http://www.lamonitor.com/todaysopinions/rss.xml en Let the immigrants stay http://www.lamonitor.com/content/let-immigrants-stay <p> Virtually all commentary about the influx of unaccompanied Central American children into the United States, which some say could rise to 90,000 this year, misses the point: no government has the moral authority to capture these kids and send them back to the miserable situations they have escaped.<br /> This claim will strike many people as outrageous. So I ask, where does government get the moral authority &mdash; I&rsquo;m not talking about legal power &mdash; to apprehend and detain human beings of any age who have committed aggression against no one? There is no such authority.<br /> These children are human beings. Whether they are coming here to be with family or to escape danger, they have the same natural rights as Americans have. Our rights can be expressed in many ways, but they boil down to just one: the right to be free from aggression.<br /> We have this right not by virtue of being American, but by virtue of being human. It is a natural, not national, right, so these young Hondurans, Salvadorans and Guatemalans have it too. Locking them up and deporting them should offend Americans, who claim to believe in the natural right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. (Did the Fourth of July have any meaning, or was it just a day off from work?)<br /> Troubled by Nugent statement http://www.lamonitor.com/content/troubled-nugent-statement <p> I am troubled by the Ted Nugent interview that was published in the Los Alamos Monitor&rsquo;s July 4 issue. The depiction of Nugent with a Native American headdress coupled with the statement needs to be addressed:<br /> &ldquo;I always played cowboys and Indians, and I was always the Indian,&rsquo; Nugent said when asked about his affinity toward Native Americans and their culture, as evidenced by him wearing native headdresses while performing on stage.&rdquo;<br /> This statement is troubling because there is no indication that the Los Alamos Monitor reached out to Tesuque Pueblo for their input concerning Nugent&rsquo;s offensive portrayal of Native American culture. It is important to remember that Nugent performed within the confines of the Camel Rock Casino, not in the Pueblo itself. And it does not mean that he was positively received by members of the Pueblo. Please be aware of such issues regarding our Pueblo neighbors in future published pieces.<br /> David Holtkamp<br /> Albuquerque<br /> &nbsp;</p> Beware of killer caterpillars http://www.lamonitor.com/content/beware-killer-caterpillars <p> I&rsquo;ve noticed that many Blue Spruce trees in White Rock are being eaten and killed by caterpillars. Perhaps same is occurring to other trees, and perhaps in Los Alamos too.<br /> Per the LA County Extension website: losalamosextension.nmsu.edu/problems.html), under &ldquo;Plant Problems of Los Alamos&rdquo; &ldquo;Conifer Pests&rdquo; &ldquo;Douglas Fir Tussock Moth&rdquo; link: ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05542.pdf):<br /> Caterpillars of the Douglas-fir tussock moth, Orgyia pseudotsugata (McDunnough), chew the needles of spruces, Douglas fir and true firs. During outbreaks they may cause extensive defoliation, with injury typically first concentrated at the top of the tree. Older caterpillars may rapidly defoliate a tree and tops may be killed, sometimes after only a single season of severe injury. Following repeated attacks over several seasons whole trees may die or be weakened to the point of inviting fatal attacks by bark beetles.<br /> If your Blue Spruce is turning brown, even if only at the very top, it probably has these caterpillars (even if you cannot see them), or had them and now has the more mature forms of the moth. Contact a tree expert or sprayer about whether your tree is savable, when to treat (now and/or next spring) and with what.<br /> Crawlix, nittles and quimps, oh my... http://www.lamonitor.com/content/crawlix-nittles-and-quimps-oh-my <p> One of my favorite scenes in &ldquo;Doc Hollywood&rdquo; is when Dr. Benjamin Stone (Michael J. Fox) gets frustrated and used the f-word. The deputy says, &ldquo;Watch your language, Doc! You&rsquo;re in the buckle of the Bible belt here. Try saying fudge or something.&rdquo;<br /> Stone replies, &ldquo;Fiddlesticks too strong?&rdquo;<br /> Now, what does define a word as being &ldquo;too strong&rdquo; of a curse? If you stub your toe in Mississippi and scream &ldquo;Fudge!&rdquo; would anyone within earshot not know what you&rsquo;re really saying?<br /> If you say one thing and mean another, you really just outsourcing the vulgarity. Like yelling &ldquo;Sugar!&rdquo; when you&rsquo;re late for work and as you are getting into your car, you see that you have a flat tire.<br /> People use &ldquo;sugar&rdquo; as a term of endearment to their sweetheart. So how do you really know what your honey is saying to you when he calls you that?<br /> Holy fudge! Can you believe that sugar? What a dagnabbit snickerdoodle!<br /> Let&rsquo;s face it, profanity is engrained in our culture. That&rsquo;s a really sugary thought when you think about it.