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Today's Opinions

  • Bernie Sanders’ appeal has America puzzled

    BY MARVIN FOLKERTSMA
    Center for Visions and Values

  • 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.

  • Letter to the editor 10-4-15

    30th-Annual Heart Council Health Fair a success

    The 30th-annual Los Alamos Heart Council Health Fair, held at Griffith Gymnasium on Sept. 26 was a tremendous success! We had over 2,000 attendees. There were more than 70 exhibitors representing a wide range of health-related organizations from Los Alamos and surrounding communities. A total of some 800 flu shots were given and hundreds of blood draws were done, as well as many other health screenings. With this year’s emphasis on children and families, hundreds more parents and children attended than ever before. More than 150 free bike helmets were given out at the fair and, in a new program, an additional 60 helmets will be given directly to elementary and pre-schools in Los Alamos. Hundreds of free children’s backpacks we given out, as well.

  • Memorizing lessons isn’t rigor – it’s rigor mortis

    Like any professional discipline, the academic arena is littered with educational jargon.
     Today, an effective teacher must exemplify intersegmental critical-thinking, recontextualize synergistic concept-maps, and benchmark technology-infused pedogogical schemas.
     Personally, I don’t mind jargon. but there is one word that seems to be more abused than any other.  Rigor.
     Educational rigor involves the creation of a focused coherent learning environment that fosters critical thinking, encourages mastery of the material, and challenges students to help them build a sense of accomplishment.
     In short, rigor raises the bar, preparing students for moving on to more advanced topics and applications.
     There is little applicable training to guide teachers how to establish and nurture rigor in the classroom. Consequently, teachers strongly disagree regarding what constitutes “rigor.”
     In math classes, “rigor” is often tossed like a didactic grenade, purposely confusing students with needlessly difficult problems. Teachers expect students to memorize long lists of complex formulas and to work out problems with large or complicated looking numbers.

  • The Pope, climate change and VW

    BY MARITA NOON
    Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, Inc.

  • Letter to the editor 10-2-15

    Historical Museum receives outpouring of community support after theft

    By now many of your readers may know that a theft occurred at the Los Alamos Historical Museum on Sept. 25. The good news is no one was hurt and no objects were taken from the museum. However, we did have a beautifully crafted, wooden donation box – made by one of our volunteers – which was torn apart, and the cash donations inside were stolen.
    The theft received a significant amount of attention on social media over the weekend, and the response from the community, both far and near, has been tremendous. We have received donations through our website from as far away as Texas and Montana, and a number of people came into the museum on Saturday to give special donations.
    The Los Alamos Historical Museum belongs to the community. Admission is free, and we rely on donations to support our operations. The outpouring of support has been encouraging and inspiring. It reminds us, once again, why this is the best little community on the planet. We love being your museum!

    Sincerely and with gratitude,
    Heather McClenahan
    Executive Director
    Los Alamos Historical Society
     

  • John Boehner, behind the tears

    WASHINGTON — The “regular guy with a big job” has seemed at the center of palace intrigue forever, a man to shake things up in the old days, to be plotted against on and off ever since.
    There was nothing regular about John Boehner’s rise and fall and rise and fall in the House, nothing constant except that tan and the smoke-filled rooms wherever he was allowed to light up.
    Boehner’s announced exit as House speaker and from Congress altogether caps a political career that began as the head of a homeowners association in an Ohio neighborhood and made him second in line to the presidency.
    A firm opponent of abortion rights, he was essentially undone by disaffection from conservatives who want to push an anti-abortion struggle over Planned Parenthood financing to the point of closing the government, a step too far for him. He was once one of the agitators – a member of the Newt Gingrich Gang of Seven who seized the Republican congressional agenda, then the reins of House power, in the 1990s. He was ultimately undone by tea partyers and other conservatives he’d kept in line as speaker for nearly five years – barely, and at a cost.

  • Pope’s visit reveals political battle lines

    While papal visits to the United States are increasingly common, what is uncommon is to see political-ideological battle lines drawn around a pope. The tendency this time is especially acute among liberals, who eagerly frame Francis as one of them – a categorization Francis has resisted. “I’m sure that I haven’t said anything more than what’s written in the social doctrine of the Church,” he said as his plane approached U.S. soil.
    To some degree, liberals are certainly justified in linking Pope Francis to many of their concerns – climate change, wealth redistribution, poverty. And even many conservatives seem to concede this pope to the political left. In truth, however, both sides lack a full picture.
    To illustrate the point, I’ll focus on the subject area that brings Pope Francis here to America to begin with: a major international Catholic Church synod on family and marriage.
    Though Francis is absolutely forgiving and charitable and merciful, including to homosexuals, when it comes to marriage and family, this pope has been unflinchingly orthodox in support of historic Church teaching. Some of his language has been even stronger than his predecessors. The extent to which that is true is at times shocking. Here are just a few examples: