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Columns

  • 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.

  • 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.