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Talk of the town

Pearce’s climate talk is full of hot air

(REP.) STEVE PEARCE’S op-ed, “Climate change rhetoric is now way overheated” (Dec. 13), follows the Republican playbook of spouting the same misinformation with the goal of getting the uninformed to believe it.

He states that Democrats and Republicans strongly oppose the climate accord. Only Republican congressmen strongly oppose it; Republican citizens do not strongly oppose it.

The reason (President) Obama did not want Congress to approve it was because he knew they would not. Republicans would, as usual, ignore science and what was best for the planet and stick with their base – the fossil fuel industry. The industry now is switching to acknowledging the facts of global warming and the causes – not Republicans.

Pearce is concerned about devastating electricity cost increases due to controlling emissions at power plants. He is not concerned about the deaths caused by pollution. Reducing pollution caused by coal-burning power plants is the largest single step that could be made, not minimal as he states. Power rate increases can be minimized by taxing pollution and refunding it to the customers.

He claims that switching to clean energy will cost thousands of jobs. Experience shows that not to be true. It creates jobs of a different type. How many jobs did the conservative austerity ideology cost during the recession?

President Obama was quoting what science says will be the result of global warming. Science says the time left to address global warming is limited and the peak temperature rise we can stand is rather small. The military says rise in water levels – they believe in science – will cause big problems. The volume of refugees will be far greater than today and they are going somewhere.

Pearce bemoans the cost of the assistance we are going to give to developing countries because of global warming. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development are the primary cause of it and should shoulder a share of the cost to address it.

Scientists say the results of not addressing the problem will be dire to our planet and civilization. We should not have anyone in a position of importance in our government who denies global warming.



BernCo’s support of wildlife appreciated

THE BERNALILLO County Commission passed an elegantly crafted resolution supporting continued enforcement and funding of the Federal Endangered Species Act at its Dec. 8 meeting.

In 1973, the Endangered Species Act was passed by a bipartisan majority of Congress and signed into law by President Richard Nixon. Crucial knowledge and tools supplied by science and the ESA enable us to modify our behavior as we continue to play catch-up to the wisdom of Mother Nature, restoring and preserving dynamic planetary systems that nurtured our ancestors with the vibrant abundance we now endanger.

The thoughtfully considered attention of the BCC to this matter of pivotal consequence to humans, and to all our non-human fellow earthlings as well, is deeply appreciated by many wildlife enthusiasts in New Mexico.


Sandia Park

Both political parties are scared of Trump

IT’S A NO-BRAINER that the Democrats are aggressively after (Republican presidential candidate) Donald Trump, but it’s probably the first time that the Republicans are trying just as hard to get rid of one of their party’s candidates for president. They are acting like a bunch of scared rats!

Both are after Trump with a vengeance. Could it be that the elite, self-centered members of Congress are afraid their gravy train may be derailed if Trump is elected?



APS students at risk, taxpayers on hook

KUDOS TO N.M. Attorney General Hector Balderas for exposing and highlighting the inexcusable negligence and perhaps arrogance of the Albuquerque Public Schools in failing to complete background checks of over 2,200 employees hired prior to 1999 – and as many as 4,000 employees total – who lack these background checks. This begs the question of why it has taken so long and why our children have been placed at risk to possible child molesters. The liability issue here is huge and it is we, the taxpayers, who end up paying the price when the district is sued for damages.

I’m a security professional who settled in Albuquerque in 1978. I had two kids in the APS system at that time. I immediately asked APS administrators how their employees were vetted and was surprised to learn that there were no background checks being made. Myself and many others in my professional societies “rang” the bell of APS administrators to include school board members for 20 years before they finally began to conduct background checks on new hires. Industry had been doing these checks for years and it was negligent for APS to take so long and pay so many lawsuits before they finally saw the light, Now we learn that after almost 20 more years more than 2,200 APS employees who were on board in 1999 still lack these checks.

The epitome of APS vetting negligence was exposed in the recent hiring and firing of assistant superintendent Jason Martinez, who was pending serious criminal charges in Colorado and never should have been hired by APS. The fact that he was not subjected to a background check prior to hiring again illustrates the negligence of APS, regardless of circumstance.

There is little wonder why many prospective employers looking to move to or start a business in Albuquerque are scared away because of the foolishness in our school system, which goes well beyond the background check issue. It’s unfortunate for the thousands of employees in the systems who work hard every day to do their job and help our kids but are seriously burdened with an inefficient bureaucracy that fails to provide the needed effective leadership.



WIPP was a DOE disaster from the start

THE WIPP FACILITY has insufficient air flow in the underground mine. This problem has its origin in an unconscionable decision by Department of Energy managers several decades ago.

During the WIPP construction, DOE headquarters proposed eliminating the air supply shaft as a supposed cost-saving measure. Managers in the DOE Albuquerque field office mindlessly concurred, despite strong objections raised by an internal engineering review.

The DOE executives then awarded themselves cash bonuses for this bogus cost savings.

