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Columns

  • Sadness can turn to depression

    As the warmth of Christmas becomes a much too distant memory, and the thaw of Spring hasn’t poked out from the bushes yet, its often a time when a heavy shouldered sadness rears its ugly head.
    For sun lovers like me, a grey blanket of cloud can really get me down. Whether it’s the glow of the sun on the landscape, the warming rays on my face, or fake sun emanating from a light box, there’s nothing like brightness to lift the spirits. So, when I’m deprived of it for weeks on end, I’m one of the first people to get S.A.D., or seasonally affective disorder.

  • Tax system is an absolute mess

    Legislators are generous in passing tax incentives to bring new companies and jobs to the state. And that’s the problem. They have to be.
    “If you’re in business in New Mexico and you’re paying taxes, come to the Legislature and get a tax credit,” said Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, during a debate on one particular credit. “Pretty soon nobody will be paying taxes.”
    Said Sen. Steve Neville, R-Aztec, “If we don’t offer the tax credit, pretty soon we’ll have no businesses.”
    Pass another credit, problem solved. But not really.

  • Child, adolescent medicine

    As fascinating as they are to work with and even just be around, teens remain, in my mind, an enigma.
    It is simply it’s own reward to witness bright, young kids dive into the hormonal soup of puberty and find some way to flounder or swim across, forging unique identities and one day emerging as independent, young adults.
    One of the areas in the life of a teen that draws my attention the most is nutrition.
    Sleep, priority setting, reward-versus-risk behavior and self image are among others, but these can be addressed in future discussions.

  • The beauty of irrationality

    There once was a number called pi.  So special like e and like phi.  The circumference to D is the ratio for me.  And it’s not a multiple of i.”
    You really have to love mathematics to admire the symmetry of math poems.  This particular one is known as a pi-poem, or a piem.  Some people use the word piem to refer to a haiku-like poem of 3 lines with 3 syllables, 1 syllable, and 4 syllables.  Or if you wish, you can simply write a standard haiku about pi and call it a piku.

  • Los Alamos needs a rec center

    After the fire this summer, I thought it would be obvious that spending $5 million for ice rink improvements in a canyon that burns every 11 years would be a bad idea.  However, the project continues to creep forward along with grandiose plans to build a teen center, civic center and improve the golf course (another $35 million combined).  There are many flaws in the current CIP process and my main concern is the failure to address long-term community needs.  I serve on the Parks and Rec board so I will specifically mention recreation needs and also clarify that these opinions are my own.

  • Cuts and opportunity for state

    The recent announcement of job cuts at the Los Alamos labs generated some interesting reactions from New Mexico’s political leaders. By and large, Democrats – even those representing the Los Alamos area – were supportive or understanding, while Gov. Martinez ripped the Obama Administration, calling the cuts a “by-product of the dysfunction in Washington, D.C., and the inability to appropriately prioritize national defense and national security in federal spending decisions.”
    I chalk up these reactions to politics. Democrats don’t want to be seen as bashing the Obama Administration while Gov. Martinez will take any chance she can to do so. But, neither side is really telling the full story.

  • Analyzing parenthood

    I was sweeping my house today.  Since it is not the most mind-bending of tasks I got to thinking.  I started thinking about me as a parent and how I got to be here. OK.  I know HOW I got to be a parent, but the kind of parent that I am.  
     Then I started wondering what makes any of us the kind of parents that we are.  When I am out with my friends who are also parents we talk about parenty stuff.   It seems that long runs lend themselves to certain parenting confessions.
     Like, yeah, I let my kid sleep in my bed.  I gave my kids cereal for dinner last night.  My kids know SpongeBob’s middle name.  Then I think about how my parents parented.  I did not watch TV while eating --  ever.

  • Fiddling seen in tax changes

    Taxes are complicated and difficult, except when they are simple.
    The observation comes in the wake of my annual chat with the tax lady and the end of the legislative session.
    Like most topics, taxes are simple at the big picture, the most general.
    In the tax world, three main areas offer themselves as targets for being taxed: property, sales and income. For income, corporations and people are taxed separately.
    In New Mexico, even at the most general, tax concepts are more complicated. That’s to be expected. Everything seems more complicated here, disrupted by the magic dust of enchantment.

  • Education reform inches along

    When did education become so complicated?
    Legislative hearings on education bills this year were knee deep in data and jargon, some of it borrowed from business: “value-added measures,” “human capital,” “formative observation,” “core competencies.”
    Pity the parent trying to follow these discussions.
    To cut to the chase, there are three overriding conflicts in the debate over education reform. Topping the list is testing. Teachers say they’re saturated with tests and object strenuously to any more because they’re not a reliable measure. The governor and her education staffers think we need more tests. Like them or not, standardized tests are costly, in money and time.

  • Lab needs to be protected

    This week, New Mexico received news that, due to budget cuts, the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is moving forward with a voluntary separation program that seeks to reduce the workforce of the lab by up to 800 employees.
    For nearly 70 years, Los Alamos National Laboratory has contributed to the safety and security of the United States.  Its economic footprint in New Mexico has been significant, contributing in terms of dollars and jobs, both direct and indirect.  LANL contributes more than $2 billion to New Mexico’s economy and its impact can be felt throughout the state and the many local businesses the lab works with.  The vitality of the lab is critical to the economy of our region and news of job cuts at LANL is of great concern.