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Opinion

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    Traveling over the holiday season is a tradition that many families uphold. Whether you’re going to visit out-of-town family members, or embarking on your annual Colorado ski trip, escaping from the hustle and bustle of everyday life can be quite the holiday treat. For your furry family members, however, this is not the case. Being left alone at home while the people you love are away can be an unsettling experience, so here are some tips for keeping your pets comfortable and happy while you’re gone. 

    There are many viable options to consider if your pet is not accompanying you on vacation. Hiring a pet sitter, boarding your pet at your veterinary clinic or doggy care facility, or even asking your animal-loving neighbors if Spot could stay with them for the week are all good possibilities. It is your animal’s personality and preferences that determine which of these options will work best. 

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    Pets seeking forever homes

    Friends of the Shelter would like to thank Pet Pangaea for sponsoring the colorful holiday full-page ad, Dec. 15, for animals in the Los Alamos Animal shelter. 

    We appreciate the ongoing support of Pet Pangaea and the Los Alamos Monitor for the goals of Friends of the Shelter. We are always looking for wonderful homes for all of our shelter pets and we appreciate everyone who helps them find their way to their “forever home.”

    Friends of the Shelter

    Los Alamos

    LAPS Board thanks LANB

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    Back in high school, I disliked poetry. Well, “dislike” isn’t really strong enough, but “hate” implies more effort than your typical high school student is willing to invest in a course.

    Let’s just say I had a strong aversion to reading drivel like e.e. cummings (whose typewriter was missing the cap key). I got neck aches from nodding my head in iambic tetrameter to Kilmer’s “Trees” (A mime to chime a rhyme in time).

    And seriously, what guy in his right mind would use a Shakespearean love sonnet as a pick up line? “Love’s not time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks within his bending sickle’s compass come!”

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    Support teen
    community

    As we begin this week please keep in mind those who have been working so closely with the youth and families impacted by Tyler Van Anne’s death. We as a community need to take care of our caretakers. There is no way you can compensate someone enough for the heart-rending task of comforting a teen who has just lost their best friend.

    If you know one of the counselors, teachers, school administrators or volunteers who has been hands on with the teens take a moment to thank them. Or even better offer to babysit so they can take an evening with their spouse, or debrief with a co-worker. Get them a gift certificate for a massage. Show up at their door with a casserole and a hug. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

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    By Jason Alderman

    Year after year, Congress keeps kicking meaningful income tax reform down the road. Consequently, taxpayers continue to be stuck with an archaic, overly complicated mess that pleases no one — except perhaps some tax accountants who charge by the hour.

    A prime example is the dreaded alternative minimum tax (AMT). Enacted in 1969 to close loopholes that allowed wealthy taxpayers to avoid paying income taxes, the AMT has been tinkered with so much over the years that millions of middle-income taxpayers now get snared as well.

  • Between January 1961 and Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy fundamentally changed U.S. national security policy. These changes resulted in structures and doctrines that enabled American forces to fight in Vietnam in a new way that ultimately defined Kennedy’s national security legacy.

    Shortly after taking office in 1961, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara began reforming the Department of Defense. At the time, the Air Force, consuming the lion’s share of DOD’s budget, was rigidly focused on the doctrine of massive retaliation adopted in 1954 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration. In the event of war, the Strategic Air Command’s Single Integrated Operational Plan called for the delivery of 3,200 nuclear weapons on 1,065 targets in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and China. In February 1965, when McNamara asked SAC commander Gen. Thomas Power if implementing that plan would have ended human life on earth, Power responded, “If three people survive and two of them are Americans, we win.”

  • As some of you may know, I am a proud daughter of a World War II Veteran. My father’s service overseas and later back home helped shape my siblings and me. My Dad made sure I understood the value in dedicating one’s life to service, to protect and respect the rights of all Americans. My father and the millions of other men and women who willingly sacrifice for our rights are a driving force behind my determination to be a voice for the people in public office. 

    One of the things I enjoy most about being a state representative are the opportunities to recognize and honor individuals who make New Mexico and this country a better place to live. This past week, I was privileged to participate in the Los Alamos Veterans Day Ceremony at the VFW and a dinner at the American Legion honoring the Boys and Girls State sponsors and students. There was a resounding message I took away from each of these events, we must do more for our youth who feel called to serve our country, and treat every day as Veterans Day.

