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Columns

  • People are speaking up

    The residents of Los Alamos County made a clear statement that they are ready, willing and able to assist in the creation of a sustainable community.  
    The Town Hall held on March 5 had around 50 attendees that generated an array of innovative and actionable ideas.  While the coffee pot ran dry about half way through the event, the ideas kept flowing.

  • Dollar saved can be yours

    Those of us who have been around the block a few times will remember the last time gasoline hit $4 per gallon a new industry sprang up.
    Drivers could buy magnets to attach to fuel lines to allegedly boost a car’s gas mileage by 20 or even 30 percent.
    The devices didn’t work, but the brisk market for them reflected the pain we were feeling at the pump.
    The Rock Doc confidently predicts the current spike in gas prices will lead to yet another round of activity by the charlatans we saw last time.

  • 10 items or less and other public education failures

    You’re standing in the grocery store “10 items or less” line and the person in front of you clearly has more than 10 items in his or her basket. Do you:
    •Mumble under your breath about the injustice of it all?
    • Love them unconditionally?
    •Think, “What the *@##! They’ve got 21 items in their basket. Can’t they count?” and recognize that our public school systems are responsible for dumbing down our math skills?
    •Feel guilty about placing the blame on math teachers and realize the problem is the failure of reading teachers?
    •Set your basket down and leave?

  • State budget ripple effect

    We complain that they aren’t competent. But now we have reason to worry that there aren’t enough of them.
    Government employees, that is — specifically, the front-line regulators who are charged with keeping us safe and keeping our institutions honest. This is an effect of the looming cuts in the state budget.
    Construction inspectors are in short supply, a construction industry executive told me.
    Budget shortfalls have led several New Mexico municipalities to let go of their own inspectors because they can turn over inspection duties to the state.

  • Spaceport: Economic and education engine

    As I begin my new position as the executive director of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, I anticipate an exciting time ahead for New Mexico as the commercial space industry grows by leaps and bounds.
    My vision for Spaceport America is to create the world’s premier commercial space-launch facility, providing first-class customer service and attracting visitors from around the world.
    We view Spaceport America as an engine to help stimulate New Mexico’s economy by creating new jobs and to motivate and inspire our students to achieve greatness in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

  • Successful roundabout example exists

    As an author published in the area of traffic safety and a former Transportation Board member, I would feel remiss in not pointing out numerous errors in Joel Williams Thursday “ViewPoint.”
    What has surprised me in the discussion of local roundabouts is the obvious, successful, example that already exists.  I was a Transportation Board member when the alternatives for the intersection at North Mesa and San Ildefonso were discussed.  

  • Taking melodramatic media to task

    In Japan’s recent devastating earthquake and tsunami, the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant structures remarkably survived the 9.0 quake intact, but suffered major damage when the tsunami destroyed external electrical transmission.
    It also topped the seawall and inundated the backup diesel generators that power pumps for cooling water to the cores and adjacent spent fuel storage pools.
    It is a severe loss of coolant event. The frantic reporting is reminiscent of Three Mile Island – inflated and misinterpreted.
    It is hard to separate the facts from the assertions and the media are not helping, but with each passing day more information relevant to the outcome emerges and the hand wringing of previous days lessens.

  • Reviewing is not research

    It would be interesting to see what “safety statistics” the Transportation Board reviewed and who the “representatives of the community” they reviewed were, as stated by D.D. Martin in the Los Alamos Monitor.
    Reviewing is not research as implied; and I thought the community’s only true representatives were the councilors. The board’s initial 7-0 vote against roundabouts should have told them how the community at large would receive them.

  • Finally putting our money where our mouths are

    On Sept. 11, 2001, some radical Islamists stole airplanes with which to attack the U.S.  The overwhelming majority of these murderers were Saudi Arabians and had been educated in the intolerant version of Sunni Islam, called Wahhabi Islam, in the government schools and mosques of Saudi Arabia.
    These inspired Saudis felt that attacking the U.S., or for that matter Shia Islam or any other belief system, was doing Allah’s work. Apparently none had a connection with Saddam Husein or Iraq.
    We couldn’t invade Saudi Arabia because we needed their oil.  Therefore, we invaded Iraq, against the wishes of the U.N. and most of our allies.  

  • The nature of political ambition

    Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and his gang of senate GOPers are at it again.
    This time they’ve told President Obama that his choice for a new Secretary of Commerce won’t be confirmed until the president submits proposed free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama for Senate confirmation.
    The Obama administration is holding back those agreements pending negotiations with Colombia and Panama on related issues.
    But McConnell, et. al, have their own agenda and are now embarked upon another of their tantrums by threatening to leave the Department of Commerce leaderless unless they get their way.
    It’s as mindless as it is irresponsible.