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Columns

  • Air flow, air quality related

    People wander among natural joys – sun, food, shelter, canyons, the night sky, ripples of ideas, tidal flats, sand dunes, the Internet and getting your way some of the time. Keeping your own list is part of the fun.
    A jewel that gets overlooked is the variety of weather. The richer detail is not “weather,” but “variety.”
    Everyone likes sun. Everyone wants rain. Snow has fans and critics. Nature’s variability is the pot of gold.

  • Hard-fought rules add jobs to NM’s oilfields

    People dearly want a lasting supply of clean air and water. The answer is pollution control.
    As more people make and use more stuff, pollution sources grow to need more controls. The controls add jobs in the pollution controls industry. The bonus is more of the clean air and water people want.
    In mid-October, a black headline glared from the Albuquerque Journal. It read “Jackpot in the Oil Patch, State Rules Helped Politically Connected Players.”
    The front-page report hit on the eternal thought that campaign money might sway things. If it might, new money that sways toward the middle is a step forward.

  • Highlights of New Mexico’s 100 years of statehood

    What were the most important events of New Mexico’s first 100 years of statehood?
    Mine appear below.
    The State Department of Cultural Affairs has a list, available in poster form.
    The New Mexico Blue Book has a list available from the Secretary of State’s Office.
    1912 - Any such list must beginning with Jan. 6 when President William Howard Taft signed the statehood proclamation and Gov. William C. McDonald, a Democrat, is elected to office.
    1916 - Pancho Villa_s troops raid Columbus, NM. A massive Punative Expedition into Mexico, headed by Gen. Black Jack Pershing, ensued. It involved the first tactical use of aircraft. A state park museum in Columbus tells a good story.

  • It’s not just the lava

    Mt. Rainier in my native Washington State is a stunning site. It’s a beautiful mountain, covered in snow and ice in both winter and summer.
    At over 14,000 feet, its summit is worthy of respect from even serious hikers. There’s no wonder it’s a National Park.
    Like most all of the other beautiful peaks in the Cascades, Mt. Rainier is also a deadly volcano. It hasn’t erupted since 1894, but that’s not long ago to a geologist – we are sure it’s only sleeping and will be heard from again.

  • A life form unto itself

    I was watching a television show the other day,  which had a panel of political columnists who were taking phone calls from people.  
    One caller had read a story in a newspaper about a radio program that was debating an issue brought up during a discussion show on television that was critiquing a magazine article.  
    As I mentally reconstructed this nested communications tree — magazine to TV to radio to newspaper to phone to TV  — and then considered the fact that readers would now be reading about this in a newspaper, I began to understand the true meaning of recursion.  
    Maybe we should discuss your opinions about my opinions about their opinions over the radio some day?  

  • The finger of blame points at We the People

    Since Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives a year ago come January, the American people have endured an unrelenting orgy of finger pointing.
    Divided government fosters that sort of thing. When one party controls the White House and the other party controls Congress, or a part thereof, deadlock is rarely far behind. And since no one wants to take responsibility for grinding the affairs of state to a halt, everyone starts pointing fingers of blame at everyone else.
    Witness last week when that so-called congressional “Super Committee” confirmed that the six Republicans and six Democrats on that panel had failed to find a way to reconcile their differences over how to reduce our horrendous national debt.

  • Give Congress a timeout

    Maybe you weren’t amused by all the snarky comments about candidate Rick Perry’s memory lapse.
    Anybody over a certain age has experienced those mental misfires.
    We can usually laugh them off unless we happen to be on national television as a candidate for president.
    Focus instead on what the man intended to say.
    To cut the deficit, Perry would eliminate the Education Department, the Commerce Department, and the Energy Department.
    The Energy Department? Ack!
    The DOE may not be a model of bureaucratic efficiency, but in fiscal 2010, the department spent $4.1 billion in New Mexico, more than it spent in any other state.
    Perry might as well have said, No, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus.

  • Community newspapers find meaning, make money

    Professionally I grew up with newspapers, though not the dominant daily in the large market. (“Large” markets for me mean Oklahoma City and Albuquerque.)
    I only worked for the big guy once, a brief stint with the Daily Oklahoman. My experience started with the old Albuquerque News, a weekly shopper with real editorial content. For the publishing company I started as janitor and served in production, sales and administration.
    My affection goes to community newspapers, which is fortunate since community newspapers print this column. Fellow columnist Sherry Robinson and I believe that community papers have a valuable role doing things too small scale to interest the big papers.

  • Don't vote for disaster

    The failure of the Congressional Super Committee to reach a “deal” on cutting the future national budget deficit proves one thing — no one should vote Republican in the upcoming federal elections.
    Yes, there are some fine people running as Republicans, but this admonition has nothing to do with individuals and everything to do with survival for everyone who is not part of the super rich who are consistently favored by the actions of elected Republicans.
    Recent PBS reports on economic inequality in America, and how the Great Recession happened as detailed in the book AFTERSHOCK by Robert B. Reich, document some startling facts.

  • Who gets the prize?

    I spent a week, well, actually five days filling out a form. Every night I had to fill in the title, the author, and the amount of time spent reading on this form.
    It was called a reading log. It wasn’t my reading log, it was my kindergartner’s.
    But, since my K-Kid couldn’t write yet and I wasn’t about to take the time at the end of a long day to teach him how to fill out this form - I did it. Every night “we” filled it out. I lie.
    There were some nights that we didn’t read. So I faked it. Sometimes we got busy and by the time it was bedtime, I felt it better to get my kid in bed rather than read and of course I was the reader. So, I fudged sometimes.