Today's Opinions

  • Tethered to technology — escaping the IT trap

    Visions and Values

  • GOP is party desperately in search of a leader

    AP White House Correspondent

  • Mentally ill need more resources

    Oh, those inconvenient people – the mentally ill. They fill our jails, they scare their neighbors, they drive their families crazy and sometimes bankrupt, and once in awhile they kill somebody, or become involved in a disturbance in which the police kill them.
    The upcoming legislative session will probably revisit the painful issue of how to deal with mentally ill people who pose a real or potential threat.
    Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry recently spoke in support of a bill that almost made it though the session this year.
    As last amended during the 2015 regular session, Senate Bill 53, by Sen. Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces, was intended to give the legal system a broader range of choices for dealing with mentally ill people who come to the system’s attention. Berry said it’s expected again in 2016.   
    The bill is similar to “Kendra’s Law,” first enacted in New York. That law resulted from an incident in which a schizophrenic man pushed a woman in front of an oncoming subway train.  It allows a judge to require a mentally ill person who meets certain criteria to undergo treatment, including medication, for up to a year.
    The title of the bill is “Assisted Outpatient Treatment.” What does that mean?  

  • Key to markets are keys to regulation

    Stick your nose into a crevice in the bark of a big old ponderosa pine. The smell of vanilla sweetens your senses. Some call it butterscotch, but the best noses say vanilla.
    How can a ponderosa, a species that taught respect for turpentine, surprise with the fragrance of vanilla? The story is absurd, until you put your nose in the bark.  
    We leap now to the Digital Age.  
    Information is often acclaimed as the sweet driver of market efficiency and the currency of efficient regulation. That is, information is a regulator of markets of its own accord. The more informed the trading, the wider the interests served by markets.    
    No doubt it costs time, and thus money, to hand over details on the quality of a product, or, say, factory emissions.
    Just as surely, the details allow more informed choices in the marketplace, which quicken the blessings of market efficiency. The very meaning of efficient market is one driven by widespread information.  
    The Information Age spreads data far and fast. Much the way that better data are key to market efficiency, we begin to see that better, faster data at less cost also make regulation more efficient.
    Looking further, supplying better and faster regulatory tools is itself a new market.

  • Cybersecurity, video analytics deals among LANL moves

    Technologies wander from our national laboratories and become companies employing people. But in the view of David Pesiri and his bosses at Los Alamos National Laboratories, far too few have wandered from the laboratory and, of those, far too many have escaped New Mexico.
    One wanderer, Decision Sciences International Corp. of Poway, Calif., near San Diego, was briefly mentioned by The Economist in an article headlined, “The Nuke Detectives.” The firm’s “revolutionary and disruptive technology, originally invented” by LANL physicists, scans for contraband including nuclear threats.  
    David Pesiri is changing things. Pesiri, a chemist with 21 publications under his belt, leads LANL’s Richard P. Feynman Center for Innovation.
    “As a model, ‘technology transfer’ is dead,” Pesiri told the New Mexico Industrial Development Executives Association at IDEA’s September meeting in Los Alamos. The old passive sounding model had something to do with LANL getting patents and posting notices about the patents.
    Last year Pesiri wrote about the new way for Innovation magazine.

  • Reclamation award shows range of ways to heal land

    Ernie Casias stood beside a clear cylinder that was tumbling sand mixed with foam. Not just any foam – engineered foam. “It’s like mixing shaving cream and sand,” he explained.
    Engineered foam and cellular concrete are just two materials used in reclamation of abandoned mines and other disturbed lands.
    Exhibitors at the annual conference of the National Association of Abandoned Mine Lands Programs, meeting last week in Santa Fe, displayed such a range of expertise and products, I wished everyone could see it because it might change the conversation about development of all kinds.
    Images of the leaking Gold King mine and other eyesores come readily to mind, but most people don’t realize how sophisticated environmental science has become. Regulations play a role, but it’s become an arena for entrepreneurs with new ideas for reclaiming a construction site, a tailings pile or a drill pad.
    Casias represents ConDeck Corp. of Albuquerque, which uses a process developed by Aerix Industries, of Colorado, to make lightweight “cellular concrete.” Imagine mixing ugly mine tailings with foamy concrete and pumping the stuff back in a mine as fill or support.

  • Talk of carnivals and clowns

    Pity the folks whose jobs require them to make sense of lunacy. The media in all their forms are overrun with it, and it is pulverizing that which passes for political discourse today.
    As last week came to a close, the Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and his hard-right GOP cohorts in Congress were threatening another of their federal government shutdowns if funding for Planned Parenthood is not stripped from a stop-gap budget bill that had to be passed if a shutdown was to be avoided come Oct. 1.
    It was chaos, with widespread talk among House Republicans that Boehner’s hold on the speakership itself was hanging in the balance if the far-righters in his caucus didn’t get their way on this one.
    So Boehner just up and resigned.   
    The situation became so worrisome that New Mexico Democratic Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham dispatched a communique to her constituents reminding them that “80 percent of the women who rely on Planned Parenthood are low-income.”
    “We should be working to protect the most vulnerable amongst us, not taking away their health care,” she added.

  • Bernie Sanders’ appeal has America puzzled

    Center for Visions and Values