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Today's Opinions

  • Quotas not the answer to oil glut

    BY PAUL J. GUESSING
    Rio Grande Foundation

  • Letter to the Editor 6-15-16

    County workers are appreciated

    Every year I feel the urge to let these workers know how very much their work is appreciated. We do not just take it for granted. The medians in our streets are always beautiful with colorful flowers, such as the Springtime Iris and later lovely lavender. The hanging baskets are a joy in the central town area. Thank you.
    Dot Smith
    Los Alamos

  • Join me in continuing to keep LGBT community in our thoughts

    BY SEN. MARTIN
    HEINRICH (D-N.M.)
    Guest Columnist

  • Legislative decisions range from schools to crime

    Recently, this column looked at the Legislative Council Service (LCS) report on the legislative session and considered the budget (the biggest part of the picture), listed state government’s major functions, and briefly discussed Medicaid.
    Today we look, from the policy view, as before, at legislative decisions affecting those major functions and touch on a few of the tiny and always interesting items. “Less than very seldom” is how often really big changes happen in state government.
    Scrounging money required considerable creativity during the session. The term “skimming money” isn’t usually associated with doing good, legal things. But skimming money is the LCS description for pulling money from “various reserves.” House bill 311 did the deed.
    Public schools get 44.3 percent of the money budgeted through the General Fund, the state’s operating account. Education changes amounted to bits and pieces, the same as for all of state government in this year of reduced spending. One change, following the precedent from the 2008 recession, allows school districts to change requirements for class size, length of the school day and other factors. This suggests Santa Fe doesn’t know all the details of running the schools.

  • More than ever, we need each other

    My heart aches over the stories I hear about heroin overdoses. Local fathers post stories about their sons and daughters, fatal victims of the heroin market. Police conduct raids. The illegal marketing demand continues to fund Afghanistan poppy farmers. Other illegal drug markets cause societal issues, as meth labs contaminate homes and acreage. A house in my neighborhood is selling for half its former market value because of meth lab damage. More than ever, we live in a drug culture.
    When I google “heroin,” however, my top hit is an article by the National Institute of Drug Abuse indicating that nearly half of young people who inject heroin reported abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin.
    As bad as our illegal drug market has become, the potential for the abuse of prescription drugs is a much more pervasive problem throughout America today.
    This conversation is frequently fueled by stories about yet another superstar and his/her battles with prescription drugs, the most recent being that of Prince. I am not sufficiently familiar with his pain and challenges to comment on his possible addictions, but I am saddened at his plight and that of millions of Americans who deal with chronic pain.

  • Enchantment and economy in your own back yard

    BY LORETTA HALL
    Guest Columnist

  • Letters to the Editor 6-10-16

    Monitor story on
    Am-241 source moved to  LANL

    An article in the Friday Monitor, LANL partner in radioactive removal, relates LANL assisting NMED in moving a drum containing 8.63 Ci of Am-241 from Santa Fe to LANL for safe storage. The Santa Fe New Mexican carried an article on the same exercise. This article misstates the drum as containing 9.2 Kg of Am-241. I assume the Monitor value of roughly 9 Ci is correct. An Am-241 source containing 9.2 Kg of Am-241 would be about 32,000 Ci, i.e. a very large and dangerous source. A 9 Ci am-241 source would also be dangerous, if not shielded by the source shield and the drum that contained it.
    The principal radiation from Am-241 is alpha-particle, and alphas can not penetrate a sheet of paper or even the first layer of human skin (epidermis). I assume the source was in some type of lead (Pb) shield from which no alphas would escape. Approximately 60% of Am-241 decays are also accompanied by the emission of a 60-kev gamma ray that does penetrate further, but they would be totally absorbed by any Pb shield.
    The bottom line of this note is that the source in question was of minimal health hazard and certainly didn’t require up to $6 million or involve 40 people; it could have been safely transported in a common pickup driven carefully.
    Dr. T. Douglas Reilly, physicist,

  • Judging uncertainty is a risk

    The great blessing that science gives us humans is a growing supply of knowledge.  
    The great curse that science puts on us is a growing supply of knowledge.
    And everything we learn brings the next unknown, which may be a new cure, a new cause of harm, or a sizable chance of both.  
    The thorny work for us is to blend new knowledge safely into a busy world. Democracy slows the work to a tortoise’s pace, with so much time given to the enormous patchwork of public opinions.  
    So we keep doing our best to minimize the risks that are intertwined in a world of new knowledge, unknowns, and opinions of every shade. Our lot is called the human condition.
    Such struggles are often in the news, with scant history. Lead made news recently.  
    Hazards from lead predate Ancient Rome and were clarified as science grew. In the last century, science learned specific chances of harm to different people from lead in different amounts for enough time.  
    A proper question to ask is, “Should we get rid of lead in painted walls and lead in working pipes as soon as we have that knowledge?” After all, some children will eat leaded paint from walls. Lead pipe systems are mostly handled better.