http://www.lamonitor.com/todaysopinions/rss.xml en The Atomic Cafe http://www.lamonitor.com/content/atomic-cafe <p> Next! What will you have today, sir?<br /> Well, I&rsquo;d like the implosion special with a 400 kiloton yield, and an extra shot of tactical uranium, please.<br /> Very good. And would you like to be fried with that?<br /> So, this Aug. 6 is the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. How time flies when you&rsquo;re having cold wars and hot proliferation parties!&nbsp; Seventy years. What to get as a gift? 25 years is silver and 50 years is golden, so would plutonium be appropriate for 70 years?<br /> The question asked every year is, &ldquo;Should we have dropped the bomb?&rdquo;<br /> When discussing past wars, people literally go to battle with each other.<br /> The atomic bomb is of particular interest in our community, for reasons that escape me at the moment. The trouble with debating this issue is that for most people, it&rsquo;s something they&rsquo;ve only read about in a book.<br /> Myself, I still think the Diadochi&rsquo;s treatment of elephants in the Battle of Ipsus, 301 BC., was inexcusable. I&rsquo;m still waiting for a formal apology from them!<br /> World War II began in 1939, lasting six years with 113 countries participating or directly involved. Over 50 million people worldwide were killed.<br /> Comprehensive plan needed for open space ordinances http://www.lamonitor.com/content/comprehensive-plan-needed-open-space-ordinances <p> The reason that the Parks and Recreation Board is hearing complaints is that voice and sight control of dogs does not work.<br /> Revise the animal ordinance to delete Sec. 6-4, and many problems will disappear.<br /> When one class of people is given more freedom than another, the ordinance does not protect everyone.<br /> This policy has been the problem since it was created.<br /> I was appointed as the advisor (non-voting) to the animal ordinance revision committee that created the 2006 ordinance.<br /> These are my observations of that process: The committee meetings were closed to the public. I was not allowed to lead a public discussion of pet owner responsibilities. The previous ordinance, as well as the last revision, were written by the same person.<br /> There needs to be real representative membership by a committee of users and experts. As a result of the process, the rules were written to give domestic dogs more freedom (voice and sight control), as well as access to county space with a &ldquo;trust me&rdquo; policy inferred.<br /> I was not in favor of the amended ordinance that designated that privilege (Section 6-4) because it conflicts with Sec. 6-3, which requires leashes for animals off the owner&rsquo;s property.<br /> Voice and sight control is not considered a valid means of restraint of dogs in either Santa Fe or Albuquerque. The dam that never got built http://www.lamonitor.com/content/dam-never-got-built <p> There might have been a dam, a mile and a-half of stored water and a new chance at sustainability &mdash; though &ldquo;sustainability&rdquo; was not in our vocabulary then &mdash; with thriving truck gardens, lush orchards and a much greener valley.<br /> Or something else entirely. It depends whom you believed.<br /> Indian Camp Dam is the dam that never was. Seeing the current conflict over a proposed dam in the Gila, I looked back at the stories I wrote in the mid-1970s, when Indian Camp Dam was the dominant controversy in Taos.<br /> Years earlier, led by U.S. Sen. Dennis Chavez, Congress passed a law creating the San Juan-Chama project.<br /> The project diverted water from the San Juan River, a tributary of the Colorado, across the Continental Divide into the Chama River, from which it flows into the Rio Grande.<br /> The Chama joins the Rio Grande near Espa&ntilde;ola. Communities farther north did not have access to that water, so the legislation authorized a dam to be built in Taos County.<br /> The dam was to be sited in the foothills upstream from Ranchos de Taos, along the Rio Grande del Rancho, the stream that runs near the famous St. Francis Church.<br /> Businesses find evolutionary path to profitability http://www.lamonitor.com/content/businesses-find-evolutionary-path-profitability <p> One obstacle to improvement in a typical American company is the assumption that change requires months of planning, major expense and a work stoppage or slowdown. Then there&rsquo;s the fear that old habits and practices will slowly return as people forget what they learned amid the pressures and demands of running a business. &nbsp;<br /> Even when the need for change is obvious, such companies often resist fixing something until it&rsquo;s utterly broken.<br /> An alternative, nonreactive view embraces change as a continual process of incremental improvements and tweaks &mdash; not as an exercise in obsessive compulsion but as an adaptive approach to reducing waste-related costs, eliminating inefficiencies and optimizing competitiveness.<br /> That perspective is the Japanese system of kaizen.<br /> Change is good<br /> As the Japanese rebuilt their economy from scratch after World War II, they invested heavily in their manufacturing and banking sectors and in the education and training of a disciplined, sophisticated and technically savvy workforce. Their manufacturing sector became so efficient that it challenged America&rsquo;s status as the world&rsquo;s largest economy in the 1980s.