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Today's Opinions

  • The ‘New World Disorder’

    Ripples of events in Europe almost a quarter of a century ago reverberate in New Mexico today.
    After the celebrations occasioned by the fall of Berlin’s infamous wall on the evening of Nov. 9, 1989, U.S. and European officials hardly knew what to make of the dramatically altered political landscape that quickly emerged to challenge them.
    Bellicose cold war bombast that had served western politicians so reliably (“Mr. Gorbachev! Tear this wall down!”) was suddenly no longer serviceable and entrenched Eastern European political elites that had governed with iron fists since the end of World War II were on the run.
    Old eastern bloc “defense alliances” dematerialized. The once mighty Soviet Union lost dominion over neighboring polities and started calling itself the “Russian Federation,” where the decrepit communism of yore was transmogrified into corrupt, crony capitalism and yesterday’s commissars were swept aside by new cadres of oligarchs adept at profiting from the resources of the state.
    Proclaiming the Cold War to have been “won,” the first President George Bush hailed the promise of a “New World Order,” thus demonstrating how statesmen can come to rue glib pronouncements.

  • Pet Talk: How to prepare for a furry friend’s death

    For many of us, the connection we share with companion animals extends beyond just friendly company, our pets are considered a part of the family.
    The truly unique love between an owner and their pet is something one has to experience to understand. Although a pet may be a very loved and important family member, it is important to be sensitive and aware of your pet’s needs as they age.
    Sometimes owners are faced with difficult decisions when their pet reaches an age or health condition that no longer allows them to enjoy daily activities. Dr. Sarah Griffin, lecturer at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVM), explains that euthanization is never an easy choice, but in some cases, it may be the best option for your pet.
    “One of my professors in veterinary school told us that she tells clients to pick the pet’s three favorite things,” Griffin said. “When two out of three of those things are gone, it’s time to let them go. Many pets will continue to eat and drink even when they are in pain. Keeping a daily record of good vs. bad days sometimes helps you see the quality of life they are living.
    Some of the emotional struggles owners face when dealing with their pet’s death may be guilt and loneliness.

  • Letter to the editor 6-28-15

    Who in the world is Bernie Sanders?

    Some think of Bernie Sanders as an old curmudgeon with young ideas. He is actually a presidential candidate who promotes ideas like diverting money from war to repairing infrastructure, fair trade rather than free trade, tough action on drug prices, a real minimum wage, help with the cost of education, Medicare for all, paid sick leave and other labor benefits that could help American workers catch up with what their Western European counterparts already enjoy.
    This all sounds like an interesting platform, but whether Bernie can hold his message together during a tough presidential campaign remains to be seen.

    Richard Foster
    Los Alamos

  • Are we a Christian nation?

    It depends upon the definition. Would we be a Christian nation defined by a legislative fiat? No! That is expressly forbidden by our Constitution in the first amendment to it. Lawmakers shall make no law with respect to religion.
    There are 13 countries that do have an official state religion where the church is an integral part of their government. We have no national religion. In fact, one of the reasons the pioneering people who came to America was to escape such a mandated system of beliefs, faith and practices.
    Freedom of religion is a basic right of all citizens under our Constitution with the Bill of Rights. Some protestant colonies, early on, assessed taxes upon their citizens to support their churches, a practice that ceased with adoption of the constitution.
    We are free to believe what we wish without government interference.
    It was the practice of religious faith in Christianity that carried our national forefathers to achieve the basic values and moral courage to write and propose the basic form of government that we have.
    Though those of our countrymen who are not Christian still benefit from those basic tenants that give us the core of our national ethos.

  • Waterloo bicentennial came and went without notice


    Next to a battle lost, the greatest misery is a battle gained.” —Sir Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, June 19, 1815
    The Battle of Waterloo — a series of bloody encounters between French, Anglo-Dutch, and Prussian armies fought over four days — culminated with Napoleon’s final defeat on June 18, 1815.
    It was a major historical event, and yet its bicentennial has come and gone essentially without notice.
    From 1789 until 1815, wars of the French Revolution and the era of Napoleon wrested Europe from the era of “limited warfare” (from 1648 until the French Revolution) into a modern era of enormous bloodletting intensified by the rise of nationalism and the Industrial Revolution. It was a historical perfect storm unleashed in full fury a century later in two global wars.
    The aftermath: the terror-stricken world of today.
    Anglo-Dutch forces under Sir Arthur Wellington suffered 15,000 casualties. Napoleon’s army lost twice that number, including 7,000 captured. England’s Prussian ally suffered 7,000 dead. Napoleon, declared an international outlaw by the Congress of Vienna, finally was consigned to the remote south Atlantic rock of St. Helena, where he died in 1821.

  • Who cries for Aabriel?

    It was June 17, 9:05 p.m. — an insignificant .095 inch diameter metal rod strikes a metal casing. Within minutes, the airwaves and Internet pipes are inundated with the news.
    It was a .45-caliber firing pin and its repeated impact on cartridge casings ensured the deaths of nine parishioners at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.
    Cameras clicked furiously as Governor Nikki Haley “struggled through her tears as she urged communities across the state to come together and heal.”
    Struggled through her tears?
    There is the same miscreant who defended flying the Confederate flag at the Statehouse. (She recently flip-flopped and said, “maybe we should revisit this.”)
    The same Tea Bagger who supported laws allowing citizens to carry firearms without a permit.
    The same hypocrite who boasted her love of guns by posting a Facebook video of her at gun manufacturing plant, shooting at their range, then bragging that she did it in high heels.
    Once again, the nation is immersed in another debate over firearm rights.

  • Which of New Mexico’s tribes will be first to test the marijuana industry?

    When will a New Mexico tribe go to pot?
    It’s likely only a question of time until a New Mexico tribe jumps into the marijuana trade, straining the always delicate relationship between our state and local governments and the “domestic dependent nations” within our borders.
    The federal government set the stage for that conflict last year, when the Department of Justice issued its “guidance” on the cultivation, sale and consumption of marijuana on tribal lands: As long as the business is properly regulated, the feds will keep hands off.
    That opened the door to a lucrative new business opportunity for the tribes at the same time gaming is becoming less profitable.
    Here in New Mexico, the tribal “net win” (the amount wagered in the casinos less the payout to lucky bettors) has declined nearly 4 percent over the past three years.
    Those numbers reflect a long-term nationwide trend. The industry has reached maturity, with little room for additional growth.
    The pot business, in contrast, is just beginning to take off. Reliable national figures are hard to come by, but by one estimate the legal marijuana industry grew by 64 percent last year, to more than $2 billion in revenues.

  • Fix UNM’s gender pay gap

    A report shows a gender pay gap at the University of New Mexico to the tune of an almost $15,000 difference between male and female professors.
    According to data from the Chronicle of Higher Education, during the 2013-2014 academic year, the average full-time female professor at UNM earned a salary of $87,417, while the average, full-time male professor made $99,855 — a difference of $12,438.
    Although the gender pay gap is smaller between men and women in the associate professor and instructor positions, male associate professors still earned approximately $2,300 more per year at the school than their female counterparts.
    Chaouki Abdallah, provost of UNM, said the numbers don’t tell the entire story.
    “The most important reason for male professors (having higher average salaries) is that there are colleges and departments with higher salaries. For example, there are more male engineering professors. The lowest paid professors are where females are a majority such as education or the arts. The other reason is that females may delay careers or promotions because of family. Males will also negotiate for more money and females generally don’t,” he said.