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Today's Opinions

  • Fight back against Medicare fraud

    The owner of a Houston area ambulance company receives a 97-month prison sentence for submitting $2.4 million in claims to Medicare for services that weren’t necessary and, in some cases, never even provided.
    Two unlicensed medical school graduates each get 72 months behind bars for acting as physicians in a Dallas area house call practice and billing Medicare $2.7 million for home visits and diagnostic tests never performed.
    A Houston man receives an 87-month prison term for recruiting Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, using their personal health information and billing the government for motorized wheelchairs never delivered.
    For too long, the crooks who were behind health care fraud were often one step ahead of law enforcement.
    But that’s finally changing, thanks to better coordination among federal agencies and the introduction of cutting-edge technology, more criminals are being brought to justice.
    The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice now have a task force that targets areas with suspicious Medicare billings.
    The “HEAT Team” crime investigators sift through claims data to identify billing patterns that suggest someone has run afoul of the law.

  • Letters to the Editor 6-5-15

    Voter mandates and pitchforks

    On D-Day, General Dwight D. Eisenhower did not tell his troops that we were going to defeat the National Socialists so that we could cooperate with them. The order Eisenhower gave was to rid the Earth of Adolf Hitler, his band of murderous thugs and everything that they stood for.
    In the November elections, America gave the Republicans a mandate to stop President Barack Obama and the Democrats from wreaking this country and we expect that this carnage be stopped and reversed.
    Republicans now say that they want to cooperate with Obama so that he will move to the middle. Americans don’t want to hear this nonsense because Obama is a leftist who hates our Constitution and deliberately circumvents it.
    Much to our chagrin, GOP House Speaker Boehner and all but 67 House Republicans joined Obama and the Democrats to repeal Section 716 in the Omnibus spending bill. Section 716 was included to prevent government bailout of Wall Street trading losses in speculative credit swap derivatives. Obama knew the contempt voters have for Wall Street bailouts when he told bankers that he was the only thing between them and the pitchforks.

    Robert A. Dahlquist
    Orange, California

  • Who stole my kidney?

    I feel cheated. A friend posted a link on Facebook saying that if I shared the post, Bill Gates would send me $5,000.
     And I never got the money!  Not one cent!
     It›s bad enough that I never got my share of the $14 billion that the Nigerian Governor of Consumer Affairs took out of the country. I was depending on that for my retirement.
    Long before the Internet, urban legends proliferated with the speed of mildew in wet laundry in New Jersey.
    The earliest memory I have of mysterious tales of the unknown was the “amazing associations” made between the assassinations of President Abraham Lincoln and President John F. Kennedy.
    Both were elected to Congress in ‘46.  Both were shot on a Friday. Lincoln was shot in the Ford Theater. Kennedy was shot riding in a Ford Lincoln.
    Clearly, this is no coincidence. It’s a government conspiracy!
    Personally, I think Kennedy was a clone, replaced after his alien abduction. He’s now a Borg and helping Plutonians plan their conquest of Earth.
    OK, if it’s printed, it must be true?
    Ringo Starr admitted that the Beatles did in fact “bury Paul” and that a twin took his place. I’ve also read that this was predicted by Nostradamus.

  • Plastic bags destroying environment

    What the Environmental Sustainability Board is trying to do with this plastic bag ban (green initiative) is to do the right thing as an entity for the collective good of the people.
    This means to reduce, reuse and recycle through the use of greener products, will reduce the amount of waste we make — and impact we have on the environment — and is necessary for a better tomorrow for Los Alamos and the world.
    But when they do this they seek to have community involvement and they got quite what they did not expect with this community.
    We have “fouls” being called. We’ve got people holding to the idea of “consumer choice,” “convenience” and “ease of use.” These are all the labels for not wanting to change and do the right thing.
    Consumerism is eating planet Earth of house and home. There’s a lot of statistics out there...you know about how 80 percent of the nation’s consumptive water use is consumed, 45 percent of all land in the U.S. is used for agriculture, and so on.
    American consumerism could be labeled glutinous. A lack of willingness to use cloth grocery sacks instead of plastic bags could be labeled as laziness. Self-justification could be labeled as “consumer choice” in the name of “not doing the right thing.”

