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Today's Opinions

  • EPA’s carbon pollution rules good for business, economy

    Some national business organizations have hammered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for proposing new rules on carbon pollution from existing power plants, cutting carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030, using 2005 levels as a baseline. What planet are they on?
    It’s ludicrous to pretend that climate change isn’t happening, or that it won’t affect every industry. It’s beyond comprehension that large business advocacy organizations, including the United States Chamber of Commerce, think that our government should stand by and do nothing, while climate-related disasters in 2012 caused more than $139 billion in damages, while U.S. taxpayers shelled out $96 billion in climate-related damages in 2012 alone, or while sea levels rise 6.6 feet by 2100 — enough to swamp Miami.
    Let’s be clear: the costs from carbon pollution will be terrible for business. Climate change poses tremendous risks — insurance premiums will skyrocket, electricity prices will soar, jobs will be lost, food and transportation costs will dramatically rise and taxes will likely increase in order to pay for needed infrastructure upgrades.

  • We are rut, so fight we musth

    Musth is a period in which adult elephants experience “testosterone overload,” inducing extreme levels of agitation, violent tendencies and rogue behavior. During musth, elephants discharge a thick tar-like substance called temporin, a warning sign that the elephant may charge in a dangerous frenzy with no apparent provocation at all.
    For male moose and elk, this testo-explosion is called “rut,” during which the animals fight with each other.
    And that urge to fight is simply uncontrollable. Elephants will charge almost anyone or anything in a seemingly mindless state of enraged fury. Moose in rut go head-to-head with each other (literally) in an attempt to demonstrate who is the superior male.
    It’s a macho-fest of the animal world, where “kill or be killed” is replaced with “kill and impress the girls!”
    The etymology of musth is very apropos. The word derives from the Persian “mast” meaning “intoxicated.” When raging in a manic killing craze, an animal exhibits the same level of judgment one might expect from someone who has ingested a dozen glasses of rum and coke (minus the coke).

  • Pet Talk: Be aware of benign tumors in dogs

    The discovery of a fatty tumor underneath your pet’s skin can be disconcerting to any pet owner. Luckily, the most common fatty tumors, lipomas, are benign and usually not cause for concern.
    “Lipomas are common tumors of dogs, and although the gross appearance and texture of these tumors is characteristic, they are benign tumors in most cases,” said Dr. Rita Ho, veterinary intern instructor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.
    Most lipomas feel fairly soft and movable under the skin and do not usually typically make pets uncomfortable unless they are in a location where normal movement is disrupted. Once your pet develops a lipoma, it is common for additional tumors to appear. If this does occur, each tumor should be checked individually.
    “Dogs can form lipomas under any conditions, even if the dog is in good body condition,” said Dr. Ho. “It is not related to any known cause or environmental factor.”

  • New online tool helps manufacturers measure up against world-class standards

     

    Manufacturing businesses that want to know how their performance stacks up against industry standards have a new tool to make that measurement — and it’s available at no cost.

    The Manufacturing Performance Institute, in conjunction with the American Small Manufacturers Coalition and the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership, created the Next Generation Manufacturing Assessment Tool after surveying thousands of United States manufacturers in 2009, 2011 and 2013. 

    The biennial survey asks manufacturers what strategic benchmarks they use to measure their efficiency and effectiveness in six critical areas: human resources, supply-chain management, sustainability, process improvement, innovation and global engagement. The tool based on this survey allows manufacturers of all kinds to see how they compare with world-class industry practices and standards by comparing their responses to those of thousands of other top manufacturers. 

  • Tasks to survive back-to-school

     

    Parents, if this is your first time at the back-to-school rodeo, let me share a few lessons my wife and I have learned the hard way. Chances are you’ll be spending the next few weeks filling out piles of pre-enrollment paperwork, lining up carpools and, of course, taking the dreaded shopping excursions for clothes and school supplies.

    If you’re a first-timer or simply need a back-to-school refresher course, here are a few suggestions that can help you save time, money and sanity:

    Get organized. Maintain a correspondence file from your kid’s school for things like registration requirements, report cards, permission slips, required vaccinations, school policies, teacher and parent contact information, etc. Ask whether the school has a website, online calendar, or email list you can join. Also, create a family master calendar.

  • Celebrate cowboys on Saturday

    Saturday is the fourth annual celebration of National Day of the Cowboy in New Mexico.
    Cowboys have been part of New Mexico history even before it became a state, so it seems very appropriate to honor their past and current contributions. Keeping the western way of life is an important part of our cultural heritage.
    There are 6,800 livestock producing ranches in New Mexico and with the support organizations and services they employ 18,000 people and produce about $2.1 billion in economic activity each year.
    Wear a cowboy hat on Saturday to help recognize and appreciate cowboys and cowgirls. Check out facebook.com/dayofthecowboynewmexico for details on celebrations in northern New Mexico.
    Richard Beal
    Santa Fe 

  • Expression of alternative viewpoints

    I would like to share a dangerous concept known as “groupthink” with the citizens of Los Alamos. I will start out by thanking all of the teachers at Los Alamos High School who helped me develop my reading comprehension and critical thinking skills.
    Recently, I noticed a social media group in Los Alamos, dedicated to fostering hometown businesses in Los Alamos County, was openly promoting “Smith’s Marketplace.” This seemed odd to me because Smith’s Marketplace is a subsidiary of “The Kroger Co.” “The Kroger Co.” is “one of the world’s largest grocery retailers with fiscal sales of $98.4 billion.”
    Upon bringing this fact to the attention of the group, I was quickly dismissed as being a “negative commentator” and involuntarily removed.

  • The 'Walmart effect' on Main Street

    Smith’s Marketplace offers a beautiful place for “one-stop” shopping. Enjoy any meal and a delicious selection of chocolate, ice cream and cake for dessert. Afterwards, shop from an impressive selection of organic foods, clothes, toys, pet supplies, electronics and household goods. Keep people from driving to Santa Fe? How about keep people from driving down to our local restaurants, CB Fox, Metzgers, Pet Pangaea, Radio Shack and the Los Alamos Co-op Market? This will be the “Walmart effect” on Main Street.
    Studies show that when Walmart moves in, small businesses close their doors, unable to compete with big retail’s buying power. Within two years of Walmart’s opening its doors, 82 local stores went out of business. Mom and Pop stores experience a 10 to 40 percent decline in sales after a Walmart opens and businesses within one mile of a Walmart Supercenter have a 25 percent chance of shutting down in the first year, a 40 percent chance by the second year.