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Today's Opinions

  • Literacy is more than reading

    Almost half of the adults in New Mexico can’t read.
    According to the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy, 46 percent of New Mexico adults are functionally illiterate. Of those, 20 percent have literacy skills at the lowest level, meaning, for example, they would have difficulty extracting simple information from a news article. Another 26 percent are at the second level, where their skills are a little higher, but not enough to get a job that requires reading.
    That’s simply awful.
    It may be some consolation that New Mexico is not alone in having a massive illiteracy problem. According to the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, the entire country is falling behind the rest of the industrialized world and now ranks about 17th in literacy.
    But none of this is good news, and, as usual, New Mexico is a little worse than most other states.
    A unique perspective on the issue comes from New Mexico’s most famous literacy activist, poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, who spoke recently to the literacy coalition’s annual meeting. Literacy isn’t just about reading, he said. “Literacy is about human beings being able to express their emotions to the people they love.”

  • Office of Business Advocacy helps entrepreneurs launch and grow

    Governor Susana Martinez and Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela established the Office of Business Advocacy (OBA) in January 2011 and have been extremely pleased with its success.
    Since then, the OBA has saved or created more than 2,000 jobs by helping businesses navigate the sometimes complicated processes of permitting and licensing that can slow job creation and business growth. Now the OBA is expanding its mission.
    “The Office of Business Advocacy has done remarkably well helping small businesses that may not have the time or resources to sift through the regulatory, licensing and permitting process or address policy issues affecting their operations,” Barela said. “As a result of regulatory reforms, leading to less bureaucratic red tape than when the governor first took office four and half years ago, we’re expanding the OBA’s role to include proactively helping entrepreneurs start businesses and grow.”

  • Letter to the Editor 6-30-15

    Rotary club to host many July events

    On Wednesday, the Rotary Club of Los Alamos begins its new year, 2015-16, and will kick off the month with two events over the Fourth of July weekend.
    On Independence Day, we cordially invite the community to attend the naturalization ceremony at Bandelier National Monument. The program, which bestows American citizenship on qualified applicants, begins at 11 a.m. behind the main building. As one of its sustaining principles, Rotary promotes international peace and good will and is pleased to provide refreshments for this meaningful event.
    On Sunday, we look forward to serving you a Cowboy Pancake Breakfast at the Posse Lodge, 650 North Mesa Road. This all-you-can-eat breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, coffee, and juice is only $7 for adults and $4 for children under 10. We are grateful to the members of the Sheriff’s Posse Lodge who make it possible for our club to raise money to benefit our many service projects. Sunday’s funds will support New Generations, our varied and vibrant youth programs, including inbound and outbound student exchanges, weeklong leadership camps for high school students, essay competitions for eighth graders and support for GED students at University of New Mexico-Los Alamos.

  • The ‘New World Disorder’

    Ripples of events in Europe almost a quarter of a century ago reverberate in New Mexico today.
    After the celebrations occasioned by the fall of Berlin’s infamous wall on the evening of Nov. 9, 1989, U.S. and European officials hardly knew what to make of the dramatically altered political landscape that quickly emerged to challenge them.
    Bellicose cold war bombast that had served western politicians so reliably (“Mr. Gorbachev! Tear this wall down!”) was suddenly no longer serviceable and entrenched Eastern European political elites that had governed with iron fists since the end of World War II were on the run.
    Old eastern bloc “defense alliances” dematerialized. The once mighty Soviet Union lost dominion over neighboring polities and started calling itself the “Russian Federation,” where the decrepit communism of yore was transmogrified into corrupt, crony capitalism and yesterday’s commissars were swept aside by new cadres of oligarchs adept at profiting from the resources of the state.
    Proclaiming the Cold War to have been “won,” the first President George Bush hailed the promise of a “New World Order,” thus demonstrating how statesmen can come to rue glib pronouncements.

  • Pet Talk: How to prepare for a furry friend’s death

    For many of us, the connection we share with companion animals extends beyond just friendly company, our pets are considered a part of the family.
    The truly unique love between an owner and their pet is something one has to experience to understand. Although a pet may be a very loved and important family member, it is important to be sensitive and aware of your pet’s needs as they age.
    Sometimes owners are faced with difficult decisions when their pet reaches an age or health condition that no longer allows them to enjoy daily activities. Dr. Sarah Griffin, lecturer at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVM), explains that euthanization is never an easy choice, but in some cases, it may be the best option for your pet.
    “One of my professors in veterinary school told us that she tells clients to pick the pet’s three favorite things,” Griffin said. “When two out of three of those things are gone, it’s time to let them go. Many pets will continue to eat and drink even when they are in pain. Keeping a daily record of good vs. bad days sometimes helps you see the quality of life they are living.
    Some of the emotional struggles owners face when dealing with their pet’s death may be guilt and loneliness.

  • Letter to the editor 6-28-15

    Who in the world is Bernie Sanders?

    Some think of Bernie Sanders as an old curmudgeon with young ideas. He is actually a presidential candidate who promotes ideas like diverting money from war to repairing infrastructure, fair trade rather than free trade, tough action on drug prices, a real minimum wage, help with the cost of education, Medicare for all, paid sick leave and other labor benefits that could help American workers catch up with what their Western European counterparts already enjoy.
    This all sounds like an interesting platform, but whether Bernie can hold his message together during a tough presidential campaign remains to be seen.

    Richard Foster
    Los Alamos

  • Are we a Christian nation?

    It depends upon the definition. Would we be a Christian nation defined by a legislative fiat? No! That is expressly forbidden by our Constitution in the first amendment to it. Lawmakers shall make no law with respect to religion.
    There are 13 countries that do have an official state religion where the church is an integral part of their government. We have no national religion. In fact, one of the reasons the pioneering people who came to America was to escape such a mandated system of beliefs, faith and practices.
    Freedom of religion is a basic right of all citizens under our Constitution with the Bill of Rights. Some protestant colonies, early on, assessed taxes upon their citizens to support their churches, a practice that ceased with adoption of the constitution.
    We are free to believe what we wish without government interference.
    It was the practice of religious faith in Christianity that carried our national forefathers to achieve the basic values and moral courage to write and propose the basic form of government that we have.
    Though those of our countrymen who are not Christian still benefit from those basic tenants that give us the core of our national ethos.

  • Waterloo bicentennial came and went without notice


    Next to a battle lost, the greatest misery is a battle gained.” —Sir Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, June 19, 1815
    The Battle of Waterloo — a series of bloody encounters between French, Anglo-Dutch, and Prussian armies fought over four days — culminated with Napoleon’s final defeat on June 18, 1815.
    It was a major historical event, and yet its bicentennial has come and gone essentially without notice.
    From 1789 until 1815, wars of the French Revolution and the era of Napoleon wrested Europe from the era of “limited warfare” (from 1648 until the French Revolution) into a modern era of enormous bloodletting intensified by the rise of nationalism and the Industrial Revolution. It was a historical perfect storm unleashed in full fury a century later in two global wars.
    The aftermath: the terror-stricken world of today.
    Anglo-Dutch forces under Sir Arthur Wellington suffered 15,000 casualties. Napoleon’s army lost twice that number, including 7,000 captured. England’s Prussian ally suffered 7,000 dead. Napoleon, declared an international outlaw by the Congress of Vienna, finally was consigned to the remote south Atlantic rock of St. Helena, where he died in 1821.