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Columns

  • Cancer detection and man’s best friend

    Dogs are loyal, playful, loving and sometimes cute as a button. It’s no wonder we love them (some of us more than others, to be sure).
    Dogs were likely one of the very first animals we humans domesticated. They’ve been sitting around our campfires for a very long time, indeed.
    We train our dogs to sit, shake and lie down. It also could be said the dogs train us to dispense kibbles, rawhide treats, and scratches behind the ears. What matters isn’t which side comes out ahead in the exchange, I like to think, but that both sides benefit from our association.

  • Sexual harassment charges aren't going away

    Sexual harassment isn’t just a complaint – it’s become a small industry of legal specialists ready to accuse or defend, plus consultants called in to educate workers.
    On the job, I’ve sat through a few of these workshops.
    Lots of people have, and yet the lawyers and consultants haven’t run out of work. And late-night comedians still have plenty of fodder.
    As Herman Cain, Republican candidate for president, fights his battles with accusers, we see new accusations against two managers at the state Workforce Solutions Department, of all places. “Multiple” women in the call center complain of unwanted physical touching, crude remarks and supervisors who ask them for dates, according to news reports.

  • State deregulation woes

    Does New Mexico have too many regulations? Gov. Susana Martinez thinks so. She campaigned for smaller government.
    Eliminating regulations is one way of making government smaller. With fewer regulations, fewer inspectors are needed to monitor and enforce the regulations. And it is easier to conduct business with fewer rules to follow.
    So Gov. Martinez appointed a Small Business Friendly Task Force.
    The group has reported on ways to eliminate regulations and reduce waste. As one might guess, the Regulation and Licensing Department and the Construction Industries Division were two of the first targets.
    Gov. Martinez has heard plenty from the construction business about the onerous regulations they face.

  • Committee chair accepts olive branch

    On Wednesday, the Los Alamos Monitor published a story on my resignation from the White Rock Master Plan Implementation Committee. This story did a reasonable job of covering the major points of the disagreement between myself and some members of the county council.
    However, I would like to elaborate on a few additional points; give my views on where the master plan goes from here; and, perhaps most important, publicly accept the olive branch that has been extended to me by Councilor Ron Selvage.

  • House races are shaping up

    U.S. House races are beginning to take shape. Senate races already are well set because they are statewide.
    Senate candidates don’t have to worry about what redistricting might do to their campaign plans.
    Heather Wilson and Martin Heinrich reported impressive third quarter fundraising totals.
    Lt. Gov. John Sanchez still can give Wilson a race in the GOP primary, with Greg Sowards lurking as a possible spoiler.
    State Auditor Hector Balderas still has a shot at Heinrich in the Democratic primary.
    But it is the House where interest now is turning. The 1st Congressional District has a full-blown race on the Democratic side. Rep. Martin Heinrich is giving up the seat to run for the Senate post being vacated by Sen. Jeff Bingaman.

  • Stepping up to a bright idea

    At first I wasn’t sure I was reading the CNN report correctly. The story hinged on special pavement that uses the impact of human feet to generate electricity.
    That’s right. A young man in Britain has invented a device that harvests the energy from a footfall hitting the pavement to power things like LED lights.
    Talk about a bright idea. The “PaveGen” project is the brainchild of Laurence Kemball-Cook, 25. He’s an engineer who built a prototype of the device during his last year in school and is now working to make and market his creation.

  • Statehood events begin

    Most New Mexicans likely are aware that New Mexico celebrates its 100th birthday on Jan. 6.
    Few New Mexicans, at this point, seem aware that the centennial celebration already has started.
    That’s the way it usually happens. To avoid a one-day celebration, start early and keep it going for a year or more.
    New Mexico is no exception. Gov. Susana Martinez kicked off the festivities in Las Cruces back on Aug. 28.
    That was followed by an executive order on Sept. 1 directing all state agencies to promote the centennial.
    Union Pacific is adding to the celebration by sending one of its vintage locomotives steaming through New Mexico Nov. 4-9 from Tucumcari to Lordsburg.

  • Recession over? 6,000 jobs vanished last year

    For more than a year, New Mexico has had 6,000 more people working than we thought we had. Or not.
    If that sounds odd, it is odd. Maybe even another reason to distrust “the government,” one part of which is the source of dilemma.
    Another piece of the government, the Legislative Finance Committee called it a “perceived error.”
    I’ll explain. But first step back to a bigger picture.
    We are all, people and organizations, measured by our accounting systems.
    For people, the accounting measures might start with the amount of cash in the pocket, step up in sophistication to a checking account, then to computer tracking of spending and income and go from there.

  • I'm living with it, not dying from it

    What happens when a cheerleader loses her pom-poms, or a Wall Street protester loses their sign, or Tigger just loses his bounce.
    All of us, when pushed to the limit, lose our hope, our drive, our energy.
    In the face of a cancer diagnosis, there can be courage, determination and cockiness in the face of adversity, but fighting cancer is no picnic, and it consumes all your strength. So what happens when it consumes your life, when you live with cancer as a chronic disease ... when you’ve just been diagnosed with cancer for the third time in five years.
    Then life can suddenly seem as though its determined to undermine you, and the only thing to do is throw in the towel and say, “oh well, I guess I’m just screwed.”

  • PAYT is harmful and inequitable

    In the Nov. 3 Los Alamos Monitor, there is a View Point discussing claimed environmental benefits for the “Pay-As-You-Throw” (PAYT) rate structure for trash pickup.
    Contrary to the conclusion of that writer, the PAYT system is an environmentally harmful system and is also inequitable for the following reasons: