Today's Opinions

  • For critics of the Iran nuclear deal…

    For critics of the Iranian nuclear deal: I worked for years (1980-1988) at the IAEA in Vienna and a total of 15-plus years overseas in, guess what? Uranium resources, exploration, development and mining, as well as other focus areas in the nuclear fuel cycle, including nuclear waste management and decommissioning.
    To place this in context, it has been 35 years since I first sat down at a table with an Iranian counterpart. I cannot dismiss the safeguards challenges, but I believe that they are manageable.
    I’m quite familiar with the nuclear capabilities of most countries in that area, including Iran.
    Every president except Barack Obama since the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979 has been a badly misguided because you do not cut off communications with an enemy or potential enemy because it drives them deeper into a certain desperation that results in the worst outcome. Are you not familiar with the street riots against the mullahs in Teheran during the last election?
    The Iranians are ready to negotiate; their people want to reintegrate into the world society. So why tell ’em “Stuff it!?”
    Had we done that with the former Soviet Union, I think most of the world would be a cinder by now.

  • You can trust scientific research reports … we hope

    A recent story in the Chronicle of Higher Education suggests that Michael LaCour, a UCLA graduate student, has fabricated data for another journal article.
    Science magazine has retracted the article, due to “the misrepresentation of survey incentives, the false sponsorship statement, and LaCour’s inability to produce original data.” Unfortunately, this is only the latest in a long string of integrity issues in research publications.
    The scary reality, though, is not the articles that have been found to be questionable, but the possibility of many other fabricated articles that have not been discovered and retracted.
    Meanwhile, John Bohannon intentionally published some weak and questionable findings related to chocolate just to demonstrate how quickly non-refereed journals will snatch up research. He claims, “I fooled millions into thinking chocolate helps weight loss.” Sign me up!
    The Office of Research Integrity oversees integrity on behalf of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. They are currently investigating 50 cases of research misconduct.
    Granted, the vast majority of published research is carefully reviewed and published with full integrity (we think). Nevertheless, one should be properly skeptical of the scientific claims. How can we be more informed consumers of research claims?

  • Short changed at primary

    Few, if any, New Mexicans seem to notice, let alone mind, that their lawmakers schedule the state’s presidential primaries so late as to seriously limit their choice of presidential candidates.
    Yet it happens every four years.
    Think upon it. By June 7 of next year, when New Mexico holds its 2016 primary elections where Republican and Democratic voters can vote for the candidate they wish to be their parties’ standard bearers at the November general election, that decision will already have been made by voters in 40 other states.
    By then some candidates currently presumed to be in it for the long haul will have dropped out of the race altogether.
    There are (at present count) fully 17 individuals who have declared their candidacy for the Republican nomination, far more than necessary, even most Republicans would surely agree.
    Yet such are the vagaries of presidential politics that just last week one of the most recognizable of those candidates, former-Texas Gov. Rick Perry, made it known that for want of sufficient “liquidity” in his campaign treasury staffers at his headquarters will go unpaid for the time being.

  • Hillary’s energy plan is like Obama’s Clean Power Plan on steroids

    The Hillary Clinton campaign’s newly announced “ambitious renewable energy plans” move far beyond Barack Obama’s highly criticized efforts that have increased costs and jeopardized reliability.
    Obama’s policies push a goal of producing 20 percent of the nation’s electricity from renewables by 2030 — hers is 33 percent by 2027. We are at 7 percent today.
    At a rally in Ames, Iowa, Clinton said, “I want more wind, more solar, more advanced biofuels, more energy efficiency. And, I’ve got to tell you, people who argue against this are just not paying attention.”
    I’ve got to tell you, the Clinton campaign isn’t paying attention — or, it is paying attention to the demands of wealthy campaign donors.
    The White House has received aggressive push back and a Supreme Court’s smack down over the administration’s policies designed to cut carbon dioxide by requiring renewables.
    A growing list of governors refuses to comply with Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) — the cornerstone of his climate agenda — and Congress has pending legislation giving the governors the authority to “just say no” if such plans would negatively affect electricity rates, reliability, or important economic sectors.

  • Search for home health care just got easier

    Medicare has just begun publishing star ratings for home health care agencies to help consumers tell the good providers from the bad.
    Medicare pays for health care you receive in the comfort and privacy of your home if you meet certain requirements. You must be homebound, under a physician’s care and in need of part-time, skilled nursing care, or rehabilitative services.
    One in 10 people with traditional Medicare relies on home health services in a given year. A third of all home visits are for patients released from the hospital but still requiring attention. The other two-thirds are for people trying to stay out of the hospital in the first place.
    Medicare’s website — medicare.gov — is a convenient place to begin your search for a home health agency. With a few clicks, you can compare the providers in your area, check on the types of services they offer and the quality of their care.
    To help you understand the differences in quality between agencies, Medicare has added star ratings to its website. One star means “poor,” two stars are “below average,” three stars mean “average,” four stars are “above average” and five stars mean “excellent.”

  • The Planned Parenthood horror show, it’s not a movie

    Babies are being born alive, only to be butchered for their parts, harvesting tiny hearts, brains and livers.
    Fetal organs are being transplanted into lab rats for research. Horror shows are usually like that: repulsive, disturbing, barbaric and sickening.
    Except that Planned Parenthood’s horror show is not a movie, but a real nightmare that keeps getting worse.
    No one is above the law. The trafficking and sale of aborted baby body parts for profit is illegal and unethical.
    In fact, it is a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 (42 U.S.C. 289g-2). If this had been any other medical facility or hospital, there would be unquestioned support for immediate investigation.
    Claims of innocence do not suffice.
    Hillary Clinton admitted the videos “are disturbing” and went on to say, “this raises not questions about Planned Parenthood so much as it raises questions about the whole process, that is, not just involving Planned Parenthood, but many institutions in our country.”
    Clinton added that if there’s going to be a congressional inquiry into the videos, “it should look at everything,” and not just one organization.

  • 10 reasons why you might be financially stressed

    Stress can come from everywhere — career, school, family, relationships, health — and especially money.
    The American Psychological Association (APA) recently reported that money remains the number one stressor for 72 percent of Americans. In fact, money has led the APA’s annual stress survey since its debut in 2007, the year before the financial crash that took the U.S. economy into its worst slump since the Great Depression.
    Are you financially stressed? Here are 10 major signs of financial stress and ways to take action.
    You wonder if your job is secure. Even though the economy has improved in recent years, employers still cut and reassign workers and make occasional adjustments in pay and benefits. If you’ve spotted changes in other departments or news accounts suggest a shift in your industry, start thinking ahead. Action Plan: Build up your emergency fund to cover six months or more of basic living expenses, update your resume and get organized for a potential job search.

  • Good news: Retiree Health Care is solvent for 20 years

    A friend told me, excitedly, that he has been approved for the new hepatitis C drug – the miracle drug that is supposed to cure this disease at a cost of $93,000 per patient. He has started the treatment and so far is doing great.
    I hadn’t known he had the disease. Of course, I’m happy for him.
    I realized later I’m helping to pay for his treatment. He is married to a retired teacher and is probably covered through the Retiree Health Care Authority. So am I. His treatment affects my premiums.  
    RHCA can afford to pay for this. This is good news for everybody in New Mexico, including you.
    RHCA provides health insurance coverage to retirees of New Mexico state and local government and schools. Active employees and their employers contribute a small percentage of payroll to the fund. Once those employees retire, if they choose RHCA for their coverage (before Medicare or in combination with Medicare), they pay premiums into the fund.  
    With tough cost controls and reforms, the program is now projected to be solvent through 2035, according to Mark Tyndall, RHCA executive director. This is a major accomplishment.