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Today's Opinions

  • The real “mommy wars” are playing out in the workplace

    Take a glance at any contemporary parenting blog, website or social media group and you’ll see the “mommy wars” playing out.
    The battles range from helicopter parenting versus free-range kids to sling versus stroller and cloth versus disposable diaper.
    While the battles (and the guilt that comes with them) are real, they are keeping our attention from the real mommy wars: the abysmal lack of national policies to protect new mothers in the workplace.
    Almost three-quarters of mothers are in the labor force and they are the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of U.S. households. Still, the U.S. is one of the few nations on the globe that does not ensure that new moms have paid maternity leave. In fact, we have no federal policies on paid leave of any kind and our policy on unpaid leave does not protect enough working women.
    This Mother’s Day we need national policies that reflect our nation’s true family values.  
    Every country except the U.S., Suriname and Papua New Guinea provides paid maternity leave according to the World Policy Forum. Even in countries with poor civil rights records, such as Somalia, Iran and North Korea, women get at least some paid maternity leave.
    Women receive 12 weeks in India, 16 weeks in the Netherlands, and almost 70 weeks in Sweden.

  • Taxpayer’s money in the Ballparcc

    It’s easy to annoy teachers.
    Tell them that they’re overpaid. Or that you wish you had a cushy job like they have. Or that it’s all their fault when students perform poorly.
    But if you really want to provoke them, just say the word “PARCC.”
    Actually, PARCC isn’t a word. It’s an acronym, or perhaps more accurately an acrimoniousym. Over time, an acronym can become a word. If this happens for PARCC, it’ll probably be used as a curse word (kind of like ‘frack’).
    PARCC stands for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.
    The “partnership” refers to corporate partners of Pearson LLC who are making billions in profits off the backs of teachers and students (and taxpayers).
    But I do love acronyms. One of my favorites when discussing PARCC is FUBAR. I forget what that means, but it’s in the same general ballparcc.
    OK. I should mention that I signed a security confidentiality agreement promising not to discuss the content of the PARCC assessments.
    I did not, however, sign anything prohibiting me from saying that the test is a politically motivated pile of yak droppings. Of course, I wouldn’t say that. It’s not my style.

  • Socialization as a religious phenomenon

    Every homeschooling parent has been asked the S-Question: “What about socialization?” The implications (real or imagined) of the question are less than flattering:
    • Students who attend schools outside the home are socialized better because they spend so much time with their immature peers, whereas students who attend school within the home are poorly socialized because they spend so much time with their mature parents.
    • Home school families do not interact with one another.
    • Socialization that occurs on the soccer field, during debate rounds and in church doesn’t count (or is somehow inferior).
    • Students who attend school outside the home are always well socialized.
    • Your kids are so weird.
    I would like to put the S-Question to rest by summarizing research I conducted along with my colleagues.
    We surveyed 223 families (asking questions of one teen and one parent), 95 of whom were schooling at home. The results point to three important observations: homeschooling teens socialize more than other teens, they socialize differently than other teens, but both of these observations miss the point. Socialization is not a home schooling issue; it is a religious phenomenon.

  • Thank you: Efforts at arts fair appreciated

    The hard work of many dedicated volunteers resulted in a successful Northern New Mexico Spring Arts and Crafts Fair. It was a fantastic spring day with nice weather, although storm clouds lingered in the area. People had the opportunity to visit with friends and mingle among the booths. The art classes from Los Alamos schools had its work on display inside Fuller Lodge showcasing the many talented students in our school district.
    The fair benefited from the efforts of RSVP members who posted flyers around Los Alamos before the fair. We also wish to thank Los Alamos County Parks Department for mowing and trimming the grounds around Fuller Lodge, as well as cleaning up trash during the fair. Many people commented about how nice the area looked for the fair. It truly was beautiful.
    As always, a big thank you goes to our board members and volunteers who spent many hours in preparation, as well as time staffing the fair. This includes Emily Mercer and Irene Kwon from LAHS National Honor Society, volunteers Bill Hamilton, Lisa Lloyd, Tadg Woods, Michael Donnelly, Mitch Pfaff and Adam Joseph. The Arts Council appreciates the time you give to our organization.

