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Opinion

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     I must express my keen disappointment after reading former Candidate Ed Birnbaum’s op-ed, “Op-ed comments not scientifically valid” (Los Alamos Monitor, June 11). 

    As a scientist and educator, Mr. Birnbaum should have reveled at the teaching opportunity provided by Ms. Noon’s article, “EPA hides their use of ‘bad science.’” 

    He chose to respond to the article in an ad-hominem fashion, disparaging the “scientific credentials” and “agendas” of those about whom she wrote and with whom he apparently disagrees, rather than to address the merits of her claim — a time-honored Washington political maneuver. 

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    Gratitude and a plea

    This is a heartfelt thanks to members and leaders of Junior Girl Scout Troop No. 10027 for your outstanding beautification project between the Aquatic Center and the canyon trails! It is a wonderful improvement to the area and your efforts are greatly appreciated.

    How grand it would be if this special spot, and all other areas of our community, could remain free of litter for all to enjoy! 

    Once a week, on the daily morning dog walk, I collect a full bag of trash behind the Aquatic Center and on the trail that begins below the parking lot. (I know others do this as well.) By the evening walk more trash has already accumulated. The abundance of bottles, cans, plastic items and paper products of every description, which are seen along our streets and trails, does not support the local belief that we are a highly intelligent community. 

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    Why does it always take a highly-public, media-driven feeding frenzy and catastrophe like the Veteran’s Administration’s “waiting list” story to get our elected officials in Washington, D.C., off the dime to do what they should have been doing all along? Serious problems within the VA medical system are nothing new. It’s been building up for some time.

    Sen. Tom Udall, in his sixth year as a U.S. senator, is not newly advised to these problems, regardless of what his public relations spin says. He and his staff had to have known, in detail, the difficulties faced by many veterans seeking health care, but it took a national exposure of a systemic tragedy to get them to at least appear fully engaged.

    That’s shameful incompetence. Just as much as the senior administrators who are guilty of creating this debacle.

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    Heartworm disease is transmitted to an animal through the bite of a mosquito carrying heartworm larvae, which eventually settle into the blood vessels of the lungs or within the heart itself. 

    Although cats are less susceptible than dogs to heartworm infection, our feline friends are still very much at risk of heartworm disease. 

    “Cats have some innate resistance to infection, and the worms seem to prefer living in dogs rather than in cats,” said Dr. Audrey Cook, an associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “In addition, the tests we traditionally use in dogs, such as the Knotts test and heartworm antigen tests, are not very sensitive in cats as the number of worms is much lower.”

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    The news media is being overwhelmed with accusations of “bad science” and “misinterpreted data” when dealing with the production and consumption of fossil-fuel/renewable/nuclear energy.

    Since 1974, the autonomous International Energy Association (IEA), organization has worked diligently to generate unbiased reliable/affordable/conventional/renewable energy-related data for its member/cooperating-non-member countries. Between them the 30-plus member IEA countries account for just under half of the world’s energy generation/consumption and include United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Korean Republic, Spain and United Kingdom. Cooperating/nonmembers include Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Russia; just under the remaining half of global generation/consumption. 

    Its reports are utilized globally by all the major energy companies, academia and environmentalists.

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    School is out, the temperatures are high, and the days are long. For children and pets alike, this makes taking a dip in your backyard pool seem more attractive than ever. Although your children may be competent swimmers, do not assume that your pets are. Preventing pool accidents for your pets takes adequate planning and careful supervision. 

    Limiting their access to the pool is an easy and effective way to prevent accidental fall-ins. “A good gate will be the best way to limit pet access to the pool,” said Dr. James Barr, assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “Keeping the door closed at all times is important for children and dogs alike, as is only allowing them to be in the pool area supervised.”

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    More support for Dr. Lindberg

    Over the past few weeks, I have seen two letters in the Los Alamos Monitor regarding the termination of Dr. Peter Lindberg’s contract with the Los Alamos Medical Center (LAMC). Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in males after skin cancer. 

    Each year, more than 186,000 males learn they have prostate cancer and more than 3,500 die from its advanced forms. Dr. Lindberg is New Mexico’s leading physician in understanding and treating this cancer. He is recognized throughout the country as one of the leading practicioners. 

    Dr. Lindberg reads extensively to keep up with research, treatment statistics and United States physicians diagnosing and treating prostrate cancer. He also publishes an occasional newsletter describing advances in this medical area.

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    The “fog of war” is a reference to the moral chaos on the battlefield as well as the rampant confusion. Individuals kill others for no other reason than that they are ordered to. Things deemed unambiguously bad in civilian life are authorized and even lauded in war. The killing and maiming of acknowledged innocents — in particular children and the elderly — is excused as “collateral damage.”

    No wonder that some individuals thrust into this morass sometimes act differently from how soldiers behave in romantic war movies. The hell of war is internal, as well as external.

    We might remember this as the story of Sgt. Bowe Robert Bergdahl unfolds.

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    From 2009-2012, Department of Justice data shows American taxpayers paid nearly $53 million in so-called environmental groups’ legal fees. 

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has asked for a six-month delay in making a final determination on whether to list the Gunnison sage grouse as an endangered species — moving the decision past the November elections. An E&E report states: Colorado elected leaders “fear the listing could have significant economic impacts.” 

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    Column as I see ’em …

    Lynne Higdon should know better.

    Higdon, a teacher, blasted this newspaper Tuesday in the letter to the editor for publishing the name of a student arrested for allegedly threatening to shoot fellow students and presumably school staff.

