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Opinion

  • 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.

  • This column is an experiment in enhancing the public dialogue. The six candidates for governor were asked a question about an important policy matter outside the common rhetoric of the campaign. I hoped the topic plus the length of the answer, no more than 75 words, would induce some thought on the part of the candidate. The answers would be printed here without editing or comment, other than if an answer wasn’t germane.  You compare and contrast. Ask yourself if the answers are relevant and useful.

  • With children fast approaching the high school age/grades I am pleased to see that we, as a community, are one step closer to hiring a new principal for the Los Alamos High School.

    The youth of Los Alamos deserve to have a decision made to provide some stability, especially with the upcoming years of construction on the high school facilities.

    However, the one concern that has come to light is that one of the two finalists is the spouse of the current School Board President Ken Johnson.

  • New Mexico citizens will be exposed to potential public highway accidents involving high explosives if the New Mexico Environmental Department denies Los Alamos National Laboratory’s permit to treat these explosives at Los Alamos.

    Each year LANL safely burns many thousands of pounds of high explosive wastes at temperatures sufficiently elevated to destroy all toxins and render them inert.

    If the permit is denied, these wastes will have to be transported on New Mexico’s public highways to treatment facilities in distant states.

  • Tom Brown says, “Exciting and fulfilling as our lives may be, most of us are cut off from our natural surroundings. We live in heated houses, drive automobiles on asphalt highways…we listen to a barrage of unnatural sounds…we live by the clock. We have lost our connection with the earth.”  

  • Tiger Woods returned to golf this past weekend.

    As I write this I have no idea how he finished in the Masters, one of the game’s four major championships.  He had a good first day, a decent second day and made the cut. Damn.

    Look, at the risk of being called every vile name in the book – including racist – let me say up front that I’d hoped he would tank.  

  • SANTA FE — The most dreaded time of year is here again. Income taxes are due tomorrow. Millions of Americans have pulled out the shoebox and are sorting through receipts and bills. If you haven’t started yet, you may be too late.

    On average, Americans filling out the long form spend 21.4 hours wading through the 172 pages of explanations for the federal form. Some 86 million more already have taken their records to a professional.

  • The Luna Community College Rough Riders baseball team routed their bosses and administration last week, without putting on the cleats.

    In fact, the Rough Rider players hit a grand slam last week without picking up a bat. What they did was join together and put their names on the line to stop the years-long shameful drinking on the job by their coach, Peter Ortiz.

  • When I walk on Sundays with my faithful mutt along the bottom of the Snake River Canyon, I usually hear only the wind in my ears.    

    It’s surprising how loud a breeze can be in a human ear, and try as I might I’ve not found anything about breeze-sounds to be particularly interesting. Still, just to keep me awake, perhaps, Mother Nature punctuates the breeze sometimes with a snake’s rattle in the warmth of summer — and, of course, I do listen carefully for them.