• The term “citizen scientist” is in vogue these days. Citizen scientists are defined as volunteers, many without specific scientific training, who perform or manage research-related tasks such as observation, measurement, compilation or computation.

  • The American people can hear it coming. They can hear its massive engine revving up in the distance. It doesn’t guzzle gas, but it does have a voracious appetite — for your money.

    That’s right, it’s the Great American Tax Machine and it’s on the way. There’s seemingly little that can be done to stop it. In fact, the machine has already pillaged places like California, Ohio and New York City. It is just a matter of time before it rolls through where you live.

  • SANTA FE — The Super Bowl has become too big to ignore, even during what may be the most important legislative session ever. Lawmakers certainly don’t ignore the Super Bowl.

    Normally legislators put in a hard day’s work on the next to last Sunday of a legislative session. But when a Super Bowl falls on that day, don’t expect any floor sessions or committee meetings.

  • Here’s an axiom for this year: Cliches and platitudes will grow in inverse proportion to the state’s budget.

    We will “pick the low-hanging fruit,” “tighten our belts,” “share the pain” and “bite the bullet.”

    As legislators debate all the ways for the state to pay its bills this year, some are taking a longer view. Even without an economic downturn, there’s no way the state could maintain the trajectory of its spending. It’s time, they say, to restructure state government.

  • My love is like an artichoke.  It may sound strange, but true.  I keep the outer leaves for me.  But the heart I give to you.

    Ah, love is in the air and men of all ages become poets extraordinaire. I better keep my day job, eh?

  • I just read in the Monitor that the county council has decided to build the County Municipal Building on Site 6. I commend those who voted for it. I understand the vote of those drawn to put it back where it stood. I thank all the councilors for not burdening the citizenry further as would have occurred if the third choice presented had been selected.

  • Almost 10 years ago, our country was coping with a series of corporate accountability crises in the wake of Enron, World Com and other breakdowns in organizational governance. Widespread public outcry led to responses through our legal system and in Congress. There were hundreds of lawsuits in an effort to retrieve squandered funds, and lawmakers responded by passing the Sarbanes-Oxley act. The time for New Mexico to pass similar legislation is now.

  • SANTA FE — And the gubernatorial race is in full swing. With the somewhat surprising entry of Pete Domenici, Jr., candidates for governor moved into full campaign mode.

    The four Republican candidates already in the race were reported to be none too pleased with the development, and even presumed Democratic nominee, Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, took a shot saying we can’t afford a governor who has a name but no ideas.

  • I wasn’t expecting a brochure with a definition of science in the waiting room of my doctor’s office. But there it was.

    “The aim of science is not to open the door to infinite wisdom, but to set a limit to infinite error,” the leaflet stated in a bold quotation.

  • I have been a frequent pedestrian in Los Alamos for more than 20 years. My family also loves and rides Atomic City Transit several times a week. We live just a few blocks from where November’s very sad accident took place. All that has been written about the accident in this column has neglected to mention one thing – the crosswalks in this town are the most dangerous places to cross the streets.

  • Back in the day, it was determined that Los Alamos High School needed a top flight Latin teacher. Thing was, Mrs. Fries had left the east coast for somewhere in the Southwest and no one knew where “somewhere” was going to be.

  • Going on four years now, lobbyists for New Mexico’s oil and gas industry have said the “Pit Rule” should be based on sound science.

    If they wanted to be judged on facts, they would supply a decent sampling of information. Instead, their pitch crumbles into raw politics as other information pops out in print.

  • Former Gov. Garrey Carruthers once ranked Maralyn Budke alongside our “finest governors, senators and congressmen” in terms of her public service “contributions to our state.”  

    I knew of Maralyn Budke’s lustrous reputation well before we first met on the morning of Nov. 5, 1986.

  • Members of Congress play a central role in our lives. They shape our health-care system, make crucial decisions about the U.S. economy, and represent the hopes and interests of every American in Washington. Given this fact, I’m always surprised that relatively little attention is focused on examining closely whether someone serving in or running for Congress has the personal attributes it takes to be an effective member of the institution. If someone’s behavior is shady or unsavory, that will make the news.

  • SANTA FE – What   will the next 20 days bring? Republican leaders say all $650 million of the deficit should be covered by cuts in government.

    Gov. Bill Richardson has ruled out increasing any of the taxes he has cut during the first seven years of his administration.

    Some Democrats say all of the deficit must be covered by additional taxes. Their reasoning is that since taxes were cut by a billion dollars during the good years of the Richardson administration, they should be reinstated now that the economy has turned bad.

  • A couple years ago, a Milwaukee man was charged with discharging a shotgun in a rural area. His lawnmower wouldn’t start and in a fit of anger, he shot it. Yes, he brutally murdered his lawnmower. As the man approached with intent to kill, the lawnmower’s fate was sealed. Left-wing liberal mentality had legislated an unreasonable waiting period for gun ownership and hence the defenseless lawnmower could not fight back.

  • Let’s take a different look at the issue of global warming, or better stated, climate change. First a few observations:

    It is undeniable that coal and oil deposits underground had locked up vast amounts of carbon, and to support human activities they are being brought up and burned in enormous quantities, thus releasing the carbon into the atmosphere.

  • For approximately 10 years, I have had a standing luncheon engagement at a popular restaurant in the Mari-Mac Shopping Center.  I used to drive right up and park a half block or less away for a quick and convenient lunch.  But over the years things have changed and my friends and I have a hard time finding a place anywhere near the restaurant row at Mari-Mac to park. The problem built up slowly.

  • The central political battle of our time is between the public sector, public sector unions in particular, and the private sector.

    The battle is over “who defines the work and institutions that make a nation thrive and grow,” in the elegant words of columnist Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal. Easterners seem unhappy with the public sector dominance. Scott Brown’s Senate victory in Massachusetts is the prime example.

    New Mexico’s public sector continues winning.

  • Governor Richardson seems adamant in asserting that whatever tax hikes he pushes through during the 2010 legislative session will be “temporary.” This promise from a lame-duck governor is ridiculous on its face and is an impossible promise for him to keep. Since this is his final legislative session in office, he won’t even be around to determine whether the hikes he enacts will be temporary or not.