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Columns

  • N.M. 502 needs four lanes

    The two lane Trinity Drive preferred option presented by the MIG  consultants at the recent Transportation Board meeting should be ejected by our county councilors as being both unworkable in practice and way too expensive for even a town so well funded as Los  Alamos.
    Imagine the daily rush hour traffic if Trinity is narrowed down to only two lanes. According to the official traffic measurements, which were done for this study, there are routinely peak traffic rates of 1,500 vehicles/hr with some weekdays seeing 1,900 vehicles/hr during lunch hour.
    Most of this traffic is westbound in the morning and  eastbound in the afternoon rush hours while at lunch hour the traffic is  pretty evenly divided between east and west.  

  • Sharing the wealth

    Last fall, after a dismal tourist season for Red River, film crews arrived to make “This Must Be the Place.” They filled hotels and restaurants and boosted gross receipts, which saved Red River, according to Rep. Bobby Gonzales.
    Well, maybe it didn’t save the town, but “it certainly helped,” says a local business woman, who supports the industry and the incentives that keep movie makers here. “It was a big influx of cash.”
    Going into the legislative session, film incentives loomed as an issue, but the governor and the industry were both making conciliatory noises, so it was surprising to see incentives become a lightning rod. Instead of rational discussion, we got emotional bombast.

  • U.S. is not responsible for the mess in Mexico

    Like most Americans, I don’t have any idea what the administration is doing in Libya.  As a faithful liberal said recently, “Who knows what he’s thinking about Qaddafi. I do know this: Barack Obama has launched more cruise missiles and ordered more air strikes than any Nobel Peace Prize winner in history.”
    It’s more than fair to say that this administration’s foreign policy is one big shambles, a giant pinball machine-like strategy with the United States caroming from one shiny bumper to another.
    There are apparently no bumpers for Mexico. More than 7,000 miles away from Tripoli but mucho closer to you and your family, Mexico is in chaos.

  • Favorite day for politicians

    On April 3, Google’s main search page commemorated the 119th anniversary of the first documented ice cream sundae.  
    Every day commemorates something, but few things are as important as that famous misspelled confection.  
    However, I’d like to take some time discussing lesser known (and equally important) events.
    If you’re from New England, or know some fanatic from New England (but aren’t they all?) then you probably know that April 18 (third Monday in April) is “Patriots’ Day.”  Observed in Massachusetts and Maine, it commemorates the Battle of Lexington and Concord.  

  • Pandering to the camera

    More than a generation ago, inventive people with an entrepreneurial spirit, guts, and creativity developed a new kind of medium called listener-sponsored radio.
    It was supported initially by donations from listeners, who liked the eclectic programming. It was a labor of love and nobody got paid much.
    Eventually someone figured out that this was a public service and government could help fund it.
    Over time, it was transformed to the highly professional operation of today, with — surprise — executive salaries.

  • Make English official

    Hal Rhodes from NM News Services Editorial piece in the April 61 Los Alamos Monitor “English Only Please” was a disappointing example of the misunderstanding many have of the official English movement.
    More than 90 percent (177) of the world’s nations have enacted an official language. English is the most common official language on Earth.
    The universal language of science, commerce and industry is English.  Air traffic control the world over is conducted in English.  
    In order to facilitate unambiguous communication in engineering, protocols are adopted.  Adopting English as our official language helps make our government more efficient and is effectively simply a protocol.

  • Options to cuts do exist

    Are there alternatives to a government shutdown and the tidal wave of “budget cuts” proposed by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and by President Obama’s Budget Committee of last year?
    Yes! Here are some revenue raising and budget cutting options:
    •To better fund Social Security, Congress should remove the salary cap on FICA deductions that appear on payroll slips. FICA pays for Social Security.
    For some insane reason, no employee who earns more than $106,800 a year has to pay FICA on any income above this amount. Millionaires and billionaires should pay FICA on all income received from any source, without a “cap”.

  • Mining is nearly everywhere in state

    The state’s roughly 240 “active registered” mines, 83 percent of them producing aggregate and stone, employed 5,156 people in 2009, paid them $287 million, and produced minerals worth about $1.8 billion – good for a ranking of 20th nationally without counting oil and gas.
    The big value numbers come from coal ($736 million in 2009), potash ($491 million), and copper ($290 million and hiring again).
    Except for potash and salt mines around Carlsbad, the mines are located in the southwest quadrant and in a broad and mostly rural northern arc that starts at Raton, swings south to include Belen and Albuquerque, edges north and west to Grants and then goes to the Arizona.

  • Adolescents represent the most underserved group in healthcare

    The Preparticipation Physical Exam, or PPE, commonly known as a sports physical is performed over six million times in the U.S. annually and may be the only contact an adolescent or teen ever has with a physician.
    In fact, adolescents represent the most underserved population in healthcare. Traditionally, parents have viewed the PPE as a yearly, comprehensive medical evaluation, whereas physicians have held that it is more of a cursory exam in which possible limitations to sports participation may be identified.

  • Winners and losers who emerged in 2011 session

    In legislative post mortems, we’re hearing that the economy wasn’t much of a priority this year for either party.
    Not necessarily so. Economic development bills may have been overshadowed by bigger dramas, but some good bills made it to the governor; others were impaled on ideology and ignorance.
    The most obvious winner was the locomotive fuel tax credit to help Union Pacific Railroad create its $400 million rail hub in Santa Teresa, a project mothballed since 2007. A slam dunk, you might think, but no.