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Opinion

  • That off-shore calamity that erupted in the Gulf of Mexico 50 miles south of Louisiana has demonstrated anew humankind’s capacity for self-deception.

    Start with all those expressions of shock and dismay emanating from off-shore drilling enthusiasts and their political agents that such a thing could come to pass. Who’d-a thought!?

    My guess is that even such erstwhile boosters as the now-chronically agitated Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal knew deep down all along that not only could such a catastrophe occur but that it inevitably would.  

  • On May 27 in the Monitor, a commentary by Jeffry Gardner referred to President Obama as traitorous due to rhetorical remarks the President made in a welcoming statement to Mexican President Calderón at the White House. The president said in remarks, “In the 21st century, we are not defined by our borders, but by our bonds.” The president was talking about the increasing interdependence of nations, not inviting Mexican nationals across the U.S. border. Mr.

  • The recent attempted car bombing in New York City by Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen who was born and raised in Pakistan, reveals the susceptibility of this country to acts of terrorism.

    Although the explosive devices planted in New York City did not work, this event serves to point out that New York City continues to be a target for terrorism. Other cities could be potential targets for Taliban and al Qaida terrorists emanating from Middle East countries or by a minority of U.S. citizens with loyalties to these groups.

  • Back when I worked at Bell Labs, we brought in a candidate for an opening on our database team.  Upon reviewing his resume, I couldn’t understand why my interview team had selected him for an interview. The guy had no relevant experience and his degree was in chemistry, not computer science. Well, it turns out that he had put “Klingon” on his resume as a foreign language in which he was fluent.  (Klingons are a warrior race in the 24th century, kind of a cross between an iguana and Dick Cheney).  

  • The immediate attention of the next governor and, therefore, the attention of the general election candidates, should focus on a number: $236 million. That’s the difference between forecast general fund revenue for the next budget year, fiscal 2012, and the amount needed to maintain current service levels. (The general fund is the principal source of money for state government.)

    The $236 million figure was unveiled May 20 by Tom Clifford, chief economist for the Legislative Finance Committee. Clifford spoke to a conference held by the New Mexico Tax Research Institute.

  • If you like eating hotcakes or bread (or my own personal favorite, huckleberry muffins), you might want to pay attention to a problem that’s looming over wheat worldwide. It’s a new type of “stem rust” caused by a fungus that cripples wheat plants.

    Throughout history, stem rusts have created major famines. Even in the United States, wheat harvests in parts of the country were hit hard by stem rust in 1903, 1905 and 1950-1954. Localized outbreaks affected American wheat as recently as 1985-1986.  

  • Environmental progress begins at the confluence of applied science and political science. The more we know about each one and the mixture the faster the progress.

         In what ways do applied science and politics differ? What happens when they come together?

         The two paths of endeavor diverge by as little as word meanings. The end results are amazingly far apart.

  • I just had an amazing time hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail located on the east coast. In the past I have hiked sections of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT) and others across the U.S. As I reflect upon my recent experience, memories of my youth return from the times I adventured into vast forests and feeling overwhelmed when sighting wildlife, hearing bubbling brooks, admiring the exotic beauty of wildflowers, and picking delicious wild berries.

  • This intangible thing we call freedom is interpreted differently by just about every individual, but one aspect that’s not open for debate is that we enjoy freedom because of the sacrifices made by countless men and women of our armed forces. We must never question that freedom is worth fighting for, and dying for. That very concept was the genesis of the United States of America.

  • New Mexico’s primary elections are just two days away, and if you haven’t voted already make it a point to go to the polls and cast your ballot Tuesday. Despite the fact that this is being billed as a highly-charged political year when voters are expected to oust incumbents across the county, a pollster in New Mexico is betting the voter turnout in the Land of Enchantment will be low.

  • Editor’s Note: This article was first published by The Center for Vision & Values on Nov. 6, 2009.

