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Columns

  • For a few dollars more

    Although seriously wounded, the bad guy was still dangerous.
    With radioactive blood oozing, he reached for the feedwater coolant release valve. But then, hearing the muffled laugh of regulatory oversight, he looked up and found himself staring into the barrel of a 357 fuel rod.  
    The inspector smiled and said, “I know what you’re thinking.  Did he hit me with an 8.6 earthquake, or was it point 5?
    Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I kind of lost track myself.

  • Gov's turn to reform

    In the recently completed 2011 legislative session, Senate Bill 17 (Keller, D-Bernalillo & Neville, R-Aztec), a bill designed to complete SIC reforms by removing the governor as chairperson, passed with wide bi-partisan support.
    It now sits on the governor’s desk waiting to be signed. SB-17 was carefully crafted in the interim, by the bipartisan Investment Oversight Committee, long before the recent gubernatorial election.  
    It is composed of original sections from the 2010 bill including sections to ensure minority party legislative appointments.  
    It now also includes an amendment that allows the Governor to serve for two more years in the Chairperson role before removing the position all together.  

  • Creativity in science and art

    When there is an economic downturn, often the first things people want to sacrifice in our schools are programs that are not considered the basics, such as art, physical education, and music.  Yet these disciplines are life skills that help us to be happier and healthier in our maturity.  But are we sacrificing something else?  First and foremost, I believe we are eliminating the teaching of creativity--creative ways of thinking, moving, and enjoying life.
    We often compartmentalize various disciplines: art is art and science is science, and in our mind they do not intersect. Furthermore, we somehow fail to value art as much as science and are more willing to do away with art.  

  • English only please

    Have you noticed how the same old divisive legislative proposals invariably get new leases on life when a fresh batch of right-leaning politicos gets elected to Congress?
    For example, it’s a safe bet that somewhere along the line, there’ll be a hue and cry to cut federal funding for public broadcasting.
    It’s equally predictable there’ll be renewed zeal for so-called “English only” legislation designed to make English the official language of these United States. This one has legs and comes back to haunt political season after political season.
    And, sure enough, it is upon us anew, thanks in part to the large cadre of Republican Tea Partiers who were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives last November.

  • Efficiency in regulations

    A lack of sturdy regulation is a large, worsening problem for the nation’s economy in all its aspects. Today’s essay outlines sorely needed advances of large scope. Ensuing columns will amplify key features. Judge the whole.
    Dept. of Regulatory Science & Technology Tools move us faster than slogans. A painting can show new ways of seeing things, unless we stand too near it. It works the same with regulation.
    Camps of competing interests exchange infamies over the need for regulation. Industry decries the strictness of regulations. Camps berate the enforcement of regulations.  
    The efficiency of regulation gets the least attention, yet is vital to the most interests.

  • First responders need protection

    Most Americans were heartened a few months ago, when Congress enacted and President Obama signed — with considerable fanfare ­— a law providing financial help for people who got sick after the fall of the World Trade Center in 2001.
    Firefighters, police officers and others involved in the massive cleanup have suffered with diseases traceable to the horrendous toxic exposures they endured.
    Special legislation was needed for the civic employees, in part because of the long time lag between the exposure and the disease.
    Statutes vary from state to state, but in general, occupational disease coverage under workers’ compensation law is limited by narrow definitions and time limits that would make it difficult to apply to these cases.

  • There’s no political glory in making hard decisions

    Sen. Bill Sapien was defending his bill to move money from higher education to early education, and the Senate Finance Committee wasn’t buying.
    “We’re all trying to skin the cat for early childhood education,” said Republican Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort.
    “The problem is,” added Democrat Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, “We’re all skinning the same cat.”
    I like to make fun of political cliches, but I can also appreciate the power of a phrase, however overused, to communicate, especially in a session as charged and raw as this one.  We heard a lot about “stepping up to the plate,” “kicking the can down the road,” and balancing the budget on somebody’s back.

  • Alright, here we go again

    The news report spilled out like a cow chip throwing contest in my living room.  
    “A coalition of American and European forces launched a military campaign Saturday to drive Moammar Gadhafi from power, bombing Libyan targets by air and sea in the first phase of the largest international military effort since the Iraq war.”
    Coalition.  These days, that’s just another word for “Fight Club of the Week.”  

  • Knowing when a contractor's needed

    Do I need a contractor? Well, that depends. If you are a homeowner and want to work on your own home, you can perform that work under a Homeowner’s Permit. State law allows you to act as your own general contractor in this case by obtaining a homeowner’s permit. Under that permit you can do any general construction that you want by either performing the labor yourself or contracting out various aspects of your project.  

  • 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.