•    There are more people hungry in New Mexico, and all over the U.S., than since the Great Depression.

    “I always thought people on public assistance were lazy, but it helps me know I can feed my kids,” said Tyrone Mangold, a laid-off jackhammer operator in Ohio quoted in a recent The New York Times investigative report on hunger.

  •      SANTA FE – Lt. Gov. Diane Denish has unveiled fiscal reform proposals designed to save New Mexico millions of dollars. It is a three-part proposal. She advocates an end to double-dipping, in which retirees return to work and collect a paycheck in addition to their state retirement check.

  • Our legislators are currently debating the future of healthcare in the United States, but behind the healthcare bills is the deeper question if we really need the government’s involvement in every area of our lives. When addressing that issue today, we must first remember how it has been answered in the past. Universal healthcare is a recent phenomenon, but the US is one of the few remaining developed nations without it. This is probably due to our founders, and the distrust they had of government.

  • Wondering how to deck the halls with GREEN gift ideas this holiday season? At PEEC we brainstormed our favorite green gifts and came up with a list to share.

  • SANTA FE — New Mexico voters are smarter than many people think. There has been talk recently that no House member is going to vote for a tax increase in the coming 2010 Legislature because all 70 must stand for reelection next year.

    Essentially they are saying voters won’t stand for a tax increase no matter what the reason. And yet two polls in the past month indicate a majority of registered voters say they support higher taxes to get us through this period of economic crisis.

  • The latest unemployment numbers won’t cheer your heart, which will surprise nobody. It’s hard to spin that data and yet a new study takes a slightly different view: New Mexico is better able than many states to dig itself out.

    The jobless rate edged up from 7.7 to 7.9 percent for October, still below the nation’s 10.2 percent. We’re squarely in the middle, ranking-wise.

  • SANTA FE — On Pearl Harbor Day, Dec. 7, 1941 New Mexico’s National Guard troops deployed to the Philippines knew the Japanese would attack them the same day.

    They had been watching reconnaissance planes fly over every day, but had orders not to fire. Our reconnaissance planes saw the huge buildup on Formosa. Japan had captured everything to the north, including China. The Philippines were the last major obstacle on the way to Australia.

  • As we approach the season of good cheer, count me among those who wish members of New Mexico’s Legislature the happiest of holidays. If they’re smart they’ll sock a little of that happiness away so as to have something to draw on in the weeks ahead.

    They’ll need it.

    Only 18 days after the New Year dawns, state lawmakers convene at the Roundhouse for their 2010 legislative session.

  • Cancer. It’s a horrible thing. The very idea of it frightens people. Even the word is threatening. Some people call it the C-word as if careful not to say it out loud, either out of courtesy to those who have it or perhaps fear of getting it themselves (like knocking on wood). When someone contracts cancer, it consumes his or her life.

  • Have you ever opened the paper and winced because you saw a headline saying that one of your favorite businesses was closing?  Did you feel like your quality of life had just been diminished? The 3/50 Project is a national effort promoted in Los Alamos by the Chamber of Commerce to help avoid such unpleasant surprises.

  • The Global Economy has reduced prices and accelerated trade and development throughout the world; however, it has also caused massive relocations of jobs and wealth that threaten U.S. stability. Without reforms, the U.S. will continue its spiral into economic mediocrity and bankruptcy.

  • My old friend and work colleague Brian was an academically qualified scientific researcher before he retired. He spent 55-plus years performing, supervising and managing a selection of scientific endeavors and programs sponsored by the Western world governments, industry and philanthropists during the last half of the 20th century.  He worked in England and all over the USA and still travels extensively to Europe and the Far and Middle East.

  • Bruce and Alice King came as a set. Once one piece was gone, the other wasn’t very functional. They campaigned together as a two-fer long before Bill and Hillary picked up on it.

    Alice was Bruce’s campaign treasurer and he never spent a cent without her approval. One night when I pulled out a tattered check to pay for his book, “Cowboy in the Roundhouse,” Bruce mentioned that Alice also gave him only one check at a time.

  • Regarding the publication of the Police Beat on the front page of the Monitor, one could ask, “What are the Monitor editors thinking?” First, we were treated to a front-page Police Beat, which was once published inside the paper and now we get full-color pictures of the offenders along with a description of their offenses.  Are there no local, national or international newsworthy tidbits that could be substituted, or must we put up with such a misuse of the front page?  I would rather find the Beat inside the paper than have it splashed on the front page.

  • I read that Los Alamos has some 500 “poverty level” people or families.  I enjoyed a related observation that a city as rich as ours should be able to do something.

    I don’t understand some things.  The overall question is whether these individuals or families are below poverty level because of unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances, or whether they are just suffering the consequences of bad decisions.  It would be helpful to have a lot more data about the situation:

  • Public discourse is a strange thing. It clanks, whirrs and blows steam. As it hacks and grinds away, making an assembly line of ideas to choose from.

         Discourse operates this way on any topic worth our time. Take for example the discipline of engineering.

         Engineering does things to the air and water, some for better and some for worse. Practices have changed in recent decades. At the same time, the old principles apply even more in new situations.

  • Los Alamos National Laboratory employees’ exceptional spirit of giving and generosity can be seen throughout the year in their participation in Laboratory community drives, campaigns and volunteerism.

    For example, the recently completed 2010 employee-giving campaign raised a record-breaking $1.3 million in donations. With the Los Alamos National Security, LLC match, this community investment will provide more than $2.3 million in services and resources for children, senior citizens and families.

  • There is one glaring error in a recent editorial cartoon by Trevor. He shows two women (out of five members) on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. In reality, only one of the 10 members is female.

    This may account for the cavalier attitude of the task force recommendation that regular mammograms for women between the ages of 40 and 49 be discontinued. It appears that fewer lives are saved in this age group than in women over 50 whose breast cancer is diagnosed through regular mammography. They also recommend mammograms only every two years for the older group.

  • A new evaluation of fast reactors and recycling spent fuel is badly needed; the time to start is now. To recycle spent light water reactor fuel and use the product to fuel a fast neutron reactor will solve at least two major problems – adequate electricity (with no emissions) for the indefinite future (millennia) and elimination of the current red herring, spent light water reactor fuel disposal. The power stations of the future, equipped with fast neutron reactors, burn everything – plutonium does not accumulate.

  • With Gov. Bill Richardson following his usual management approach to tough matters – leave town – the Legislative Finance Committee gathered in Santa Fe Aug. 28 for the latest report on what might be done to maintain the solvency of state government.

    The LFC got a first look at proposals to deal with the state’s shortfalls.

    Right. That’s plural, meaning two budget years, the previous one and the current one.