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Today's Opinions

  • Letters to the editor 8-17-15

    Clean up LAHS — Do it for Bill

    On Thursday, the retired teachers of Los Alamos Schools had their annual Not Back-To-School breakfast. Everybody was talking about Bill Hudson and writing notes to him … the guy who became such an icon of Los Alamos.
    After our breakfast I visited Bill Hudson and I am delighted to report that he is out of the hospital and at his home. He is telling jokes and laughing at other’s feeble attempts at jocularity. He is resting comfortably and his mind is sharp. He is living abundantly each day and he missed not being at the retired teachers’ breakfast. He is planning on attending the next one in August 2016! I promised him that I will pick him up and take him.
    With the candor that he and I shared for two score and three years — I asked him about his dedication to the community of Los Alamos if there is some unfinished project that I could help with.
    Bill asked me to write a letter to the editor and ask that the high school students would pick up trash on the grounds of Los Alamos High School.
    I beg the faculty, staff and students and all the good people of Los Alamos to do that for the “Old Jock,” so that next year at the School Retirees’ Breakfast we can show Bill, Los Alamos listens when Bill talks!

    Pete Jandacek

  • Is Obama to blame for weak economic growth?

    A political science colleague sent me an article documenting President Barack Obama’s dismal economic record, and he asked me for added details and perspective. Here it goes:
    True, economic growth under Obama has been sluggish, fitful, faltering, historically weak, etc.
    However, if you look at the charts in the article — especially the second and third — you can see that United States economic growth has been trending downward for several decades. Conclusion: Our economic woes did not begin with Barack Obama.
    However, he has done nothing to reverse the trend. On the contrary, he has doubled down on the very policies that have hampered economic growth.
    The headwinds opposing economic growth are generated by what Ronald Reagan referred to as “the government disease.” No president has advocated, championed, and imposed more harmful government intervention than Barack Obama.
    Here’s a short list of those interventions:

  • Thanks for attending basketball skills camp

     

    On behalf of the Alex Kirk Foundation, we would like to thank all the young basketball players and parents that came to our camp at Griffith Gym on Aug. 5-6.
    Los Alamos High School coach Mike Kluk and his staff did a great job in providing coaching support for the participants.
    The Zia Credit Union was a valued partner and sponsor for the camp providing backpacks for the players. It was a surprise to see Jamal Fenton Lobo point guard who lives in Houston stop by and work with the kids.
    As a result of the funds raised, I was able to provide a donation to the LAHS basketball programs.
    Thanks again for all the participation and support with our first Alex Kirk Basketball Skills Camp and we look forward to working with the youth in Los Alamos in the future.
    Alex Kirk
    Los Alamos

  • Federal programs can help beekeepers build habitats, create products

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture has lots of resources for New Mexicans who keep bees for profit, as well as those who have lost hives to colony collapse.
    The federal programs aren’t designed for hobbyists who want to help a critical species, but even small-scale beekeeping operations can qualify for assistance building and protecting their businesses. Terry Brunner, state director of USDA Rural Development, urged beekeepers to research the following programs:
    Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP): Because bees play an essential role in crop production, the Natural Resources Conservation Service is helping large- and small-scale farmers restore and maintain croplands to support native bee populations. Landowners who plant crops that provide diverse food sources for native pollinators might be eligible for financial and technical assistance through EQIP, including site visits by NRCS technicians to ensure a proper mix of plants for optimal bee forage and habitat.

  • Agriculture's role in state economy, culture and water cycle

    National Farmers Market Week got me thinking about the economic and cultural importance of not just the state’s 75 farmers markets, but of New Mexico agriculture more broadly.
    On the economics side, New Mexico agriculture is a $4 billion per year sector. But the true financial impact of agriculture in the state is much bigger.
    That number is a measure of the value of agricultural commodities at the farm or ranch: things like live cattle, raw milk and unprocessed wheat. Turning those commodities into the products that most people no longer make for themselves — such as when milk gets turned into cheese, and when wheat gets turned into flour — adds several billion dollars more to the system.
    In fact, researchers at New Mexico State University recently estimated that agriculture and food processing, combined “accounted for $10.6 billion (roughly 12.3 percent) of New Mexico’s $86.5 billion gross state product (GSP) in 2012. In addition, the two industries directly created 32,578 jobs and 18,308 jobs in related support activities for a total of 50,886 jobs statewide.”
    Interested readers can learn more by reading NMSU Cooperative Extension Service Circular 675, entitled “Agriculture’s Contribution to New Mexico’s Economy.”

  • To tell you the truth, I’m lying

    The saying goes that ignorance is bliss. Looking at the world today, there must be a lot of happy people out there.
    I must admit though that I’ve been very bliss at times. It’s far more comfortable being bliss than spending all those calories trying to know what’s what.
    But what’s what is what I’d like to discuss today. Not what is what per se, but more of why anyone wants to know what it is.
    What what is, that is.
    What I’m asking is, what is truth? How do we know what’s true and what’s not true?
    When studying mathematics, I found myself enjoying an atmosphere devoid of any desire to debate the meaning of truth. Math sets the rules very crisply and truth is simply validity of logic.
    Math is not constrained by the limits of reality, which bestows an enormous advantage in mathematics when making truthful claims. For example, I can assert that one plus one equals two on the surface of Neptune.
    This is true, mathematically speaking, because we say so! (You have to love axiomatic logic).
    But a scientist is constrained to observable and reproducible results and hence cannot prove the same statement without actually going to Neptune and checking it out. Maybe rocks don’t know how to add on Neptune and one rock added to another would result in seven rocks.

  • Government expands with autocycle regulations

    Part 2 of 2

  • Helping disadvantaged children catch up

    While New Mexico’s children were out of school for summer vacation, some of them were forgetting what they learned last year.
    When they return to school, they will be further behind their peers.
    Children who lose ground, the studies say, are those who can least afford to slip behind.
    They are the children who are already disadvantaged — identified by poverty and affected by the social ills poverty so often creates.
    They may lose as much as three months’ worth of learning over the summer.
    Think of it this way: middle class children with educated parents get twice as much education as disadvantaged children. They are exposed to learning at home, from their families and their environment. They see books, magazines and computers. Their parents talk to them, expanding their vocabulary.
    One in-depth study recorded thousands of hours of conversation between parents and their children and counted words.
    The study found upper income families used 2,153 words every hour; middle-income families used 1,251 words; and welfare-recipient families used just 616.
    An upper income child at age 4 has been exposed to 30 million more words than a disadvantaged child.