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Opinion

  • Thomas Jefferson had so many serious interests and accomplishments that’s it’s difficult to name even half of them. Besides helping to found a nation, he analyzed the gospels, started a university, promoted fine dining and bought half our continent from the French.

    He also squeezed in a few hours now and then to theorize about the origin of some peculiar bones dug out of the earth. (That bit of work made him a cousin to all of us geologists – or so I like to think.)

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    By JAY MILLER

    Syndicated Columnist

    SANTA FE -- The pen is mightier than the sword. The adage has been used for decades, especially by journalists. It makes us feel good. But does anyone believe it? Certainly today's warmongers don't.

    Evidently President Barack Obama doesn't, either. Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy have been told to leave their swords at home for graduation ceremonies at which Obama will speak. But cell phones and texting will be allowed.

  • FRIED LIGHT: The tale of the tape

    I recently finished listening to a 48-tape history of the Roman Republic and Empire.

    Since I spend a good part of my day reading news and documents, non-fiction for some reason is harder for me to read as a recreational pursuit, unless I become obsessed with a whole subject for a time, in which case I dive into several books at once.

    When the recession/depression struck, I was inexplicably compelled to read about the Renaissance, maybe because subconsciously I was trying to get a tip on a happy ending.

  • Friday night at the ski hill was another in the series of summer concerts put on by the county and various businesses in the community.

    People gather to relax, meet with friends and listen to some great music. Friday night was no different.

    The night air at Pajarito was cool and crisp and the music rocking.  All was well.

    Until the state police decided to make an appearance and clearly demonstrate that we have lost our collective minds.

  • By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

    These are the longest days of the year, with the sun higher in the sky than at any other time. Like many people living in the northern strip of the country, I used to spend a good bit of time worshipping the sun each June. I didn’t use any sunscreen because I found that after a few days outdoors, my exposed parts were red-brown – and my chronic joint pains were cut in half.

  • While billion-dollar swindles like Bernard Madoff’s make the national news, most investment fraud is a local crime committed close to home.  In most cases, the victims are friends, business acquaintances and relatives of the perpetrator.

    Such was the case with Henry Rivera, a Taos con artist who scammed more than 50 New Mexicans out of millions of dollars before he was indicted on more than two dozen counts of securities fraud in 1994.

  • During the 2009 legislative session, New Mexico policymakers faced some of the most challenging budgetary times in recent memory. That fact led to reductions of approximately $450 million to the General Fund from about $6 billion to just over $5.5 billion.

  • Ken was a close friend. Like us, he was an (earlier) graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, and we had similar interests. Because we were out of town, we were unable to attend his memorial service. Had we been there, we would have shown the attached photograph, from one of the many UFO conferences to which we had taken Ken. For your information, Ken is the individual on the left (we think).


  • Dear Editor,

    The council made the right decision, given the current financial crisis, not to raise our sewer rates at this time.  Salary raises are delayed, property taxes are higher, and many empty homes are waiting for better times. Our utilities, however, face a predicament. The White Rock sewage plant needs replacement. The utilities customer base is small and is unlikely to expand soon, and, in addition, we are using less water because of already high prices. Under these circumstances sewer rates must eventually rise.

  • Dear Editor,

    It was with great sadness we read your June 9 article “L.A. police cadet charged with DWI.” It is unfortunate that cadet Daniel LaDuke made the serious mistake of driving while under the influence. While we don’t condone this lapse of judgment, we feel your readers should know a little about the Dan LaDuke we knew when he was a councilor at the YMCA after-school program (which our son attends) immediately prior to joining the Los Alamos Police Department.

  • Well, it’s official. New Mexico’s multimillion-dollar spaceport is moving ahead toward construction in the southern desert, a big step for commercial space development and tourists who will suit up for $200,000 suborbital flights.

    Put me down for one of those. What a bargain.

    Of course, this belies the fact that the high price of a ticket killed the Concord. But we’re sure that there will be hundreds of folks ready to put down a couple of hundred grand to liftoff.

  • The council’s action in granting some staff a bonus - or pay allowance or what you want to call it - is cause for pause.

    This seems to us to be the wrong solution to the problem and we have to agree with Robert Gibson who voted against the idea.

    Even the chair, Michael Wheeler, is quoted in voicing concerns, altough he voted for the plan.

    As best as we can understand this, it seems that when the council approved its recent budget it did so failing to take into account a group of employees who have hit the top of their pay scale and can’t get a raise.

  • If a hen and a half, lays an egg and a half, in a day and a half, how many eggs do six hens lay in seven days?

    John Paulos’ book, “Innumeracy,” cites a story about a weatherman who was discussing the chances of rain in the coming weekend: “Well folks, there’s a 50 percent chance of rain on Saturday and 50 percent chance of rain on Sunday.  So it looks like there’s a 100 percent chance of rain this weekend!”  

  • Dear Editor,

    The June 12 guest column by Marita K. Noon titled  “Hypocrisy that knows no bounds” should have been a paid  advertisement by Big Oil.  I suspect that she was not driven to her  keyboard in response to President Obama’s comments about the CAFÉ  Standards (auto fuel efficiency standards), but by her funders of  Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy, a nonprofit organization advocating for citizens rights to energy freedom. 

  • Dear Editor,

    “They are not long, the days of wine and roses/out of a misty dream/our path emerges for a while then closes/ within a dream.” Vitae Summa Brevis, Ernest Dowson, 1896

     “Preserve our history” Los Alamos County Strategic Goals, 2005.

     There is a day, which now exists only as an old article in The Atom (July 1967) with old black and white photos; as a weed grown tracery of missed opportunities and the road not taken; as wind across an empty expanse of grass.  But oncemponcem time..............

  • Science is full of unexpected discoveries, some coming at decidedly awkward times.

    Just as there can be a breakthrough in negotiating the end to a war that comes to everyone’s surprise on a major holiday, or intense spurts in which a writer completes a book in a week, there are times a scientist may feel awash in troubles but then see the world afresh as the facts fall into place in a new way.

  • Mining underpins our way of life. Nature may be the champion excavator, if one considers sculpted peaks and canyons. But with man-made mines like the Berkeley pit in Butte, Mont., man gets an “A” for effort. And then too, mines linger on, because they are frequently not adequately cleaned up afterward, even in violation of regulations and statutes.

  • New Mexico is so often near the bottom of any national ranking on child well-being, that we find ourselves in the sad position of saying “thank goodness for Mississippi,” or “thank goodness for Louisiana,” because without two impoverished states, we’d more often than not end up in last place.

  • The county council’s rejection of the utilities department’s request for a sewer rate hike was the right thing to do.

    In a 4-3 vote Tuesday night the council rejected a proposed ordinance that would have increased local sewer rates. This is not the time to be burdening people with more expenses.

    And it is not like the county is hurting for money, they are pretty much swimming in it right now.

    The increase would have provided some  $300,000 of revenue for maintenance and building cash reserves.

  • The theme of Friday’s event commemorating the 60th anniversary of Los Alamos was one of community.

    This is a theme we can agree with.

    But to be honest, we are not sure why the 60th anniversary celebration is so important. Usually a big anniversary would be the 50th or the 75th and so on.

    And there was a very big splash made in 1999 – the 50th anniversary. That makes more sense to us.

    So why this day and year are being played up we are not sure.