  • ‘Lean startup’ turns traditional business model on its head

    Many innovators wouldn’t dream of launching a business without a plan and a pile of money, but that’s precisely the “lean startup” approach that advocates say is revolutionizing and democratizing entrepreneurship.
    The methodology, introduced in 2011 by serial entrepreneur and startup coach Eric Ries, shuffles the traditional deck by putting the cart (the product or service idea) before the horse (the business organization), “selling” the wares before investing time and money building something that customers don’t really want.
    If it sounds counterintuitive, it’s because the conventional business development template begins with a business plan, followed by a search for financial backing and recruitment of a core management team. After months or years spent quietly developing and building the product, the creation is introduced to consumers through advertising and marketing.
    But many businesses fail after all this investment in product development and capital expenditure because people just don’t want the product being offered.
    The lean startup path seeks to avoid such waste of time and money by “selling” products before building them.
    Feedback first

  • Boy Scouts ready to accept donations for food drive

    Dear Residents of Los Alamos County:
    Local Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Venture Scouts are prepared to help the Letter Carriers and LA Cares to collect, sort and store your donations of food and supplies during the 23rd annual National Food Drive on Saturday. The event is sponsored by the Letter Carriers. All we need is your help to “Stamp Out Hunger.”
    It may be surprisingly to learn that even in our well-off community there are dozens of families, many with young children or elderly, who need help, in addition to those in our neighboring communities. In fact, one in six Americans struggle to get enough to eat. So what can you do to help?
    Go to your pantry and fill a grocery bag (double it for strength) or a box with non-perishable food and other necessities. Then on Saturday morning place it near your mailbox and soon your Letter Carrier, a Boy Scout or an adult leader will pick it up and take it to be sorted, stored and distributed by LA Cares.

  • Are we getting enough civics in public schools?

    The column by Cal Thomas in Wednesday’s April 22 edition of the Albuquerque Journal highlights a growing problem with our citizenry in understanding and living with our form of government.
    Civics is no longer a must for public school students. In the 1940s, civics was a semester course in New Mexico. Somewhere along the line civics as a discrete separate course was dropped and the topic was meshed with social studies where one-thirteenth of it was incorporated in each class from kindergarten through 12th grade (see New Mexico Public Education Department social studies teaching standards).
    Jay Leno’s popular program segment, “Jay Walking,” Interviewed people on the street about government and current affairs. They could not identify civic office holders nor could they define pieces of the Constitution or government processes.
    Similar instances were cited by Thomas in his article. One wonders why some people go to the polls. I am sure that most people who voted for a recent constitutional amendment did not understand what they were voting for.

  • Letters to the editor 5-19-15

    Thanks to community for Nepal fundraiser
     
    On behalf of whole team that organized the fundraiser musical program who helped the victims of the Nepal earthquake, I would like to thank Los Alamos community for their enthusiasm, presence in large numbers.
    Thanks to all singers and dance groups for their superb show. Thanks to the Los Alamos Monitor, LA Daily Post and LA Postdoc association for their publicity.  Thanks to Trinity on the Hill Episcopal church for giving Kelly Hall for free. Thanks to each one of you for your generous support and in one hour, we had collected a $2,217 fund. For those who haven’t donated, look for these people and give your contribution personally.  
    Satyesh Kumar Yadav (facebook.com/satyeshyadav, syadav@lanl.gov)
    Arul Kumar (facebook.com/marulmd04, marulkr@lanl.gov)
    Akhilesh Sing (akhilesh@lanl.gov)
    pratik Dholabhai  (pdholabhai@lanl.gov)
    Ramesh Jha (facebook.com/rjha.unc, rjha@lanl.gov)
    Sachi Krishnamurthy (facebook.com/sachi.krishnamurthy, sachi@lanl.gov)
    Krishna Acharya (kacharya@lanl.gov)
    Nimai Mishra (facebook.com/nimai.mishra.7, Nimai@lanl.gov)
    Nirmal Ghirimie (nghimire@lanl.gov)
    Sanket Navale (facebook.com/sanketnavale, sanket@lanl.gov)
    Tilak Dhakal (tdhakal@lanl.gov)