<br /> Euphemisms aside, one of the worst offenders of potty-mouth syndrome is the movie industry. Even films geared towards children contain &ldquo;a little vulgarity.&rdquo;<br /> Man uses mentoring as way of giving back http://www.lamonitor.com/content/man-uses-mentoring-way-giving-back <p> When Chris McLaughlin was 5 years old, he underwent surgery to address partial hearing loss from an ear infection and resultant scar-tissue tumors.<br /> When he was 9, he lost most of his hearing after another surgery. Chris had been a &ldquo;cool&rdquo; kid with lots of friends and involved in sports, but when he showed up at school wearing hearing aids that in the technology-of-the-day resembled large music headphones, he felt different and was treated differently. Sports weren&rsquo;t fun wearing a large headset with a speaker box, and he couldn&rsquo;t hear without it. At first kids thought he was a rebel for wearing &ldquo;music headphones&rdquo; in school. Chris quickly adopted that persona. And then he began isolating himself.<br /> When Chris was 11, his father passed away. His mother mourned alone in her room and shortly afterward turned her attention to dating. Chris coped with his father&rsquo;s loss alone. And still dealing with being different, he took to keeping a book in his hand at school, or went to the library so that he didn&rsquo;t have to socialize.<br /> A perfect storm at our southern border http://www.lamonitor.com/content/perfect-storm-our-southern-border <p> The crisis that has erupted at our southern border is a direct and all-too-predictable result of the President Barack Obama administration&rsquo;s feckless immigration policies. But there is a deeper cause as well, one for which Republicans and religious conservatives share blame.<br /> Encouraged by the rumors they hear of Uncle Sam&rsquo;s leniency and largesse, an exodus of many tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America, joined by pregnant women and mothers bearing small children, is leaving that troubled region behind. They are pouring into our country not just unchecked, but indeed aided and abetted by the very same federal authorities &mdash; handing out bus tickets, no less! &mdash; who once sought to turn them back.<br /> Rather than avoiding Border Patrol agents, these illegal crossers are actually seeking them out. Who wouldn&rsquo;t? Welcome to Obama&rsquo;s version of a kinder and gentler &mdash; and lawless &mdash; America.<br /> What is the proximate cause of this upsurge? The Center for Immigration Studies&rsquo; Mark Krikorian puts it best: the administration&rsquo;s &ldquo;various de facto amnesties for illegal aliens and its permissive enforcement practices.&rdquo;<br /> Accion's Presto Loans offer quick, affordable credit to small businesses http://www.lamonitor.com/content/accions-presto-loans-offer-quick-affordable-credit-small-businesses <p> Small businesses in need of a quick, modest-sized loan often have little choice but to turn to high-cost, yet easy to access, alternative credit products. But New Mexico business borrowers have a new option.<br /> Accion had long been looking for ways to speed up the process of making microloans to borrowers who don&rsquo;t qualify for loans from traditional lenders and need a relatively small amount of money to take advantage of a time-sensitive business opportunity. Accion also wanted to help businesses respond quickly when faced with an urgent need.<br /> Almost a year ago, the nonprofit lender began piloting quick-turnaround &ldquo;Presto Loans&rdquo; of $8,000 or less with interested applicants. The pilot project was a success &mdash; with 285 loans totaling $939,000 &mdash; and Accion has recently cemented its offering of Presto Loans, moving toward a one-hour turnaround time from loan application to funding by the end of the year.<br /> The Presto Loan works by using technological advances to streamline loan processing, according to Metta Smith, director of lending and client relations at Accion&rsquo;s Albuquerque office.<br /> Changing faces of feminism: They're younger and more diverse http://www.lamonitor.com/content/changing-faces-feminism-theyre-younger-and-more-diverse <p> As I entered the hotel, a reporter was asking a woman how feminism had changed over the years. I attended the National Organization for Women&rsquo;s national convention in Albuquerque last week to answer that question for myself.<br /> The next day&rsquo;s newspaper headlines shot back one answer: DeBaca County may elect the state&rsquo;s first female sheriff since the 1960s. And she&rsquo;s gay, but that hasn&rsquo;t been an issue in her campaign.<br /> More answers: The Supreme Court ruled that a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics is unconstitutional. The Supremes themselves have a 100-foot buffer zone. They also decided that the beliefs of a corporation, Hobby Lobby, are more important than a woman&rsquo;s need for contraception.<br /> &ldquo;There are three things we can do,&rdquo; said President Terry O&rsquo;Neill, &ldquo;vote, vote, vote.&rdquo;<br /> I&rsquo;ve been a NOW member for decades but never attend events. Many of us think we&rsquo;re doing our bit through career choices, voting, and raising strong daughters and open-minded sons. Still, this was an opportunity to tune back in.<br />