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Today's News

  • A calm view of Obamacare

    Some of that global warming could be the hot air expended on Obamacare this campaign season.
    What’s interesting is that when Jim Hinton, CEO of Presbyterian Healthcare Services, speaks in public, he never sounds too worried. Neither do his peers at Lovelace Health System. And yet these two organizations will shoulder the lion’s share of Affordable Care Act reforms for New Mexico.
    Presbyterian and Lovelace have both supported expansion of coverage for the uninsured. Presbyterian even backed former Gov. Bill Richardson’s effort to create state-funded universal care.  As for ACA, says Todd Sandman, a vice president at Presbyterian, “We think there’s a lot of good innovation in the law. It rewards quality. It doesn’t mean every line is how we’d write it.”
    Says Stephen Forney, Lovelace’s vice president and chief financial officer, “We always take a very long view of the system and the market in New Mexico so we’re prepared. We’ve had our eyes on health care reform for a long time.”
    That said, there’s anxiety out there about how ACA will translate at all levels. Forney wants to see “the rules written so we all know what we’re supposed to do.”

  • PACs pollute political process

    Political Action Committees (PACs) are conducting phone surveys and sending out mailers—and may do other campaign activities in the future.  These activities are independent of candidates, usually emotion-laden, and often misleading.   
    PAC activities are neither sponsored by, nor coordinated with, any candidate or candidate committee.  By law, fundraising and spending by candidates must be transparent. Candidates report all donations and spending and reveal who paid for campaign activities.  PACs act independently of candidates and collect money and spend it as they want.  
    I have had no contact with any PAC.  I first became aware that PACs were active in this race when a local voter participated in a phone survey and questioned the slanted call criticizing my opponent.  She emailed me.  I assured her that my campaign was not responsible for the calls and that I deplored the technique.   Soon after, others told me about phone surveys where similar techniques were being used against me.
    It is disturbing to both candidates and voters to be subjected to inflammatory and misleading political ads.  Unfortunately, I expect to see more such activities by PACs.

  • Jerry Sandusky Sentenced to at Least 30 Years
  • Skydiver cancels planned record free fall because of high winds

    ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Extreme athlete and skydiver Felix Baumgartner canceled his planned death-defying 23-mile free fall on Tuesday into the New Mexico desert because of high winds.

    The 43-year-old former military parachutist from Austria had hoped to become the first skydiver to break the sound barrier and shatter three other world records.

    But the weather forced his team to cancel his planned ascent in a 55-story, ultra-thin helium balloon that was to take him to the stratosphere.

  • A path to good governance

    John C. Hopkins, Charter Review Committee Chair

    Chris Chandler, I&R Subcommittee Chair

     

    The Charter Review Committee (CRC) spent over two years studying the Los Alamos County Charter.  After numerous public meetings and considerable debate, the CRC’s and Council’s proposals relating to initiative, referendum and recall are now being presented to the voters on the fall ballot.  

     

    The CRC approached its study of initiative and referendum (I&R) beginning with the tenet that representative democracy is the basis of our American system of government. It is within this context that we considered the role of initiative and referendum.  When and under what conditions is direct citizen legislation appropriate?  We concluded that the voters are entitled to well-defined processes that provide citizens with a means to “check” on extraordinarily poor or misguided Council action, not as a routine method for objecting to Council decisions. 

     

  • All about checks and balances

    Editor, Los Alamos Monitor:

    “Checks and balances” is the phrase that describes the web of interactions among the branches of a government that provides for limiting governmental excess by the separation of powers into legislative, executive, and judicial sectors.  For example in the first instance, the federal government, the legislature passes laws but those laws can only be enforced by the executive and interpreted by the judicial, the legislature can remove judges or presidents and controls their budgets but is itself greatly constrained by being bifurcated.  And so on.  In the extreme these checks and balances can and do produce gridlock so moderation is necessary.

    Recently it has been alleged that the municipal government of Los Alamos operates without adequate checks and balances because there is no separation of powers similar to the federal system.  This naïve allegation has been used to justify the assertion that the referendum and initiative powers enshrined in our charter are essential to prevent municipal excess, and must be as easy as possible to exercise.  In this letter I want to describe the separation of powers in Los Alamos and some of the intricate, three-dimensional web of checks and balances within which the county government operates.

  • Frenchman, American win Nobel for quantum physics

    STOCKHOLM (AP) — A French-American duo shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday for inventing methods to observe the bizarre properties of the quantum world, research that has led to the construction of extremely precise clocks and helped scientists take the first steps toward building superfast computers.

    Serge Haroche of France and American David Wineland opened the door to new experiments in quantum physics by showing how to observe individual quantum particles without destroying them.

    A quantum particle is one that is isolated from everything else. In this situation, an atom or electron or photon takes on strange properties. It can be in two places at once, for example. It behaves in some ways like a wave. But these properties are instantly changed when it interacts with something else, such as when somebody observes it.

    Working separately, the two scientists, both 68, developed "ingenious laboratory methods" that allowed them to manage and measure and control fragile quantum states, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.

  • Man Dies After Live Roach-eating Contest in Fla.
  • Ex-NFL Cheerleader Pleads Guilty to Student Sex
  • Today in History for October 9th