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Today's Opinions

  • Buyer beware: The value of near-death accounts

    Religious deception and hucksterism is certainly not a new phenomenon.
    From Sinclair Lewis’ Elmer Gantry to televangelist Jim Bakker to some proponents of the Prosperity Gospel, fictional and real life examples abound.
    So the revelation that Kevin Malarkey fabricated his six-year old son’s account of his near-death experience (NDE) in “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven” is not shocking.
    In response to a letter by the now 16-year-old Alex, its publisher, Tyndale House, has announced it will no longer market the book, which has reportedly sold more than one million copies.
    Claims have long circulated that Malarkey embellished, exaggerated, or even invented the experiences and visions he attributes to Alex. For several years, Beth Malarkey, Kevin’s ex-wife, has questioned the account.
    “Buyer beware,” she wrote. “There is only one absolutely infallible and true book: God’s Word. It does not need fancied up or packaged for sale.”

  • Home remodel for the new year

    Our 2014 huge positives were the first grandchild, a new kitchen and hanging out by the ocean in Monterrey, California. The negatives were many, many trips to doctors.
    The kitchen came courtesy of an inheritance from my mother. In developing the project, we considered many things. Our research led us to million dollar homes with sloppy work. Most of our ideas worked; some didn’t, demanding compromise and rethinking. Our experience may lend some insight as you contemplate such a project.
    While we managed without a $10,000 stove, the project was extravagant. Fortunately we could not enlarge the kitchen because our house encircles it.
    We had the cash. Obvious advice, item one, be able to pay. Call me an outlier in our consumption ethos, but I’ve never been a borrower. Only for houses, but not for cars (once, only) and definitely not now with a fixed income.
    We didn’t worry about recapturing remodeling cost on sale of the house. We plan to be in the house long enough to render such an analysis moot. We did the project for us, not for the next guy.

  • Considering life without owning a car

    Most baby boomers couldn’t envision their early adult years without a car. However, times are changing and younger commuters are leading the way.
    According to an October study by U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) and the Frontier Group, millennials — those born between 1983 and 2000 — are driving significantly less than older Americans. Many post-college drivers swimming in college debt are opting for urban living where walking, biking and mass transit tend to be easier options. Increasingly, those with a temporary need for four-wheel transportation can do so by smartphone.
    Today, there are many options to conventional car ownership, but it’s important to match solutions and their specific costs to your needs. Here’s a road map for exploring what’s right for you.
    Start with the cost of driving. If you already drive and budget carefully, you will have an idea of what driving costs you can incur each year in financing, fuel, fees, maintenance and insurance.

  • Challenges and opportunities for the 2015 U.S. Economy

    With the stock market at an all-time high, a bonanza of cheap gasoline, and unemployment at 5.8 percent, there is increased optimism about the U.S. economy. Yet challenges abound, both from the inside and abroad.
    Participation in the labor force remains at the lowest levels since the late 1970s, with over 6 million less people in the workforce since President Barack Obama assumed office. The time of reckoning for the Fed is arriving.
    The Fed will likely begin introducing higher rates early this year. If it waits until 2016 it might risk causing a negative short-term impact just before the presidential election.
    With over $7 trillion of new borrowing no other president in U.S. history has increased the debt as much as Obama. Eventually these policies need to be reversed, causing painful readjustments.

  • Letters to the editor 2-25-15

    R-T-W attacks middle class

    Right-to-Work is an attack on the middle class. It is unfair, unnecessary and hides the bill’s true goals.
    Our legislators need to be focused on issues that strengthen the communities of their constituents by closing tax loopholes that only benefit the wealthy, raising salaries for public school teachers that help raise our youth and cutting taxes for small-business owners.
    Our focus should be on strengthening New Mexico’s economy from the core and making sure all of our children get the education they need and deserve to lead us into the future.
    Facts show that Right-to-Work laws such as House Bill 75 law will not stimulate growth and increase jobs in New Mexico. In fact, such laws lower wages and negatively effects workers’ safety and security in northern New Mexico at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    As a member of The International Guards Union of America local 69, I, along with our membership, do not support the passing of HB 75. It is clear to see the long-term agenda and effects will be negative for all workers.
    Supporters of HB 75 have promised that the law would create jobs, yet not a single company has come forward to make a statement that is a factor in selecting New Mexico for a site. Why didn’t we hear any of this during the election?

  • Letters to the editor 2-15-15

    Misconceptions of Open Space Plan

    I am writing to correct any misperceptions that may have been created by the Los Alamos Monitor’s coverage of my comments to the County Council regarding the Open Space Management Plan made at Feb. 6 meeting.
    As reported, I am a member of the County Planning and Zoning Commission. The Los Alamos Monitor’s story stated I opposed the Open Space Management Plan. That is not correct. At the beginning my verbal comments, I voiced my support for the Open Space Management Plan, that it was necessary and long overdue.
    My comments were critical of two portions of the plan:
    • The provision proposing, in effect, a Vista/Viewpoint zoning overlay district, without any guidance on how to enact it.
    • The inclusion in the proposed open space map of virtually all of the vacant land owned by the county (not all the vacant land in the county), particularly a large parcel in Pueblo Canyon adjacent to the sewer plant, recently acquired from the federal government and previously proposed for economic development by the Open Space Advisory Group.

  • Letters to the editor 2-11-15

    Fundraiser concert a success

    The University of New Mexico-Los Alamos great room was the place to be on Sunday. For eight hours, 47 performers entertained a generous audience that contributed $1,264 to the UNM-LA Scholarship fund, the most ever in the fifth Annual Music Marathon. This was also the first one to which local businesses contributed door prizes.
    We would like the community’s help in thanking Bob’s Bodacious BBQ, Casa Mesita (which supports a dozen local charities), Chili Works, Del Norte Credit Union, Khalsa Acupuncture, Northroad Inn, Pam Reass, Professional Skin Care Choices, RadioShack (now selling musical instruments), and Village Arts for their door prizes, valued at more than $500. Shop locally, folks!
    Thanks performers, without whom all of this is impossible: Cathy Turner, Ruth Williamson, Sonja Ebey, Troy Makela, William Dale, Karin Ebey, Katie Brown, Sonja Ebey, Troy Makela, Joseph Dale, Kathleen Brodnax. Other piano soloists were The Little Piano Group playing Edvard Grieg: Rheta Moazzami, Robin Gurule, Claudia Hilko, Judy Hutson, Bonnie Kiang, Phyllis Slattery, Susan Mendel, Joyce Guzik and Juanita Madland.
    Donna and John O’Donnel delighted the audience with their baroque recorders.

  • Letters to the editor 2-10-15

    Column up for theological debate

    I’m sure the Los Alamos Monitor does not wish to begin or encourage theological debates, so I will avoid any such rebuttal to Pastor McCullough’s column regarding baptism, “Explaining differences in types of baptism.”
    However, it might be wise for the Los Alamos Monitor to do some fact checking where it can in its religion columns.
    Pastor McCullough’s article immediately began with a factual error. A quick Internet search will indicate that infant baptism was practiced in the church and was mentioned as such by Irenaeus, Tertullian, Cyprian and Origen, all of whom died well before the year 300.
    Unless Pastor McCullough has a different definition of “Middle Ages” than most people, his first sentence is incorrect. I will leave it to the reader to speculate about the cause of such an egregious error.

    Drew Kornreich
    Los Alamos

    Misinformed about baptism roots

    In reference to Pastor McCullough’s “Religion” column of Feb. 6, he is mistaken when he claims that infant baptism has its roots in the Middle Ages.