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Today's Opinions

  • Doctors warn parents about the impact of media violence on kids

    Back in the day, the Lone Ranger disarmed the bad guy by shooting the gun out of his hand. If anybody got wounded, there was a spot of ketchup on his shirt.
    What’s this got to do with the unrelenting and frightening news stories about violence by kids? More than you might think.
    Lately, a 12-year-old in Roswell who shot two fellow students pleaded no contest. A California youth, frustrated by the failure of beautiful women to notice him, murdered people randomly. And now two girls, under the influence of website fiction, stab another girl.
    We could have another debate about gun laws and gun access, although in part, knives were the weapons of choice.
    What if we turn the debate around and ask what goes on at the front end of these tragedies. Why do some kids think it’s OK to hurt or kill other kids? What’s going on?
    A University of New Mexico pediatrician points straight at media violence.
    Victor Strasburger has appeared on national media to urge his fellow pediatricians to stop worrying whether kids’ car seats face forward or backward and start warning parents about exposure to violence on TV, in movies and in games.

  • Spending set at $6.16 billion for year starting July 1

    If it was easy to measure the impact of state government, we would just look up the planned spending for the budget year starting July 1 (FY 15) and say, through our state government, we spend $2,954 for each New Mexican. But we would overlook the $413 per capita spent on roads. The nearly $396 million appropriated for capital outlay (buildings and things) is separate.
    The per capita figures come from totals discussed in the Legislative Finance Committee’s “2014 Post-Session Review” and dividing by our July 1, 2013, estimated population of 2,085,287. Planned spending means the $6.16 billion of what is called “recurring revenue” appropriated through the general fund, the state’s main pot of money for operations. The road spending is via road fund.
    The state does not plan to spend all its income; estimated “total recurring revenue” will be $6.18 billion with the difference going to reserves, which is good because always there is the question of how much will appear. All the numbers including the current budget year (FY 14, which ends June 30) are estimates; estimates change.

  • Standing corrected

    I stand corrected.
    In a column late last March this reporter opined to the effect that “Front-runners don’t finish last.”
    The impetus for this contention was the dead-last finish New Mexico Attorney General Gary King had posted just a few days earlier at the state Democratic Party’s preprimary convention.
    King’s name recognition with New Mexico voters is considerable, I noted. He has been on statewide ballots no fewer than two times. His family has been prominent in state politics going back to the 1960s. He served in the Legislature with distinction for 12 years.
    What’s more, leading up to this year’s state Democratic convention, he was seen as the logical front-runner for the top spot on the Democratic June primary ballot where his competition consisted of four other Democrats who were little known to the rank and file party voters who would be voting in the June 3 primary.
    On top of all that, no New Mexican who had finished last at his/her party’s state convention had ever gone on to win that party’s primary election contest.
    It seemed inevitable, but I now stand corrected.

  • Watch pets around the pool

    School is out, the temperatures are high, and the days are long. For children and pets alike, this makes taking a dip in your backyard pool seem more attractive than ever. Although your children may be competent swimmers, do not assume that your pets are. Preventing pool accidents for your pets takes adequate planning and careful supervision.
    Limiting their access to the pool is an easy and effective way to prevent accidental fall-ins. “A good gate will be the best way to limit pet access to the pool,” said Dr. James Barr, assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “Keeping the door closed at all times is important for children and dogs alike, as is only allowing them to be in the pool area supervised.”
    Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are efficient swimmers. This common misconception can be life threatening to your pet. “The dogs that are considered to be brachycephalic, such as English bulldogs, American bulldogs, and French bulldogs, are notoriously bad swimmers,” Barr said. Therefore, it is smart to teach these dogs how to swim and exit the pool safely to prevent drowning.

  • Sgt. Bergdahl and the Fog of War

    The “fog of war” is a reference to the moral chaos on the battlefield as well as the rampant confusion. Individuals kill others for no other reason than that they are ordered to. Things deemed unambiguously bad in civilian life are authorized and even lauded in war. The killing and maiming of acknowledged innocents — in particular children and the elderly — is excused as “collateral damage.”
    No wonder that some individuals thrust into this morass sometimes act differently from how soldiers behave in romantic war movies. The hell of war is internal, as well as external.
    We might remember this as the story of Sgt. Bowe Robert Bergdahl unfolds.
    Bergdahl volunteered for the U.S. military and was apparently a gung-ho soldier. Americans have not been conscripted since 1973, but young Americans are propagandized from childhood with the message that time in the military is service to their country. Few question this narrative; fewer seek rebuttals to it. You have to want to face the facts that governments lie and that the service is to an empire having nothing to do with Americans’ security.

  • More support for Dr. Lindberg

    Over the past few weeks, I have seen two letters in the Los Alamos Monitor regarding the termination of Dr. Peter Lindberg’s contract with the Los Alamos Medical Center (LAMC). Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in males after skin cancer.
    Each year, more than 186,000 males learn they have prostate cancer and more than 3,500 die from its advanced forms. Dr. Lindberg is New Mexico’s leading physician in understanding and treating this cancer. He is recognized throughout the country as one of the leading practicioners.
    Dr. Lindberg reads extensively to keep up with research, treatment statistics and United States physicians diagnosing and treating prostrate cancer. He also publishes an occasional newsletter describing advances in this medical area.
    I was successfully treated by Dr. Lindberg as were several of my friends and colleagues. This decision shocks me; it is not in the interest of our community.
    LAMC is owned by LifePoint Hospitals of Brentwood, Tennessee, which in turn is part of Duke Lifepoint Health Care, which partners LifePoint with the Duke University Health System.
    I think that the wrong person was terminated!
    Douglas Reilly
    LANL retiree
    White Rock 

  • Watch pets around the pool

     

    School is out, the temperatures are high, and the days are long. For children and pets alike, this makes taking a dip in your backyard pool seem more attractive than ever. Although your children may be competent swimmers, do not assume that your pets are. Preventing pool accidents for your pets takes adequate planning and careful supervision. 

    Limiting their access to the pool is an easy and effective way to prevent accidental fall-ins. “A good gate will be the best way to limit pet access to the pool,” said Dr. James Barr, assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “Keeping the door closed at all times is important for children and dogs alike, as is only allowing them to be in the pool area supervised.”

  • Letters to the editor 06-08-14

     

    More support for Dr. Lindberg

    Over the past few weeks, I have seen two letters in the Los Alamos Monitor regarding the termination of Dr. Peter Lindberg’s contract with the Los Alamos Medical Center (LAMC). Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in males after skin cancer. 

    Each year, more than 186,000 males learn they have prostate cancer and more than 3,500 die from its advanced forms. Dr. Lindberg is New Mexico’s leading physician in understanding and treating this cancer. He is recognized throughout the country as one of the leading practicioners. 

    Dr. Lindberg reads extensively to keep up with research, treatment statistics and United States physicians diagnosing and treating prostrate cancer. He also publishes an occasional newsletter describing advances in this medical area.