  • Courts add confusion to confusing system

    The workers’ compensation system, we sometimes observe, is a patchwork of contradictory and inconsistent rules that are hard to understand and even harder to live with.
    Our courts don’t make this any easier.
    We were reminded of this recently at the annual conference of the New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Association, where we heard several recitations of the weirdness of workers’ compensation case law.
    One presentation, by attorneys Jim Rawley and Kelly Genova, focused narrowly on issues related to return to work.
    When a worker is recovered from an injury, something is supposed to happen: he goes back to his old job, or he chooses not to go back to the job, or because of his injury he can no longer do the job, or a hundred other possibilities.
    Workers’ compensation is a statutorily micromanaged system. The law is supposed to provide explicit guidance about who is obligated to do what for whom. But reality plays tricks.
    Do you know the TV show, “What Would You Do?” This column is like that game. Read and guess.

  • Many to thank for this year’s Dog Jog

    Despite unseasonably cold and wet weather during the weeks leading up to the Dog Jog, April 25 dawned sunny and calm, allowing hundreds of runners and walkers and their eager dogs to enjoy participating in the 18th Annual Dog Jog. Our new location for pre- and post-race activities at Rover Park was a big hit with humans and canines alike.
    This year’s Dog Jog raised over $14,000 for Friends of the Shelter. Friends of the Shelter (FOS) is a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to abandoned animals and to pets and their owners in northern New Mexico. Our catastrophic care program pays for veterinary care for sick or injured animals that have no owners or whose owners cannot afford the treatment. Our spay/neuter program provides grants to our partner organizations, including the Española Valley Humane Society and the McKinley County Animal Shelter so that they can provide low- or no-cost spay/neuter services to their clients. FOS also encourages responsible pet ownership and promotes adoption of shelter animals through education and outreach.

  • Letters to the editor 6-3-15

    Why the open forum do-over?

    I was very disappointed to see that the open forum on the plastic bag ban was reopened this week.  When I asked the Environmental Sustainability Board’s staff liaison, “Why?”
    She told me, “to give more people a chance to answer.”
    I am calling foul on this.  The original survey was open for four weeks and had over 400 on forum responses — which is more than any other open forum survey results. The open forum survey was also well publicized by local media, as well as by my group, Save the Bag: Los Alamos. I assume that the Sierra Club advertised it among their membership as well.
    If people did not take the opportunity to answer during the original four-week period, they should not get a “do-over.” This action is an attempt by supporters of the plastic bag ban to get results that favor their position. It also makes the Environmental Sustainability Board look biased in support of a bag ban and tax.
    In regard to the results of the original open forum, 80 percent of Los Alamos residents do not favor a ban on lightweight multi-use plastic shopping bags. The comments were also interesting, as well.

  • Wildlife decisions provoke old feuds, trapping is clear

    Cougars and bears: Are they game, predators, varmints, wildlife in need of protection?
    The state Game and Fish Department and the Game Commission are once again in the crosshairs of conservation groups over proposals to control cougar and bear populations.
    The department revisits its plans every four years and suggests it’s time to trim both populations. The public debate has focused on numbers, drought, timing and trapping.
    Like a whirlwind raising dust, the discussion also drags in the old welfare rancher vs. tree-hugger feud. We hear that Game and Fish coddles ranchers and that the commission is a bunch of good-’ol-boy political appointees.
    Let’s dispense with those first.
    If your livelihood depends on livestock, you’ll lean on the department for protective measures. And the commission has always been political. Gov. Bill Richardson caught flak for appointing campaign donors to the commission, and he certainly wasn’t the first.
    This same commission in 2013 accepted the resignation of department director Jim Lane, a Kentuckian with no interest in biology, who would have painted a bullseye on the side of every predator in the state.
    So ranchers and conservationists aren’t going to agree. But there are some troubling aspects of this debate.