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Opinion

  • SANTA FE — Will this winter weather never end? Jeanette and I have been traveling even more than usual this spring to escape the cold and pollen. We’ve visited much of the desert Southwest plus our most southwestern state of Hawaii.

    It has been cold everywhere. There’s no escaping it. The global cooling fans are ecstatic; claiming this proves global warming is a bunch of hooey. It really doesn’t prove anything other than we had a cold, wet winter.

  • In the April 20, 2010 Monitor, the Sierra Club’s Mark Jones writes that renewed interest in uranium mining will benefit local economies but at a severe price.  He enumerates a list of the health effects, the tardiness of uranium tailings remediation, the modeling of exposure to residual uranium tailings as a predictor of diabetes and kidney disease, groundwater contamination and the burden to the taxpayer. He then turns to the coal companies to criticize mine safety.

  • The last time I went to Nevada, I stood on the edge of an enormous open-pit mine at noon. The whistle blew. Then the pit erupted in explosive power enough to make the Earth rumble.

    “I always like to watch it,” said the geologist giving me the tour. “It looks like the rocks down there just get ‘fluffy’ when they are blasted apart.”

  • I do hope many of you read a recent article in our Essence about the fun of shopping for and eating foods grown locally. Our local Farmers Market has its own long and interesting history. In fact, our own Los Alamos Farmers Market is the oldest continuous farmers market in our state.

  • New Mexicans and Alaskans share a love for the natural beauty of their states and a commitment to care for the land.

    Most of us want to develop land properly and know the value of conserving.

    Since the first Earth Day 40 years ago, we realized that treasured public lands need good management if they are to survive for future generations.

    We’ve learned that communities and individuals have a responsibility to each other to share and take care of the land.

  • SANTA FE — If you would like to know the inside story of the presidential campaign that put Barack Obama in the White House, “Game Change” has all the details.

    Written by two of the country’s leading political reporters, John Heilemann of New York magazine and Mark Halperin of Time magazine, the book provides the scoop on what had to be the race of a lifetime.

  • Some years ago, several co-workers and I decided to have a little get-together after work to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It was late April and we put up notices to inform the rest of the department, giving the time and place. My office mate, Gary, was a genius when it came to database design and network optimization.  Sadly, that was about the extent of Gary’s analytical capabilities. He asked me, “Sounds like fun. So what day is this party?”

  • There’s a noxious odor swirling around a proposed ordinance now pending county council approval. Ordinance No. 555 would give the electorate the opportunity to vote thumb’s up or down on a charter amendment that calls for an annual election on all capital projects of $1 million or more.

  • Meeting organizers explained that they didn’t intend to debate health care reform.

    “We’re here to discover how New Mexico can get the maximum benefit,” said Dick Mason, of Health Action New Mexico, a nonprofit, consumer advocacy group.

    Amen to that, I thought. That declaration and the meeting venue – a church sanctuary – were effective. No shouting, no posturing. A large, diverse, polite crowd really did want to learn how the new law was going to work. I wanted to know how it would affect New Mexico.

  • In 40 years here I’ve never been as impressed with a student performance as I was with the Olions’ staged musical of “The Wiz,” a lovable and laughable take-off on “The Wizard of Oz.”

    Offering drama classes at both mid- and high schools during the past 20 years has developed enthusiasm and real talent for an activity once given little respect among students.

    Athletic teams are still fairly well subsidized but these kids who have a passion for theater must operate on a shoestring.

  • Throughout the Obama administration, the Republican Caucus has been behaving like a cross between  “Bridezilla” and “The Runaway Bride.”

    During the drafting of almost all legislation in the last 14 months, Republicans have been throwing one tantrum after another, insisting that everything be written according to their own specifications.

    Once everyone is at the altar and it’s time for them to say “I do,” they scream and run away.

  • SANTA FE — “Being a legislator is a great job to have at a time like this.” Those were the words, or very close to them, of former state Rep. John Mershon, an Otero County Democrat, back in 1982.

    At the time, New Mexico was plummeting into an economic downturn almost as severe as we have at present. Mershon was the longtime chairman of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee and an ardent supporter of smaller government.

  • Five years ago, while watching children’s entertainment with my then 2-year old daughter, I was stunned to see that there were far more male characters than female characters in  this media aimed at the youngest of children.

  • Children have always drawn and colored dinosaurs.  

    Vibrant oranges and yellows have competed with blues and greens. Now scientists are starting to catch up with what kids have always intuited about the dinosaurs of the Mesozoic Era.

  •  The raw material from which able decisions are shaped is information. Ignoring the tradition is a recurring story. The trials and tribulations of data have endless forms, some as large as national politics and others as small as a dozen-person panel or a small-town issue.This column about a  panel in 1975 first appeared in the Monitor on April 2, 2000. In the last 35 years, I fear public forums large and small have lost too much of a  vital strength: a broad sense of data exchange.  

  • The May 2, 2010 editorial, “Ordinance threatens to hamstring future councils,” does not include important information about funding capital projects. Prior to the conversion of LANL to a privately operated laboratory, large capital projects were funded through elections in which citizens approved an increase in the property tax rate to fund the projects. Essentially citizens were voting for or against a project and voters approved the swimming pool, the library and the senior center.

  • Our beloved New Mexico has never fared well on those infernal lists used by publishers to grab readership. The best place to live, the worst place to get drunk, the city with the cleanest neighborhoods, the most likely place to get mugged on a Sunday afternoon at the park.

  • I recently read an article citing a study which claimed that obesity isn’t caused by food, but is in fact the result of endocrine disruptors run amok.  

    I never was very good at biology, but I do appreciate food science.  Manic metabolic endocrine disruptors lacing our bodies with layers of supersized love handles? I love it when medical experts give me an excuse to suck down another slice of cheesecake.

  • SANTA FE -" The Republican gubernatorial contest is getting really serious. It’s so serious, in fact, that the state GOP chairman has jumped into the fray.

    Chairman Harvey Yates of Artesia created a three person committee, including himself, to review the negative ads flying back and forth between frontrunners Allen Weh and Susana Martinez.

  • I rather enjoy making fun of so-called serious topics, recognizing the simple truth that most efforts in life are futile gestures and that we waste far too much time arguing the morality of dung beetles and the semantics of bingo games.  

    But as Memorial Day approaches, I take a more serious stance. I believe we need to take a hard look at what is really being commemorated on this holiday.  We need to remind ourselves what it means to “remember” the heroics of the faceless and nameless.