    Every Memorial Day presents an opportunity to commemorate those who served in some faraway place long ago, many of whom paid that ultimate sacrifice. World War II offers its share of remembrances: Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941; Normandy, June 6, 1944; the Battle of the Bulge, Dec. 16, 1944; to name a few.

    Sadly, however, one series of battles continues to be ignored.

  • Two years ago in their choice of place for preprimary conventions, New Mexico’s Democrats and Republicans suggested widely contrasting visions of the future. For the vast majority not worried about such events, the conventions gather party and candidate faithful. Candidates receiving at least 20 percent of the delegate vote get on the ballot for the June primary election. Candidates with less than 20 percent must gather additional petition signatures to get on the ballot.

  • Twenty-five years ago I spent my summers beside sulfur-belching hot springs in northern California. The hot springs were not as big as Yellowstone’s. Most were just a few feet across, one or two about a dozen feet wide. None of them were truly boiling, but they were hot to the touch and gases bubbled vigorously out of them.

    To add to the general ambience of roasting sulfur, air temperatures in that part of California each July and August are in the 100-degree range, and in addition to sulfur, the hot springs carried a lot of mercury, arsenic and other toxic metals.

  • Christie Kelly’s letter reminds me of that old expression “you can’t make an omelet unless you break a few eggs.” Diamond Drive, like much of Los Alamos’ Cold War era infrastructure, is old, dilapidated, and badly in need of repair. As the only arterial serving much of our community, its upgrade will not be done without considerable impact to transportation and people’s lives, as there will never be a convenient time to do the work.

  • It’s presumptuous of me, a lifelong Republican, to offer advice to the Democrats, but I’m also a bit of a non-partisan political junkie and enjoy good analysis regardless of affiliation. So this is my good analysis.

    They may not want to admit it, but the Democrats in New Mexico have some problems. Republicans not only smell blood; they can taste it. All they have to say is ethics, and voters pay attention. Everyone knows which party is rife with ethical problems (for now).

  • Over the last few months, the press has been filled with worried articles about the state of the union. “Pundits are beginning to wonder if the system is broken in some fundamental way,” wrote Evan Thomas in Newsweek. “Do partisan polarization, special-interest money, snarling news outlets and public disaffection ensure gridlock into the indefinite future?” asked John Harwood in The New York Times.

  • A cloud of black smoke pouring up from the Jemez Mountains caught my attention 10 years ago.

    I was looking for the next thing to do in my life. A fun, 20-year escapade in film and video as a producer-writer seemed to be winding down.

    Swinging from vine to vine for the next project seemed to work for a quite awhile.

    I got to travel around the world and made films for the Smithsonian Institution and PBS, explored the Maya jungles and covered the First Intifada in the Gaza Strip.

  • March 20, 2010 — (DP) Disassociated Press, updated 3:39 p.m. PT (Pawlak Time)

      Beaumont, U.S. — The Iraqi military relinquished management of a Texas prison holding some 34,800 detainees to U.S. authorities on Saturday as the Iraqis continued preparations for a full withdrawal by the end of 2011.

  • It all started, for me, with The Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 1973.

    It was a genuine panic, with shoppers wiping the shelves clean of TP (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) and even driving to the next town in search of more. We didn’t learn until later that it started with a Johnny Carson joke on the Tonight Show. Even though Carson apologized and the Scott Paper Co. ran ads showing its factories in full production, the panic continued; it took manufacturers three weeks to restock shelves.

  • SANTA FE — Commissioning of the new USS New Mexico too place on March 27,  at Norfolk Naval Base, in Virginia.

    Commissioning a U.S. Navy ship is a big deal. While the Navy provides the ship, crew and pier, it is up to the state’s commissioning committee to assure the commissioning is a world-class event.

    The commissioning isn’t just a ceremony at the pier. It includes a party for the crew and families, a commanding officer’s luncheon for the ship’s sponsor, a platform briefing breakfast and a reception after the commissioning ceremony.