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Today's Opinions

  • New Native stories: A novel, an economic report

    Two new tales about Native Americans have emerged recently from New Mexico. One is fiction, a novel, the other non-fiction, a gathering of economic numbers and big policy challenges.

    The novel is “There There.” The numbers are in “The Economic Impact of the 19 Indian Pueblos in New Mexico.”

    Tommy Orange wrote “There There” while completing a master’s program at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. The urban tale is about a dozen protagonists as they converge on a pow-wow in Oakland, California. Some of the characters spend a bit of time in New Mexico as they travel to Oakland from as far away as the alleys of downtown Oklahoma City.

    “There There” is challenging, an illuminating tale well worth reading, though not exactly a page turner. It has spent time on best seller lists including that of the New York Times where it was ranked for 15 weeks.

    The All Pueblos Council of Governors commissioned the economic impact report. The University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business & Economic Research did the analysis.

  • There’s no way to stop human trafficking by treating it as immigration enforcement problem

    BY BOB SPIRES
    University of Richmond

    Robert Kraft, the New England Patriots’ billionaire owner, recently made headlines when he was charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution. The women involved were undocumented Chinese immigrants who were human trafficking victims at the Orchids of Asia spa in Jupiter, Florida.

    Raids and sting operations like this one, which ensnared about 100 other far less prominent alleged perpetrators and a few other very rich men, have become commonplace across the U.S. and the world. They highlight the ongoing exploitation faced by large numbers of vulnerable people.

    While conducting research about human trafficking in Thailand and Cambodia, I’ve observed that grassroots nonprofits are often effective in addressing its root causes.

    Good models

    While no one knows how big the problem is, human trafficking is getting more attention today. This higher profile has given rise to what the criminology researchers Sanja Milivojevic and Sharon Pickering call a “global trafficking complex,” which they describe as a “tangled web of agendas, priorities, policies and ideological underpinnings.”

  • Latest talks are latest step in long history with N. Korea

    BY DR. T. DOUGLAS REILLY
    Columnist

    A major event of the past week was the meeting of Kim Jong-un and Donald John Trump in Hanoi.. This note discuses the history of North Korea’s nuclear program, which is much larger than most of us know.

    On Aug. 15, 1945, Japan surrendered, ending World War II and liberating the Korean peninsula. Three years later, the peninsula was divided at the 38th parallel; the South became the Republic of Korea (ROK), and the North the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

    The DPRK began nuclear research in the 1950s, as did other countries. The Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center is its major, but not only, nuclear site. It’s located 90 km north of Pyongyang. The Soviet Union supplied an IRT-2000 pool-type reactor to North Korea in 1963 that has operated since 1965. This type of research reactor was the USSR’s answer to the reactors supplied under Ike’s Atoms for Peace Program to 15 nations. It was placed under IAEA safeguards in 1977; DPRK stated it had separated 300 mg of plutonium (Pu) from spent fuel in 1975. It is only run occasionally now to produce iodine-131 for thyroid cancer therapy.

    Yongbyon’s more controversial 5 MWe reactor, is very similar to Calder Hall, the UK’s initial Pu production reactor.

  • SB 11 is foolish and self-defeating

    Predictably, our governor signed Senate Bill 11, which would require a nonprofit entity with 501(c)(3) status with the IRS to pay state gross receipts taxes (GRTs) and specifically targets our national laboratory. Say what?

    I am deeply concerned about this issue, because as I have written before, “Our Legislature should advocate for policies that bring more job creators to our state, not drive them away. Susana Martinez was right to veto this onerous and flawed tax policy on the No. 1 job creator in northern New Mexico.” TRIAD has a moral obligation to the American Taxpayers, not to Los Alamos County’s bloated government and its pet projects.

    I speak as a small business owner, whose livelihood depends on our national laboratory (LANL) and its hiring patterns. I speak for those whose ability to provide for their families and pay their bills depends on LANL and its long term success.

    I speak for those who care more about LANL’s national security and scientific missions than about government projects that do little to directly improve the lives of citizens.

  • HB 55 part of ‘Winner-Take-All’ movement

    BY TOM WRIGHT
    Columnist

    We have elected 45 presidents and five have been second-place winners in the popular vote. I visited with a friend the other day and he voiced the need to circumvent the electoral college saying, “We need to elect our presidents just like we do all other politicians, by popular vote.”

    His reasoning sounds good, if you don’t think about it. The problem with his reason is, all other politicians are elected to represent local or state districts and only our presidents are elected to represent us nationally.

    The national popular vote movement is not new.  It has been around since the early 1800s and is not a part of the U.S. Constitution. And once again, there is a winner-take-all bill before the New Mexico Legislature (HB 55), if passed would move New Mexico into a compact of 11 other states requiring their designated electors to cast their ballots for the national popular vote winner and not who won the local state vote.

  • Growth, and lack thereof, brings problems to N.M.

    BY KATHLEENE PARKER
    Guest Columnist

    Harold Morgan’s “Utah works, makes babies, grows,” (Jan. 30) should win an award for misleading discussion of population.

    But that award perhaps already belongs to the Washington Post. The newspaper shoves its self-righteous “Democracy dies in darkness” motto in our faces, but when it comes to population, WaPo itself creates darkness. Little wonder

    Americans are “innumerate” or to numbers — in this case, population — what illiteracy is to letters!

    Morgan asserts New Mexico loses population. Yet, we increase by .64 percent a year, or twice our current numbers early next century! In 2010, New Mexico numbered 2,059,207 and in 2018, 2,095,428. But for universal assumptions growth can only be good, some might ask if that isn’t too much growth in a state with failing education, crumbling infrastructure, overwhelmed medicine and ever-worsening poverty despite decades of boom growth, perhaps an indicator that “growth always brings prosperity” is a myth.

  • Why would I leave Los Alamos?

    BY VERNON KERR
    Guest Editorial

    When some people retire, they move away from Los Alamos and that I do not understand. In my opinion, there cannot be a more idyllic place on earth to retire.

    Despite the fact we do not have all the amenities of metropolitan areas, we can still visit them. One hundred miles to Albuquerque or 35 miles to Santa Fe is no big deal. The Aspen Ridge Lodge is a fantastic place for young at heart but antiquated in body. Their personnel are fantastic, the food is good, and you are still in Los Alamos.

    The people of Los Alamos are kind, thoughtful and curious, quite a combination. You could not ask for better neighbors. The American Legion Post along with the VFW are places where you can meet some great GI’s. The Elks, Knights of Columbus, The Masons, Beta Sigma Phi, and other organizations occupy esteemed places in our town. Officials in our local government are accessible and open to citizens’ questions and concerns.

  • State lottery scholarship under siege again

    By Milan Simonich
    The New Mexican

    New Mexico college students should beware of trickery at the state Capitol.

    A proposal that seems innocuous at first glance would undermine the state scholarship program that serves them well.

    I call your attention to Senate Bill 283. It's the latest attempt to fatten the income of vendors for the state lottery at the expense of New Mexico's students.

    The title of this legislation by Democratic Sens. Jacob Candelaria of Albuquerque and John Arthur Smith of Deming is as deceptive as any I've seen.

    It reads: "Limit lottery operational expenses."

    Restrictions on what the New Mexico Lottery Authority could spend to run its gambling operation are only a small part of this proposed legislation. And they're the least important part.

    The bill by Candelaria and Smith would eliminate a section of law requiring the lottery to provide at least 30 percent of its gross monthly revenues for college scholarships. Instead, the bill contains a stark reference to net revenues going to the scholarship fund.