Today's Opinions

  • Closing the educational gap

    Statistical studies claim that extracurricular activities in school promote a higher rate of academic success.
    One study showed that 30.6 percent of students who participated in extracurricular activities earned a GPA of 3.0 or greater compared to 10.8 percent for students who did not participate.
    Keep in mind, though, that 87.14 percent of all statistics are purely fabricated, especially those that are presented with decimal points.
    Statistics aside, it’s just common sense that out-of-class activities promote both mental and physical health.
    Extracurricular activities help reduce behavior problems. In sports, students learn discipline and planning skills. Clubs and community organizations teach them responsibility and social inclusion.
    Students involved in activities gain higher self-esteem, more confidence and learn valuable interaction skills.
    And of course, there is a correlation between club involvement and higher academic performance. The creation of clubs and promotion of sports helps the students, helps the schools, and helps the community. It’s a win for everyone!
    But perhaps the most important benefit is it’s fun! Sometimes “fun” is more than enough reason!
    Being a teacher, I don’t want to downplay the importance of classroom studies.

  • Letters to the editor 8-5-15

    Two sides to oil story

    Marita Noon doesn’t refer to the advantages of forbidding exports of American oil.
    Aside from enhancing national security, it keeps oil prices down here, which is good for the American consumer, however difficult for oil companies.
    Since refined products may be exported, it also increases American industrial jobs by supporting keeping and building American refineries.
    Whether or not these considerations override supporting Canadian and minimizing Iranian oil exports, “you can judge for yourself.” But one should at least be honest about the various sides to the discussion.

    Terry Goldman
    Los Alamos

    Flat roofs will eventually leak

    I can’t understand why the county feels a need to keep trying to find a flat roof that doesn’t leak.
    Our house was built with a pitched roof in 1970 by Home Planning.  The original roof has been replaced twice. They have never leaked.
    I have never been to college, but I know that the county needs to stop building libraries with flat roofs.

    Camille Morrison
    White Rock

    Saturday delivery for Sunday paper?

  • Uber could upgrade their workers’ safety net for pennies

    I have a love-hate relationship with ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.
    I love the convenience and level of service that traditional taxis don’t offer. But I hate what they portend for the future of work with their rapidly expanding business model that pretends regular workers are franchisees.
    For one thing, casting employees as entrepreneurs offloads risks, along with the security and benefits that a traditional job used to offer.
    Workers toiling in the so-called sharing economy get no paid vacation or sick leave, no company match for a 401(k) retirement plan and no employer-paid health insurance. They may benefit from greater flexibility that they need for family obligations or even some fun, but these folks are missing out on big swaths of the safety net.
    What’s more, the CEOs and investors who are driving this share of our economy can get pretty stingy when it comes to sharing the profits with those who made those profits possible.

  • Santa Fe GOP bans Trump piñatas

    I’d like to meet Ignacio Padilla one of these days.
    Padilla is the fellow who recently got booted from his post as treasurer of the Santa Fe County Republican Party for having invited folks around the local plaza to whack away at a piñata fashioned to look like the “Great Bloviator,” Donald Trump.
    What it tells us about a sizeable bloc of rank-and-file Republican voters I shudder to think, but as these lines are written a goodly number of usually reliable polls indicate Trump to be leading the race for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.
    Yet, since announcing his bid for the Republican nomination over a month ago, the billionaire real estate mogul has systematically set himself to the task of alienating first one and then another segment of the American electorate with an abandon that takes the breath away.
    His rivals for the nomination he alternately scorns as “idiots,” “weak,” “incompetent,” “jackasses.”
    Mexican immigrants, including naturalized citizens, “bring us drugs and crime. They’re rapists,” he raged, before going on to malign the military service of John McCain, who spent five years interred as a POW in Vietnam.

