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Today's Opinions

  • Dogs and chocolate are a bad combination

    The Halloween season brings with it much amusement and excitement, and one anticipated tradition is the variety of chocolate you have an excuse to enjoy. While all of these Halloween treats may only bring your children a sugar rush and a tummy ache, it can do much more serious damage to your pets.
    “Chocolate and caffeine belong to a group of plant molecules called methylated xanthine alkaloids, which are commonly found in a variety of foods, drinks and medications,” said Dr. Medora Pashmakova, clinical assistant professor in Emergency/Critical Care Medicine at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
    “As stimulants, they cause excitation of the central nervous system, heart rate, and respiratory centers of the brain and can also stimulate the body’s own secretion of adrenaline. And, when in the form of candy and chocolate bars, they taste delicious, which is why dogs love to eat them in such large quantities!”
    As a rule of thumb, the higher the cocoa concentration, the more theobromine, which is the active ingredient that is toxic in high doses. Baker’s chocolate, for example, can be particularly concerning, while white chocolate contains no cocoa and is not actually toxic to dogs.

  • ISIS, Ebola and Elvis Presley

    “Wise men say, only fools rush in.” To tell you the truth, I’ve always been annoyed by that song. Elvis Presley slurs it so much that I had to look up the lyrics to figure out what he was whining about.
    Yes, angels fear to tread rock and roll!
    Fear is an interesting commodity. It refuses to adhere to well-founded economic principles of supply and demand.
    When the supply of fear is readily available (and it always is), the price goes up, not down. Likewise, people fear to fear, so no one really wants it. And yet with virtually no demand for it, the price continues to skyrocket.
    So as another election looms in the near future, we have to wonder where all this fear is coming from. Why the sudden onslaught of fear for sale?
    Christian Nestell Bovee said it best (without using the word “moronic,” which definitely proves we’re not related). “We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.”
    It’s the same old story. We fear what we don’t understand, and we hate what we fear. We fear fear and spiral into a never-ending cycle of panic and dread.
    Let’s take a look at the tsunami of fear drenching us in the news these days.

  • Ignorance, disinformation cloud candidates' debate over New Mexico economy

    Last week, we talked about job-creation promises of the 2010 gubernatorial race. Today, let’s look at the current campaign rhetoric. Republican Susana Martinez has upped her game, but fills her policy position with disinformation. And Gary King, her Democratic opponent? The dog ate his homework.
    In speeches, King touts an increased minimum wage and pooh-poohs the 2013 tax compromise package.
    Raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do because every working person deserves a wage he or she can live on. But it’s not economic development. Democrats subscribe to this tooth-fairy idea that an increased minimum wage will magically stimulate the economy, but studies are inconclusive.
    The 2013 tax compromise that King doesn’t like is the one thing the administration and lawmakers have done that will actually make a difference.
    On his campaign website, King says he would change the criteria for state (State Investment Council) investments in local businesses. He complains that the state has invested in too many failed businesses. Does he not understand that startup companies are by nature riskier?

  • One-sided story on solar power

    I found Los Alamos Monitor’s story on solar power systems somewhat one-sided. While much emphasis was placed on the issues the Department of Public Utilities has with grid based solar power systems, little attention was paid to the customer’s perspective.
    I first started thinking seriously about a solar power system for our home when a few years ago, the power frequently failed in our neighborhood because of problems associated with the Department of Public Utilities aging infrastructure.
    At the time, I considered a grid-based solar photovoltaic (PV) system, but they weren’t quite cost effective at that time. That has all changed in the last few years and as a result, I recently installed one.
    Current PV systems have guaranteed lifetimes in excess of 20 years and payouts in less than half that time. The growth in installed grid based PV systems has been exponential over the last several years, and for good reason, they reduce the cost of electricity to customers.
    There is also a certain satisfaction in generating one’s own electricity with a PV system. Besides saving money, it is a small step towards a greener planet and it also creates that feeling of independence that we Americans love.

  • Barking dog ordinance is being ignored

    We extend our support and sympathy to those individuals and families who are frustrated with the difficulty of enforcing the nuisance dog barking ordinance and the lack of sensitivity and cooperation on the part of dog owners who continue to allow their dogs to bark and annoy others.
    We know it can be a lonely battle. It’s one we’ve been fighting for more than four years with considerable, but not total, success. The responses we have received from dog owners have run the gamut from sincere apologies accompanied by homemade muffins and an immediate trip to Albuquerque to get barking collars to complete denial, rude dismissals and accusations of harassment. One owner has even suggested that since we are so bothered, it must be our own fault.
    A 30-minute allowable time limit for barking is ridiculous. If one waits 30 minutes after a dog begins barking before calling Animal Control and it takes them an hour to get there because they are busy doing something else, then they have to personally witness the barking for yet another 30 minutes, that means two hours have gone by while neighbors are subjected to this incredibly annoying noise. We have no complaint against the law enforcement officials except that they do not seem to enforce the citation part of the policy consistently.

  • Weh gets a present of 30,000 cancelled health care policies

    Allen Weh got 30,000 presents the other day from President Barack Obama. Weh is the Republican candidate for the United States Senate, trying to unseat incumbent Tom Udall. Weh is given no chance by the experts.
    Remember the president’s oft-repeated claim about the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”
    The presents were the 30,000 New Mexicans who got a notice that their plans will end Jan. 1, 2015, because of not meeting health act requirements. Most are now with Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico with the rest covered by Presbyterian Health Plan. I assume the lucky group chose their current plan for a variety of individual reasons as opposed to government mandate.
    While Weh has generally attacked Udall’s support of the health care act, the 30,000 sounds like a present to me because they are real people hurt by the lie of the claim about keeping “your plan.” Effective candidates are supposed to talk about things that touch real people. The 30,000 bring the health care act’s troubles into the real world of individual New Mexicans.
    Finding some of those 30,000 and putting them in ads seems an obvious way bring the Obamacare effect home to New Mexicans. Of course, I’m hardly a campaign strategy rocket scientist.

  • In defense to say no to charter amendment

    I would like to lend my voice to that of Anthony Amsden, John Arrowsmith, Robert Gibson, Wayne Hardie, Kevin Holsapple, Lawry Mann, Ken Milder, Gil Miranda, Chris Ortega, Felicia Orth, Ralph Phelps, Khal Spencer and others who have urged defeat of Charter Amendment No. 2.
    I served on the 2009 Charter Review committee. In that committee former Utility Board member, Harry Ettinger, and I (a six-term member of the County Council) were asked to review the 1968 charter section on utilities and make any recommendations to the full committee.
    Quoting from our July 25, 2010 report to the full committee “This report considered comments from seven former members of the utility board, two former utility managers, three former county administrators, one former county attorney, three county councilors who had never served on the utility board and four county councilors who had previously served on the utilities board.” The report “recommended that the existing independence of the utility board (in the existing charter) should be maintained.”

  • Utililties Dept. is open and honest

    In the 42 years that I have lived in Los Alamos County, the only department and body that have always been consistently above board, open and honest with the citizens of Los Alamos is the utilities department and the utilities board.
    That’s a lot more than I can say for any of the county councils or their spokesmen.
    Gilbert Miranda
    Los Alamos