and abilities determine the most appropriate candidate for a position or promotion, the primary criteria is family and social connections. If, while filling out an application, you encounter questions on whether or not a family member currently works within the organization, and logically suppose they are asked to prevent a conflict of interest, you would be wrong. Someone reviewing a directory of employees at a research lab noticing a significant number of staff sharing the same last name and suspect coincidence would be incorrect. In New Mexico, business meetings and family reunions are indistinguishable.
Economically, such pervasive nepotism and cronyism is debilitating. One could justifiably juxtapose the state of “red or green?” with that of a developing country where extreme income inequality, reduced skill levels, unexpressed creativity and low productivity are representative of preferential treatment of kin. The paucity of meritocracy exacerbates inefficient use of resources, placement of under-skilled and inexperienced individuals into positions ill-suited to their knowledge base, and the migration of skilled individuals from the state who possess the passion and knowledge befitting those positions.
Such cultural norms illustrated within New Mexico generate an environment dismissive of outsiders and unwilling to adapt. Hopes to attract the skilled and creative to the state will be met with perpetual disappointment. The pervasiveness of inept job placement will continue to degrade the quality of the workforce and New Mexico’s chances of economic diversification and growth. Needed is a thorough public examination of nepotism and cronyism in government, which is an unlikely initiative as many in government benefit from such favoritism, which solidifies its continuation.
The New Mexico economic model is ravaged by illness and plagued with ineptitudes. Such disillusionment is my catalyst to search for more fruitful and enlightened lands, where hard work and whetted skills are an asset—not my cousin’s uncle’s nephew's brother-in-law.
CC BY Lenny Montana
Frontlines of Marijuana Reform
I strongly support legalizing marijuana. Booze, cigarettes and prescription drugs kill millions worldwide every year, but I know of no one killed from using only marijuana.
In the 1970s I took some tokes offered me, but I have never bought, never sold, never grown marijuana in my life.
If I had a disease where my only choices were a prescription drug or medical marijuana, I would choose marijuana—no question. Eating it raw or vaporizing it is healthier than smoking it.
More than 4,000 years ago, a leading Chinese doctor recommended marijuana for many of the same sicknesses doctors now prescribe it. Marijuana has [at least] 75 unique healing ingredients not found in any other plant. Marijuana is the single most versatile herbal remedy on Earth. No other plant contains as wide a range of healing herbal ingredients.
Marijuana can help cancer, PTSD, chronic pain, nausea, inflammation, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer's and other dementia, immunity, appetite, glaucoma, Lou Gehrig's disease, peripheral neuropathy, anorexia, hepatitis C, Crohn's disease, insomnia, arthritis, epilepsy, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis and hospice patients.
I damn the racist US drug war devastating low-income communities of color. Far more African-American and Latino youth, percentage-wise, get locked up for marijuana than Anglo youth, even though rates of use are about the same. US hysteria against marijuana was rooted for decades in racism against Mexicanos and African-Americans and also in the greed of timber, petrochemical and drug companies.
The last three US presidents—Clinton, Bush and Obama—all admitted to past use of marijuana. All three later were re-elected. If they had grown up low income or non-white in the inner city, they all might have lived in prison instead of the White House and in some states, never have been allowed to vote for president [again for] the rest of their lives—let alone become president!
Until marijuana is legal in New Mexico, I refuse to risk arrest, court, fines and jail for myself or for whomever would sell marijuana to me—if I were to use marijuana without being approved for medical marijuana. I refuse to make my life more secretive and to increase my fear of police.
Buying imported, illegal marijuana from Mexico pays for the drug gangs to mass murder thousands of people in Mexico.
Except for the serious legal risks, I would infinitely prefer friends using their own homegrown, organic marijuana instead of smoking any cigarettes or drinking any booze.
I highly recommend these books—Marijuana Gateway to Health by Clint Werner, The Great Book of Hemp by Rowan Robinson and The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander.
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