  • Illumination is risky

    Light in living rooms is an ancient and basic need.
    Yet, filling this need reflects the long and shifting trials of society, business and the environment.
    In times past, cave dwellers filled their rooms with wood smoke. Today’s fluorescent light bulbs utilize mercury.
    The story line from then to now is a mini-history of the human race.
    The oil lamp, teaching of smoke and smells, was a new thing in 4500 BC. By 3000 BC, the candle was the latest and best.
    Candles use consumable wicks to control the rate that fuel is burned and thus control how much light is produced and for how long. Candles even tell time.
    As seen in many fields down through history, inventions in lighting came at a quickening pace. Is this effect driven by world population?
    A larger population brings with it more inventors and more demands for products. The world population in 4500 BC is estimated at six million, roughly like today’s Dallas-Fort Worth. By 1800, world population was near one billion.
    For more than 5,000 years, living rooms were lit by improved designs and better fuels for lamps, candles and fireplaces.
    We pick up the story again in early America, in the bloom of revolution.

  • Obama approach: Iranian oil, good; Canadian oil, bad; American oil, bad

    President Barack Obama’s confusing approach to energy encourages our enemies who shout “Death to America” as it penalizes our closest allies and even our own job creators.
    Iran’s participation in the nuclear negotiations netted a deal that allows it to resume oil exports. International sanctions have, since 2011, cut Iran’s oil exports in half and severely damaged its economy. Iran currently has about 50 million barrels of oil in storage on 28 tankers at sea.
    It is believed that it will take Iran months to bring its production back up to pre-sanction levels. The millions of barrels of oil parked offshore are indicative of their eagerness to increase exports. Once the sanctions disappear — if Congress approves the terms of the deal, Iran wants to be ready to move its oil.
    On July 17, the Financial Times (FT) reported: “The departure of a giant Iranian supertanker from the flotilla of vessels storing oil off the country’s coast has triggered speculation Tehran is moving to ramp up its crude exports.” The Starla, “a 2 million barrel vessel,” set sail — moving the oil closer to customers in Asia.

  • Comprehensive plan needed for open space ordinances

    The reason that the Parks and Recreation Board is hearing complaints is that voice and sight control of dogs does not work.
    Revise the animal ordinance to delete Sec. 6-4, and many problems will disappear.
    When one class of people is given more freedom than another, the ordinance does not protect everyone.
    This policy has been the problem since it was created.
    I was appointed as the advisor (non-voting) to the animal ordinance revision committee that created the 2006 ordinance.
    These are my observations of that process: The committee meetings were closed to the public. I was not allowed to lead a public discussion of pet owner responsibilities. The previous ordinance, as well as the last revision, were written by the same person.
    There needs to be real representative membership by a committee of users and experts. As a result of the process, the rules were written to give domestic dogs more freedom (voice and sight control), as well as access to county space with a “trust me” policy inferred.
    I was not in favor of the amended ordinance that designated that privilege (Section 6-4) because it conflicts with Sec. 6-3, which requires leashes for animals off the owner’s property.
    Voice and sight control is not considered a valid means of restraint of dogs in either Santa Fe or Albuquerque.

  • The Atomic Cafe

    Next! What will you have today, sir?
    Well, I’d like the implosion special with a 400 kiloton yield, and an extra shot of tactical uranium, please.
    Very good. And would you like to be fried with that?
    So, this Aug. 6 is the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. How time flies when you’re having cold wars and hot proliferation parties!  Seventy years. What to get as a gift? 25 years is silver and 50 years is golden, so would plutonium be appropriate for 70 years?
    The question asked every year is, “Should we have dropped the bomb?”
    When discussing past wars, people literally go to battle with each other.
    The atomic bomb is of particular interest in our community, for reasons that escape me at the moment. The trouble with debating this issue is that for most people, it’s something they’ve only read about in a book.
    Myself, I still think the Diadochi’s treatment of elephants in the Battle of Ipsus, 301 BC., was inexcusable. I’m still waiting for a formal apology from them!
    World War II began in 1939, lasting six years with 113 countries participating or directly involved. Over 50 million people worldwide were killed.