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Opinion

  • 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.

  • Reality Check:  Why does Los Alamos not support local business?

    When the Monitor listed my candidacy, they had me as “musician.” That’s true enough, but it would have been equally true if they had listed me as “musician/business owner ( - man, - person, however you want to put that).” 

    “Business owner?” A musician as a business owner? Do you normally consider the one as synonymous with the other? 

  • SANTA FE — Do you know that the U.S. government doesn’t have an agency to promote tourism from foreign nations? That’s a big deal for New Mexico where tourism is the state’s largest private employer.

    New Mexico receives a big chunk of foreign tourists who want to see what the Wild West really looks like. They want to see Indians, Spanish churches, Billy the Kid Land, UFO sites, museums and galleries.

  • If you’re like thousands of New Mexicans, you were likely shocked by the news that several state insurance companies planned to raise rates by 15, 20 or even 25 percent for the next year. It’s part of a nationwide trend that we’ve seen over the past few months that shows no sign of slowing down. These drastic rate increases highlighted a problem that hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans face. Even if you have health insurance, it is often neither affordable nor secure and the rising costs are putting a squeeze on everyone.

  • Sometimes it pays to spend 10 years in detention. Not that a person would ever want that to happen, but if it did — could you put the time to good use?

    That’s a question I’ve asked myself. I’ve also asked my students exactly the same thing. The value of a good high school or college education, I say to them, is that it should give you the tools to use time like that well. What would you do with it?

  • Some believe that those who sought to restrict the spending limits of the county council got exactly what they deserved. This got me thinking about what actually transpired during that steamrolling.

    I started with numbers. Everybody knows numbers: County operations (budgets), council (votes) and scientists (probability). So here are some: There are around 18,000 L.A. residents; 58 percent of the 6,210 who voted in the last bond referendum nixed funding higher education — in Los Alamos, no less; and 2,000 plus signed the petitions submitted.

  • Please print my sincere thanks to Rep. Martin Heinrich, Rep. Ben Ray Luján, Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Sen. Tom Udall for their bravery and steadfast determination in passing health care reform. 

    Their actions are an historic victory for all Americans — for families, seniors, young people, workers and small businesses alike.

  • SANTA FE — Instead of my usual April Fools’ column reminiscing about past political pranks or trying to pull one of my own, I am reminded of a promise made 10 months ago that is appropriate to begin fulfilling today.

    On June 6, 2009, full-scale D-Day commemorations were held at Normandy and many other locations around the world.

  • Many thanks to the community of Los Alamos for the outpouring of support and encouragement regarding the accident and fire at Quemazon Montessori School on Thursday, March 25.

  •      SANTA FE — Why are traffic cameras so controversial? We know that speeding and running red lights is dangerous so we have passed laws establishing penalties against people who do it.

         So what’s wrong with taking a picture of people who have broken the law? For some reason many people who would classify themselves as law-and-order types become downright angry at the notion of their right to privacy being invaded.

  • In my opinion, the point made recently by New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ron Curry, as reported by the Los Alamos Monitor on March 27 (“Head wants federal agency removed”), is well taken.

  • In his recent letter to the editor, “Have a Spot of Tea,” Dick Foster appears to be somewhat supportive of the Tea Party movement. Be that as it may, but he said that we shouldn’t belittle the Tea Party because they are being courted by the “John Birch Society, an organization of people with good income, education and social status.” Good social status? Well, not with me! I remember the John Birch Society very well and all reasonable people should be alarmed that this organization of paleo-conservative paranoids is showing its ugly head again.

  • SANTA FE — When Gov. Bill Richardson vetoed the food tax, he noted in the first sentence of his veto message that it would be the last legislative act of his two terms as governor.

    That sounds pretty final. What does it mean? Is he leaving town for one of those cushy million-dollar jobs we’ve been hearing about? Or is he just not going to call any more special sessions?

    The indications I’m getting say it is the latter. Gov. Richardson says he doesn’t want to call any more special sessions while House members are campaigning for office.

  • I’ve seen the future of American science and engineering. And, in my humble opinion, it looks very bright.

    From time to time the media tell us that American education simply isn’t working. Reports can make it seem that public schools — and universities, too — are wasteful, dysfunctional and produce students who can neither read nor write, let alone do science and math.

    But I work at a large, state-run university and I see little evidence of those claims. Let me tell you what I do know about, what I see first-hand.  

  • Early this year I wrote about the irony of federal stimulus money going into LED traffic lights that save energy and taxpayer dollars. In response to the column, four readers put me on to a fact that I flat missed.

    LEDs produce little heat, which makes them energy efficient and long-lasting. But there is more. In wintertime, emitting less heat can let more ice and snow build up on a traffic light and make it harder to spot. Examples exist of fatal accidents resulting.

  • Having cancer is like having an infestation of termites. They come in uninvited, take over and devour all that they can. If termites were gradually eating away at your home, crumbling the foundations, crawling through your pipes, eating away at the surface, who would you call? Joe Handyman? No you’d call a professional, someone who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and removal of pest damage. Having cancer is no different.

  • SANTA FE — New Mexico and most other states were able to avoid including the public schools in their first rounds of budget cutting. Since education is a state responsibility, nearly all states make it their primary responsibility. Some states pass much of that responsibility down to the local level.

    But beginning with this year’s legislative sessions, public schools are now part of the budget balancing. Federal stimulus funds have been the savior thus far in helping states avoid cutting into public school budgets. But those funds appear to be ending soon.

  • Maybe it is a matter of just being spoiled by small town New Mexico that makes the head bobble in pure amazement when running across stories about what is apparently considered normal behavior in other places.

    Two stories jumped off the page last week, the first an alarming piece of you’ve-got-to- be-kidding-me hypocrisy, the second a reminder of how lucky we are to live in the Land of Enchantment.

  • A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but a chrysanthemum by any other name would be easier to spell.  Words of wisdom to be sure and who would know better than Henry Deutschendorf Jr., Charles Hardin Holley or Walter Matuschanskayasky?

    What’s in a name? Well obviously, these names never had a chance to become famous. Matuschanskayasky? I nearly sprained a finger just typing it!

  • All over young people say the same thing, whether they live in a big city or a small town: “There’s nothing to do around here”.

    When I was a teenager I said that of my town in New Jersey. Well, I have an answer for that dilemma; get a job or better yet be creative and develop your own job.

    There are many reasons to be your own boss. You can establish your own schedule, work when you want and as hard as you want. Of course, the theory is if you do work long and hard you will reap great rewards.