After WIPP was built, the underground airflow – not surprisingly – was found to be inadequate. An air supply shaft was then constructed at significantly higher cost than the original concept.

But the underground configuration was such that the resulting air flow rate was necessarily lower than it would have been with the original design.

The WIPP ventilation debacle is but one of an endless series of costly fiascoes demonstrating that DOE is intellectually and morally bankrupt.

The solution to the congenitally deficient WIPP underground air flow appears to be complicated, time-consuming and expensive.

The solution to the congenitally deficient DOE bureaucracy is uncomplicated, swift and inexpensive – the Department of Energy should be summarily abolished.


Los Lunas

Export ban means more B-777s for us

RECENTLY, NEW MEXICANS were deluged with radio and television ads from the Consumers and Refiners United for Domestic Energy (CRUDE) Coalition asking us to lobby our U.S. senators to continue the prohibition of the export of U.S. crude oil. The gist of their message was that U.S. energy prices would rise if Congress was to repeal the export prohibition. Despite this argument, on Dec. 18, the president signed legislation that did, in fact, repeal the ban.

Using the logic of CRUDE, we could achieve across-the-board reductions in costs for consumers if we would only restrict the export of other products, too. Is the price of bread too high? Just prohibit the export of wheat. Don’t like paying high prices for automobiles? Then don’t allow GM, Ford and Chrysler to sell their cars outside of the U.S. Think the cost of a B-777 is too high? Then don’t allow Boeing to sell aircraft to European and Asian airlines. Why stop there? Think of how low things would cost if we just built a wall around our border and didn’t allow the export of anything. Why, I could pick up a B-777 for a song and work on my airline type rating in my spare time! Win, win!

If you think this sounds absurd, then you are a step ahead of the CRUDE bunch who seem to have a very flawed view of how international trade works. A quick review of the CRUDE Coalition website will reveal that the four companies named as members are all refiners of petroleum products. The “C” in CRUDE stands for “consumer,” but there isn’t a consumer to be found on the website. Before buying into the flawed logic of CRUDE, we should find out what game they are playing.



Signup for ACA continues until Jan. 31

AS (PRESIDENT) Ronald Reagan said, “There you go again.”

The Dec. 15 headline, “Deadline today for health-care signup” is just as wrong as it was on Dec. 15 last year. The deadline for health-care signup under the Affordable Care Act is, and has always been, Jan. 31. The Dec. 15 deadline is for enrolling in a plan to be effective on Jan. 1. To be factual, anyone can still enroll through the 15th of January for a Feb. 1 effective date and through Jan. 31 for a March 1 effective date.

Using misleading headlines that create reader hysteria may lead readers to the article, but they also create undue stress. I see no value in creating hundreds, if not thousands of “Oh, my God” moments.



It’s time to repeal the Second Amendment

THE SECOND Amendment should be repealed. It is a barrier to any rational, effective restraint on the surge of lethal firearms and mass killing in this country. It is outdated, a vestige of slavery.

The Second Amendment is among the compromises in the Constitution intended to placate the Southern slave states’ fear that the new federal government would abolish slavery: any bans on the slave trade are prohibited until after 1808; the tax levied on each imported slave is capped at 10 dollars; and there is the three-fifths compromise to resolve the slave states’ desire that their slave population – as high as 40 percent – be fully counted for the purpose of congressional representation, although those people were considered property with absolutely no representation or any rights whatsoever.

The slave states were concerned that Congress, under its power to regulate state militias as expressed in the proposed Constitution, would use that power to imperil slavery through disarming or neutralizing the state militias. One of the leading functions of militias in the South was to suppress slave rebellions, capture runaway slaves and otherwise intimidate the slave population.

To persuade those states to ratify the new Constitution, among the provisions of the Bill of Rights was the Second Amendment – that under its power to regulate the militias, Congress could not disarm them.

Let’s be clear that the Second Amendment is not a commandment – it is a political accommodation of 1789 that has become a relic. Slavery is no more. Militias have evolved into the National Guard.

The Second Amendment no longer serves any purpose. It is time to abolish it, to prepare for the time when our society matures and sufficient political will develops to halt the scourge of mass shootings and killing.


Silver City

Grinch steals mail, but can’t ruin holiday

I’VE COME BACK to Albuquerque after many years, and yesterday experienced the lows and highs of Albuquerque.

The low came about 8:30 a.m. when a modern-day Grinch in a small white pickup drove through our neighborhoods stealing our mail. The crook or crooks, one of whom was caught on a security camera, raced to the mailboxes, grabbed cards and mail – apparently looking for checks – then discarded the previously stolen mail in the trash cans lining the street.

After a weekend of writing letters and cards to family and friends across the country, no one will get them. In our trash, we found torn cards and envelopes from other neighborhoods. The lesson: take your cards and mail directly to the nearest post office or official mailbox. And watch for a small white truck cruising your neighborhood – maybe we might catch the driver, who would then face felony charges because stealing mail is a federal offense.

The high came that evening with a trip to the River of Lights at the Albuquerque Botanic Garden – a spectacular evening of beauty for all ages. Glorious!