    Higdon compares the student’s alleged threat — he’s 18, which also makes him an adult — to those who make but have no intention of carrying out the threat of punching someone.

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    At 45 just words, the First Amendment has been a bulwark in protecting unpopular speech in the United States for more than 200 years. Whether that speech involved flag burning, the KKK, or unpopular political speech, the Amendment’s clear and concise statement that “Congress shall make no law…” has been an exceptionally-American statement of principal.

    The First Amendment remains a clear statement by the American Founders that “democracy” or popular rule must be restrained in our republican form of government. Popular speech needs no special protections.

    From reading the media these days, one might believe that political speech undertaken by the Koch Brothers, the Tea Party, and other politically-active Americans are less popular than the KKK. None other than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has called the Koch’s “un-American” for engaging in the political process. 

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    Just over 100 years ago, New Mexico joined the union, becoming the 47th state. A region rich with culture and history, New Mexico boasts a proud tradition of support for civil rights.

    Nearly 50 years prior to achieving statehood, New Mexico (in 1866) repealed its anti-miscegenation laws that prohibited marriage between blacks and whites. Three decades after New Mexico did become a state, 34 states still had laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

    You’ve got to be proud to live in a state that was 82 years ahead of the rest of the country in civil liberties.

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    In the May 4 editorial “Mora County’s drilling ban, moral high ground or moronic?” the author is rightfully concerned about Mora County property owner’s rights to be able to have a legitimate say in how they might use their land to derive income. 

    Additionally and unquestionably New Mexico and the United States/rest of the world’s energy suppliers and distributors require energy-resources and distribution capabilities to enable them to a) earn a reasonable and fair profit and b) supply their customers with enough energy to support their food production/manufacturing/transportation/social and personal needs too.

  •  Spring arts and crafts fair a success

    The hard work of many dedicated volunteers resulted in a successful Northern New Mexico Spring Arts and Crafts Fair. It was a fantastic day with perfect weather, giving people the opportunity to visit with friends and mingle among the booths. In addition to the Los Alamos Arts Council, the fair benefited from the efforts of RSVP members who posted flyers around Los Alamos before the fair. 

    We also wish to thank LA County Parks Dept. for mowing and trimming the grounds around Fuller Lodge, as well as cleaning up trash during the fair. Many people commented about how nice the area looked for the fair. It truly was beautiful. 

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    The outcome of two lawsuits that are pending against Mora County and its Community Water Rights and Local Self-Government Ordinance have the potential to impact an individual’s ability to use and profit from his or her own land — not just in New Mexico, but from coast-to-coast. 

    One year ago, in a 2 to 1 vote, Mora County commissioners made headlines by becoming the first in the country to totally outlaw all development of hydrocarbons. 

    County Commissioner John Olivas, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners believes “the ordinance is defensible” and claims the county is “ready for the fight.” 

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    News of this spring’s deadly mudslide in Oso, Wash., fades slowly from the public mind. 

    Oso is barely a mini-dot on the map. Yet the microcosm of events that met there reflects the curious array of forces that governs the whole nation. 

    The Oso story has two most intriguing parts: the persistent powers of nature and the stubborn traits of humans.    

    The persistency of nature set the stage in Oso. The hillside that swept away homes and lives had slid on eight or nine occasions going back to 1949, including a huge slide in 2006. 

    The site of the repeated slides had its own colorful name — Steelhead Haven Landslide — and a local nickname — “Slide Hill.”

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    In Election Year 2014, nothing said means much because it’s all about money. Thank you, Supreme Court.

    Take the most recent political raspberries, for example.

    Mother Jones, a lefty magazine, ran an unflattering story about Gov. Susana Martinez with four-year-old taped statements from the governor and her campaign staff. Yawn. The ignorance and arrogance revealed aren’t surprising — it was apparent in her campaign — but who hasn’t said things in private that don’t look good in headlines?

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    New Mexico is an enchanting land that finds itself bereft of leadership in a time of economic woes.

    Earlier this year the Washington Post put this headline above one of its stories: “Population growth in New Mexico approaching zero — and other bad signs.” In the three and a-half months since that story, there have been other headlines in other publications citing more recent economic numbers documenting that New Mexico is actually losing population and losing jobs.

    But the crux of the original Post story remains the same: New Mexico has the greatest income inequality in the nation. Even more chilling, it has the greatest increase in income inequality. It also has one of the least prepared workforces in the U.S.

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    While we do our very best to keep a close eye on Fido, he tends to let curiosity get the best of him when engaging in an unsupervised stroll around the neighborhood. When this happens, you’ll be thankful that you just invested in that slightly-overpriced-but-irresistibly-cute dog collar, personalized ID tags, and microchip.

    “ID tags can help with identification in case they get lost or run away,” said Dr. Stacy Eckman, a lecturer at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “It lets people know that the dog is owned and is very helpful when trying to reunite the animal with the owner.”

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    The U.S. is sending about 600 ground troops to Eastern Europe ... to ‘reassure’ allies there as Washington resumes its campaign of pressure on Russia over the Ukraine standoff.” — Politico.

    How many American parents would proudly send their sons and daughters off to kill or be killed in Slovyansk or Donetsk? How many young men and women aspire to be the first American to fall in Kramatorsk?

    Those towns are in eastern Ukraine. President Barack Obama says the “military option” — war, that is — is not on the table in his effort to oppose Russia in the Ukraine crisis, but can we trust him? As pressure mounts on him from America’s war hawks, what will he do when sanctions fail to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to acquiesce? Will the military option then find its way onto that infamous table?