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Columns

  • Our idols had clay feet

    I remember back in school learning about all sorts of famous people - presidents, kings, explorers, inventors, military heroes - an endless list of amazing people who did amazing things.
     But history books only contain what history book authors write.  These larger-than-life idols were people, flesh and blood and subject to the same weaknesses and faults that befall even the most insignificant of us.
    Speaking as a rather insignificant entity, I find this fact strangely comforting.
    Now, what better American hero than the inventor of the light bulb, the motion picture, the phonograph.  Thomas Alva Edison, American scientist!

  • Spending rules invite gaming

    The primary election has passed. Political advertising won’t disappear until the end of Election Day, Nov. 6.
    Political campaigns are a small business with a heavy marketing orientation. The business has two products—the candidate as an individual and the candidate’s ideas. The business must sell the products to customers—the voters—and distinguish itself from the competition. Discussing the competition’s record and beliefs is called “negative campaigning.”
    To make the sale, campaigns must create a movement, a process requiring theater and spectacle. This sales process takes money.

  • The calm before the storm

    SANTA FE — It used to be that the summer months were King’s X in New Mexico political campaigns. From primary election day to Labor Day, candidates recovered from intra-party battles and readied for the general election.
    But then the national pundits noticed that New Mexico’s presidential election results were amazingly similar to the way the nation went. So our state became targeted for political ads beginning the day after the primaries.

  • Logic behind smear campaigns

    We’ve all wanted to tell candidates what we think of their mud fights, and I got a small opportunity during primary season. When a candidate came to the door, I said, “I’ve only gotten one mailer from you, and it was negative. Why did you go negative?”
    The candidate, who had a long record of civic involvement and impressive endorsements, said he thought it was important to point out certain facts about his opponents. It’s true that we need to see all sides of the candidates, but their competitors are hardly credible sources. He talked a while and was quite likable, but I still didn’t vote for him.

  • Diving into the recycling stream

    As the Environmental Services Specialist I spend a fair deal of my time working on recycling program planning and education and outreach.  What I do not get the opportunity to do very often is get my hands dirty and see the recycling stream up close and personal.  That opportunity presented itself recently when we were down two collection vehicles and needed additional staffing to get the recyclables collected.  So I threw on my steel-toe boots, gloves and safety vest and headed out to the Western Area.  

  • Las Conchas: Fire and water

    Last week, I attended a conference “Impacts and Lessons Learned from the Las Conchas Fire,” sponsored by New Mexico’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.  NM EPSCoR is funded by the National Science Foundation, and this year their focus was to research the impacts of climate change on Northern New Mexico water resources.
    The Las Conchas Fire broadened their focus to the environmental impacts of wildfire--with water and water quality as an important subtext.  The Whitewater-Baldy Complex wildfire gave the meeting added urgency.

  • Big moments in dull election

    SANTA FE —  About the only exciting results of New Mexico’s primary elections were the 1st Congressional District Democratic race and a GOP state Senate race in the northeastern part of the state. None of the statewide races were nailbiters.
     Of course, there weren’t many statewide races. New Mexico saves those for non-presidential years. The lack of much excitement kept voter participation down in the low 20-percent range.
    Albuquerque provided a classic congressional thriller for Democrats. State Sen. Eric Griego was the early leader and appeared to have the nomination locked up with many union and environmental endorsements and donations.

  • Deference to doting dads

    A day of recognition.  A day of relaxation. A day of spilt lighter fluids, burnt fingers, steaks charred beyond recognition, and ubiquitous outdoor cursing.  Yes, it’s that time of the year again.  Father’s Day is nearly upon us.
      Its history is often debated.  Most references credit Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington, for the inception of Father’s Day. Having been raised by her father, she decided that fathers should have a day of celebration just like mothers.  The idea was quickly encouraged by lobbying charcoal and grill companies and the first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910.  

  • What is LAGRI really rebelling against?

    In the movie “The Wild One”, a teen malcontent played by Marlon Brando is asked, “Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?” and he replies “Whaddaya got?”

  • Workers' comp with a wrinkle

    The Workers’ Compensation Administration is suggesting yet another attempt to change the statutory language relating to workers who get injured while using drugs or alcohol.  Meanwhile, the workers’ compensation community is more and more concerned about workers who get addicted to drugs as a result of their injuries.