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Today's Opinions

  • Death by mushrooms

    It’s a classic plot device of murder mysteries: an evil killer slips poisonous mushrooms into the frying pan of an unsuspecting victim who dies an agonizing death.
    But in real life, poisonous fungi typically sicken and occasionally kill people for quite different reasons.
    Recently I learned a lot about what can go wrong in the world of mushrooms from Dr. Denis Benjamin, a medical doctor who is also a fungi and poison expert.
    As the weather improves over so much of the nation, this seems like a good time to review how you can avoid having yourself or members of your family join the ranks of those who eat the wrong mushrooms.

  • What’s government really supposed to do?

    Some things are outside the proper scope of government. That much is clear to me.
    But like what? Specific examples are easy. At the federal level, there are ethanol subsidies, nearly everything that happens in the bedroom and specification of the graphics for street signs in neighborhoods. For the latter, see my post at www.capitolreportnm.com.
    At the state level, I’ve been making suggestions for a couple of years in the largely unsuccessful hope of inspiring what is now the Martinez administration. One is closing, for cost reasons, the El Camino Real International Heritage Center, located four miles off Interstate 25 in the middle of nowhere.

  • Arizona fire haze reminiscent of coal-fired power plants

    The visible news for days now has been the thick smoke from Arizona forest fires filling the Rio Grande Valley. Old-timers recall the 1970s, when haze from the large coal-fired power plants in the Four Corners region often reached the valley.
    A decade of citizen effort cut down the then-legal emissions of ash by 300-400 tons daily.
    Later, the legal emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the plants also were reduced by 300-400 tons a day.
    Albuquerque rules and new engine technology cut NOx emissions from vehicles. Ash, SOx and NOx cause haze.
    More citizen work and political help from both parties produced laws and rules for the Prevention of Significant Deterioration in treasured parks.    

  • Restaurant seeks beer and wine license in unincorporated area

    We’d like to thank the Los Alamos Monitor for the article ‘Enchantment by the River’ about Embudo including our restaurant, Embudo Station.
    However, there are some factual inaccuracies. Chef John Cox has never been the chef at the restaurant. Chef Cox designed the initial menu in 2009 and is a member of our small business.
    We loved Jay Bost, who did cook there last year, but is no longer employed with us because the restaurant is not open yet this season. We have run into serious difficulties with the landlord, but are hoping to find a resolution and open again soon.

  • Take action right now

    A fellow who thought of himself as a political reformer approached a friend of mine, a former legislator, one January to ask for support for a large group that planned to visit to the Roundhouse during the legislative session.  
    “Whom do you plan to talk to?” my friend asked.  
    “Everyone,” the man replied.   
    “What do you plan to talk about?” my friend asked.  
    “Everything.”  
    In other words, advocacy for general principles, not specific bills.
    Whoops! Bad plan, bad timing. The gentleman was wasting his time and proposed to waste other people’s time as well.

  • Politicians eye higher office

    For more than eight years, the executive has been running for something else.
    Those were the approximate words of Republican state Senator Clint Harden as he fretted over the entry of Lt. Gov. John Sanchez into the GOP race for the U.S. Senate.
    Harden thinks Sanchez should resign because of his important role in the redistricting process. The lieutenant governor presides over the senate and breaks tie votes.
    Harden says Sanchez will be distracted from his duties. If Sanchez were to resign, the state would be without a lieutenant governor. The duty of presiding over the senate would be assumed by the president pro tempore, who is Sen. Tim Jennings, a Democrat.

  • Media impact on children and teens

    This may not surprise most people: children and teenagers in the U.S. spend more time engaged with various forms of media than any other single activity except sleeping.
    A recent study of 2,000 youth aged eight to 18, found that they spend on average seven hours with media each day. The “media” referred to includes TV, movies, video and computer games, the Internet, music lyrics and videos, magazines, books, advertisements and, yes, even the newspaper you hold in your hand.

  • How towns promoted themselves back in the day

    When a friend gave me a stack of old New Mexico Magazines, I dove in.
    The articles were entertaining enough, but the ads were the real attention grabbers. After World War II, communities didn’t have many ways to promote themselves, so they touted their charms in the pages of the state’s magazine.
    Some wanted tourists: “Ruidoso, where outdoor fun follows the seasons around the year.”
    Others wanted residents: “Roswell, New Mexico, A Good Place to Visit – A Better Place to Live” and “Hobbs, The City with an Assured Future.”