<br /> The first nuclear fallout was in N.M. http://www.lamonitor.com/content/first-nuclear-fallout-was-nm <p> Part 2 of 2<br /> <br /> For days after the first atomic test on July 16, 1945, a powdery ash floated from the sky, coating everything in the Tularosa Basin, including cattle and crops. Then it rained, washing the stuff into wells and water sources.<br /> Ranchers noticed that their cattle turned white or partially white. Family pets similarly exposed had partially white coats. A rancher said his beard stopped growing for a few months, when it began growing again, it was white.<br /> Locals visited Trinity Site, walked around the cavity left behind, picked up the green glass that was sand before the blast, and looked at the twisted remains of the tower that suspended the bomb.<br /> Immediately after the blast, as a red haze descended, scientists and military personnel scrambled to evacuate.<br /> North of Trinity Site, men waited with vehicles to evacuate civilians, but radiation readings indicated they were safe, so far as they knew then.<br /> Photographs taken two months later show Manhattan Project leader J. Robert Oppenheimer and other scientists, unprotected, examining the tower&rsquo;s remnants.<br /> Today, knowing what we know, it&rsquo;s surprising how casual everyone was. It was the world&rsquo;s first nuclear fallout, and New Mexico was the recipient.<br /> 10 ways to become financially independent http://www.lamonitor.com/content/10-ways-become-financially-independent <p> After the 2008 economic crisis, many people assumed they would never be able to reach true financial independence &mdash; the ability to live comfortably off one&rsquo;s savings and investments with no debt whatsoever.<br /> However, individuals willing to use their time horizon to plan and adjust their spending, savings and investment behaviors might just find financial independence is possible. Here are 10 ideas to get started.<br /> 1. Visualize first, then plan. Start by considering what your vision of financial independence actually looks like &mdash; and then get a reality check. Qualified financial experts can examine your current financial circumstances, listen to what financial independence means to you and help you craft a plan. The path to financial independence may be considerably different at age 20 than it is at age 50. The more time you have to save and invest generally produces a better outcome. But at any age, start with a realistic picture of your options.<br /> 2. Budget. Budgeting &mdash; the process of tracking income, subtracting expenses and deciding how to divert the difference to your goals each month &mdash; is the essential first task of personal finance. If you haven&rsquo;t learned to budget, you need to do so.<br /> Spirits inhabit sites of our revolution http://www.lamonitor.com/content/spirits-inhabit-sites-our-revolution <p> This year brought the 35th edition of &ldquo;The Capitol Fourth,&rdquo; the public broadcasting show that runs twice each July 4. &ldquo;The Capitol Fourth&rdquo; celebrates the United States.<br /> To start this year, Barry Manilow walked onto the stage, took his place at the piano and sang, &ldquo;America the Beautiful.&rdquo; He followed with his own &ldquo;Let Freedom Ring.&rdquo; The song&rsquo;s chorus says, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a dream to build upon. We&rsquo;ll take the dream and pass it on and on and on, and let freedom sing, let freedom ring.&rdquo;<br /> The show included Tchaikovsky&rsquo;s 1812 Overture. The overture was accompanied by fireworks exploding in the sunset behind the Washington Monument, which was framed by flags.<br /> The usual 10-minute fireworks and music spectacular closed the show with a medley of Souza marches and &ldquo;Yankee Doodle Boy,&rdquo; from the musical &ldquo;Yankee Doodle Dandy.&rdquo;<br /> A few weeks ago, I mentioned our drive-by of historic sites in Massachusetts and Philadelphia.<br /> We went to Lexington and Concord, Old North Church and Paul Revere&rsquo;s house in Boston, and Independence Hall In Philadelphia. Spirits inhabit these places. Not ghosts, really, but a definite sense of events having happened.<br /> Today, Lexington and Concord mean the Minute Man National Historical Park.<br /> BPU to review SJGS Tuesday http://www.lamonitor.com/content/bpu-review-sjgs-tuesday <p> At its regular meeting on July 15, the Board of Public Utilities voted unanimously to approve and forward to the County Council for their approval the following five agreements related to the San Juan Generating Station (SJGS):<br /> <br /> 1. The San Juan Project Restructuring Agreement<br /> 2. The Amended and Restated Mine Reclamation and Trust Funds Agreement<br /> 3. The San Juan Decommissioning and Trust Funds Agreement<br /> 4. The Restructuring Amendment Amending and Restating the Amended and Restated San Juan Project Participation Agreement<br /> 5. The Exit Amendment Amending and Restating Amended and Restated San Juan Project Participation Agreement<br /> <br /> The county council will be reviewing these documents for possible approval at its regular meeting on Tuesday.<br /> The documents are agreements among the nine entities which currently participate in the SJGS and concern many issues. In particular, the agreements provide conditions for exiting from the plant in 2022, or how a decision for remaining in the plant post-2022 would be handled. Other topics include federal and state regulatory requirements, fuel supply sources, site and mine reclamation arrangements.<br />