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    This month marks the 10th anniversary of the historic Goodridge decision in Massachusetts that granted marriage to its gay and lesbian citizens. That decision remains one of the most eloquent tributes to the institution of marriage and why government cannot deny that fundamental freedom to loving same-sex couples.

    It also captures so much of what my nearly 40-year marriage has meant to me, my husband and our family and I am not alone. Passages from the Goodridge decision have become one of the most common readings at weddings — gay and straight — across the country. 

    Here’s part of what Margaret Marshall wrote in the court’s decision:

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    More and more news articles are addressing bullying in the workplace, including sports. Ritchie Incognito (whose true nature is anything but incognito) was recently accused of bullying a teammate, harassing him with racial slurs.

     Miami Dolphins (very) offensive lineman Incognito was suspended for using the N-word against Jonathan Martin. This isn’t the first time Ritchie has been noted for bullying others.

     Ritchie defended himself, saying “I’m not a racist and to judge me by that one word is wrong!”

     Really? Then I can call you an idiot and not be judged for saying that?

     How about three or four words? How about you’re a moronic xenophobic bigoted donkey’s behind?

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    For something whose nickname sounds so innocent, the “kiddie tax” certainly can wreak havoc on unprepared taxpayers’ yearly returns.

    Congress first introduced the kiddie tax as part of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 to discourage wealthy parents from sheltering their investment income in accounts under their children’s names, thereby avoiding paying taxes on the amounts. The rules have been tweaked periodically ever since.

    Although the kiddie tax once applied only to the unearned income of children under 14 (hence the nickname), it now impacts all children under age 19 (as well as full-time students under 24), provided their earned income does not exceed half of the annual expenses for their support.

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    This fall, Congress has an important opportunity to create jobs and grow the economy by passing a long-term, comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill. The Farm Bill impacts every American, every day by providing a wide range of programs that strengthen our nation.

    The Farm Bill is crucial to maintaining a strong agriculture sector and an abundant food supply that benefits all Americans. 

    Over the past two years, producers have faced a multitude of disasters — from drought, to flooding, to blizzards. These events demonstrate how important the safety net is to keeping producers going strong. 

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    Last year, my friends and I were talking about news stories which bludgeoned the ears (and minds) of the American public throughout the year of 2012. 

    Of course, the Presidential election was high on the list. It was like watching a comedic version of Eraserhead dubbed over with the soundtrack from “Xanadu.” I must admit though, it was entertaining to see Clint Eastwood argue with a piece of furniture (and losing the argument to it).

    Psy’s Gangnam Style infected the airwaves with K-pop and bad dancing. Trayvon Martin’s murder piqued the nation’s curiosity as to what brand of shoes Zimmerman wore. 

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    Employment discrimination is toxic for the employer, the perpetrator and the victim. It cripples productivity, creates a hostile work environment and hurts employee morale. 

    If allowed to continue, it can lead to costly lawsuits and damage a business’s image, reputation and brand.

    The best way an employer can avoid being found liable for employment discrimination is to make equal opportunity the company standard — from recruitment to promotions, pay, benefits and training opportunities. Employers should know enough about employment law to recognize discrimination and the potential for discrimination when they see it and to ask for expert help if they are unsure.

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    German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone conversations are far more interesting than our own, but it’s no reason to be complacent.

    “We’re basically turning citizens into human intel for the country. Welcome to the Surveillance State,” said software developer Andrew Stone. “All communications are being spied upon — phone, email, Skype, web browsing. Massive amounts of data are being collected.”

    Stone isn’t your wild-eyed activist. He’s best known as developer of the popular mobile application Twittelator for the iPhone and iPad. His Albuquerque-based Stone Design Corp. has published more than 35 software titles for generations of Macintosh operating systems. Stone joined computing legend Steve Jobs after Jobs, forced out of Apple, started his own company, NeXT. Stone is still an independent developer for Apple.

  • After reading County Clerk Sharon Stover’s comments regarding marriage equality in the Los Alamos Monitor yesterday, there a few things I would like to point out.

