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Columns

  • 2011 - So far so good

    This year continues on the path of solid gains, but it has certainly not been a smooth ride.
    Stocks and bonds have had to steer clear of geopolitical risks, budget issues, natural disasters and the ongoing debt crisis in Europe.
    In spite of these issues we have been able to generate positive returns.
    Stocks enjoyed their best first quarter in 15 years, but, the question is, will we be able to continue on this pace the rest of the year?
    Bonds hit some speed bumps in the first quarter, but low to middle single digit gains still looks possible. In any market, there are always opportunities, you just need to know where to look for them.

  • Let's think about putting an overpass above Trinity Drive

    I’ve been reading the letters about the proposed changes to Trinity Drive; listened to people talking on the street; listened to county council meetings and agree there is a load of 11th hour people coming out; offering mostly complaints and not solutions.
    My question: Has anyone looked at instead of making Trinity smaller by adding  roundabouts that potentially cause emergency vehicles inability to get to their destinations timely, to put in overpasses that will allow even those with physical handicaps access?  I’ve seen them in several places in Albuquerque so they must work. After all the ones on Diamond Drive seem to work pretty good and we aren’t putting roundabouts there.

  • Try tolerating reality

    Talking about infrastructure planning for the future of New Mexico energy is a serious exercise in testing your ability to tolerate reality.
    There is no pie in the sky. This is about how you and I will be able to turn the lights on, 20 years from now.
    PNM is currently undergoing such an exercise, with a full complement of public participation. The participants are not a hand-picked group. Everybody who showed up got a place at the table.
    Wherever  you are in New Mexico, this affects you. You are part of the region and face similar cost issues and environmental trade-offs. You also breathe the same air.
    The trade-offs look like this:

  • All states observe Memorial Day

    Did you know that Memorial Day is commemorated in different ways and on different dates throughout our nation?
    The observance had its beginnings during the Civil War, which is a good hint that there would not be uniformity.
    More than two dozen cities and towns lay claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day, and each had its own customs.
    There is evidence that organized women’s groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War.
    Following the war, towns in the North decided it would be a good idea to honor their military dead also.
    In 1868, “Decoration Day” was officially proclaimed. It was so named because the emphasis was on decorating graves of fallen soldiers.

  • Economic stimulus outcome not dramatic but measurable

    New Mexico’s economic stimulus money will begin to peter out in July. From the numbers, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act didn’t live up to our biggest expectations, which were very big, but it defied predictions by pessimists.
    In a nutshell, stimulus funding didn’t jumpstart our economy, but it kept the bottom from falling out and bought us some time. If you were one of the people who got or kept a job supported by stimulus money, and you’re now about to be unemployed, it’s at least a better time to be job hunting than it was in the depths of the downturn.

  • It’s getting APPalling out there

    My wife and I broke down the other day and got ourselves some smart phones.  But it turns out that the phones really aren’t all that smart.  
    My phone couldn’t learn even the simplest of dog tricks like roll over, beg or fetch.  It does however stay with amazing non-agility.
    It didn’t take long for us to find ourselves downloading apps. Reading apps.  Game apps.  Navigation apps.  Productivity apps.  
    I suddenly knew what it felt like for Columbus, opening your eyes one morning and discovering a new world.  
    Well, almost exactly like that, except that I didn’t get to destroy civilizations, steal riches or brutalize and enslave any Indians.

  • Remembering many valiant battles lost

    Around Memorial Day, as we remember those who fought to preserve our safety and freedom, let’s take a moment to remember those who fought, and lost, a no less valiant battle, their battle with cancer.
    I often think about my friends, and those that I’ve known and lost, and ask why?
    Why did they lose their battle and I’m still here? Why did my friend, who was diagnosed at the same time as me, lose her fight and yet I remain in remission? Why do some suffer and others not? They were good people. They didn’t deserve it. No one does. In fact, cancer survivors are the most wonderful people I know.

  • Trying to make sense of it

    Amid the news of Osama Bin Laden’s killing, and the extreme public reaction in Pakistan, it is worth asking, “Do all Muslims support jihad killing of innocents?” and “What human rights do Muslim majority nations allow?”
    We regularly read about the denial of voting rights, civil rights, public education or free speech for women and minorities in Muslim nations, such as Iran’s killing of members of B’nai Brith, an offshoot sect of Islam that many Muslims consider a heresy.
    But how much of this repression of basic human rights is due to the “culture” of national governments and how much is due to the religion of Islam?

  • Board actions questioned

    The LAPS Board ultimately decides which community organizations can rent the Duane W. Smith Auditorium (DWSA) and what these organizations can perform. This is reasonable.
    The board should not, for example, allow performances that go against the LAPS policy on temporary/long-term use of school facilities (1330-3270), which states that school facilities such as the theater are for the educational benefit of the people of Los Alamos and that “district buildings and facilities should be available, subject to reasonable conditions, to ... organizations for activities that foster the educational, cultural .... or social development of the community.

  • Playing games for sustainability

    I call the computer the bringer of prospects. A few odd souls will think of computing. Most think of video games, texting, or e-books.
    Environmental thinkers may think of smart cars and paperless records. Rare is the breed hooked on sustainability games, a many-pronged teaching tool.
    Who knows? Games may be the best hope that the world’s youth will work out the problems we pass to them.
    “Sustainability games” are computer games that test a player’s skill at prolonging the world’s use of natural resources and the environment. The games take many forms.