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Opinion

  • 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.

  • 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.