    As of this week, the Doña Ana County Clerk is giving out licenses to same sex couples, and a District judge ordered the Santa Fe Clerk to begin issuing licenses Friday.

    Ms. Stover was quoted Wednesday as saying “Our office will wait until the courts and/or the legislature acts.”
    Well. The courts have acted and Attorney General Gary King says he will not take action against clerks who issue these licenses.

    By refusing to allow gay couples to get married in Los Alamos, I believe Ms. Stover is being discriminatory. Must we waste time and taxpayer money in the local courts to “force” her do the right thing?

    There were no protests at the Doña Ana court where same sex couples married this week. (Which is in southern New Mexico, usually a conservative area.)

    When asked what she would do if a gay couple sought a license from her office, Ms. Stover said she would inform them that, “Doña Ana has them.” Not very helpful.

    Who is she to stand in the way of loving partners who want the same rights straight people in this county have?

  • Dear Editor,

    This weekend there is a gun show at the Pueblo Gym. The gym is on a site owned by the Los Alamos Public Schools. This means that very soon, forty vendors will gather for the purchase and sale of guns on our tax-payer supported school property.

    A discussion has begun about whether or not it is appropriate to conduct gun sales on school district grounds. I began this conversation a few days ago when I emailed Superintendent Gene Schmidt and the five School Board members asking that LAPS discontinue its support of this gun show, where, by the way, children 12 and under get in free.

  • Now before anyone goes off on a jeremiad that I am “against public education,” let me assure you that is not the case. Both my parents were public school teachers, with my 91-year-old mother having taught more than 35 years.

    The case against University of New Mexico-Los Alamos is really a matter of asset management for county government in Los Alamos, and its whole approach to the future. Chief among my sincere critiques of the county commission is that they are lousy asset managers. Their single biggest sin in this realm … is the failure to properly understand “opportunity cost” within a rapidly changing environment.

    Maybe it’s the group think virus that promulgates this mindset, something grafted from “how we did business at the lab,” onto the entirely alien rootstock of local politics. I personally believe the cure for this dilatory disease is simply individual county commission districts vs. running “at-large,” with its resulting “faculty senate” mentality. We’ll save the legal implications of this argument for another time; they’re juicy.

  • I was delighted to read that my fellow county councilors passed a resolution in favor of the special election to consider a property tax levy to help University of New Mexico-Los Alamos.

    Even though I was away for that meeting, I want to voice my support for this resolution and furthermore urge every voter to approve this ballot question.

    I have many reasons for my support, but I wanted to concentrate on a specific value that UNM-LA provides to our community and one that my family has benefited from directly. A healthy UNM-LA is a great resource for our high school students, and helps in many ways to make them better prepared for the future.

    My three boys graduated from Los Alamos High School, and all three of them took classes at UNM-LA. These classes gave them a good (and eye-opening) preview of the rigors of a college class and gave them a head start by transferring credits to their eventual college.

    When I researched the statistics on this “dual credit” opportunity, I was surprised by the large number of students who took advantage of this program. In the last five years, there were almost 1399 dual credit students and last spring, 70 percent of them were LAHS students.

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    Business is business. Regulated companies make news when they wail away at the costs of buying and running pollution controls. The word goes out: pollution controls threaten jobs. 

    At the same time, the Institute of Clean Air Companies (ICAC) is busy praising the healthy incomes from the same controls. 

    The ICAC is the national trade organization that represents suppliers of air pollution control and monitoring systems, equipment and services for facilities. 

    The ICAC’s endless task is to drive home the basics of business that facility spokesmen routinely skip. The basics have to be pointed out as often as they are ignored. 

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    Three cheers for
    children’s theater

    On behalf of the Los Alamos Arts Council, I would like to thank the cast members of Missoula Children’s Theater’s production of “The Tortoise Versus the Hare” for their wonderful performance. I would also like to thank all the parents and friends of the cast who attended the play on Saturday, as well as Kirk Christensen and the staff of Crossroads Bible Church. They were wonderful to work with and made the week a complete success. 

    Additionally, many thanks go to the Los Alamos Arts Council members who volunteered their time to help make this year’s production a wonderful experience for the participants. 

    The Arts Council would like to thank the County of Los Alamos for co-sponsoring this event and the community for supporting Arts Council programs.