Regarding your cover story on the local geology of Albuquerque [Feature, “Naturally Disastrous,” March 29-April 4], Fred Lawrence does seem to have reasonable knowledge of the subject. However, there is no Professor Fred Lawrence in the Earth and Planetary Sciences department at UNM Albuquerque, nor is there anyone of that name listed in the main directory. I also checked all other UNM campus directories and could find no reference to any Fred Lawrence anywhere, much less in geology.
It would have been easy to visit Northrop Hall on UNM's main campus and find any number of UNM geologists. Or the authors could have consulted Donald Prothero, the Alibi's chief geologist, and also an actual college professor.
Earth and Planetary Sciences PhD student, UNM
Pursuant to the apocalyptic article “Naturally Disastrous” [Feature, March 29-April 4], it should be noted that a scribe named Ezra wrote that there were two-and-a-half parts remaining of a 12-part age. That was approximately two-and-a-half millennia ago.
The lunar calendar, upon which that 12-part age was based, was discarded by Judaism and Christianity, which were both heavily influenced by the Babylonian religious system. These religions also excluded the Fourth Book of Esdras, where that 12-part age is cited, from their canonical scriptures.
The most probable date of Ezra's writing concerning that 12-part age was Abib 1, 3501; the date of the lunar new year. Assuming that the appearance of the full moon on April 2, 2007, represents the lunar date of Abib 1, 5980, there are only 21 years left to the 12-part age cited by Ezra.
The destruction cited in the previously mentioned Alibi article is the sixth in a series of seven events, mentioned in the Revelation of John, preceding the end of that 12-part age. Four years prior to the end of that 12-part age, these seven events are to occur in conjunction with the first seven full moons of the lunar calendar upon which the 12-part age is based. The smoke, fire and brimstone associated with the natural disasters cited in the Alibi article are responsible for the death of one-third of Earth's population.
Put This In Your Pipe
I've read resident smoking champion Chris Federico's response to the just passed statewide smoking ban several times [Letters, “A Little Less Free,” March 29-April 4]. I've tried to understand his arguments.
It's curious to me that when our government decides to pass laws related to tobacco smoking, a very small group of alarmists tell us it's the end of the world as we know it, as if smoking is the last vestige of freedom in our society. (In this case freedom equaling addiction and death. Go figure.) Federico says that “millions” of people love smoking, that secondhand smoke health effects are a myth, tobacco laws are "dangerous" and, well, there are so many other things out there that are more harmful for us. Those are old, worn out arguments that sound a lot like your typical Big Tobacco PR lies.
The cigarette is the most dangerous product ever invented for the consumer. It is a product that when used as intended, kills half of its customers. If ketchup had .01 percent of the ingredients that cigarettes do, stores would have all of it pulled from the shelves by the end of the day. In terms of total lives lost worldwide—nothing compares to the cigarette (5 million deaths annually and counting).
U.S. taxpayers fork over $50 billion-plus per year to pay for the costs of sick and dying smokers. Children who have parents, grandparents or guardians that smoke around them deal with lifelong health problems—even if they never smoke themselves. There is no debate on the effects of secondhand smoke. There is a bigger connection between bad health and death from secondhand smoke exposure than there is to Mayor Chavez wanting to be governor of New Mexico.
Our government makes all kinds of laws, some good, some not so good. The government decides what temperature restaurants should keep soup. But all of a sudden when it involves itself in cigarettes, it's all about “losing freedoms” and “rights.” You don't have to be for government intrusion to be anti-tobacco. And contrary to what Federico says, the vast majority of smokers wish they could quit and most of them try to quit.
The Simple Life
[RE: Letters, “This Study Approved By The Don,” March 29-April 4] It's hard to argue with the theme of Don Schrader's letter, i.e., “Don't believe everything you read.” Ironically, that caveat applies to some of Don's own words, too.
Don would have us believe that his “total living expenses" were only $3,635 for all of 2006. That might be all he was paid last year, but that's only the beginning of his living expenses. Unless Don sits on his front steps all day and night with a shotgun and a bucket of water, he benefits from the presence of APD and AFD. He makes use of public access TV, libraries, facilities at UNM, health services that keep epidemics away, public works that keep floods away and give him sidewalks to walk on, plus a ton of other city and state services. At Don's stated income level, whatever state and local taxes he pays don't make a dent in his share of those services.
And then there's the small matter of national security and other federal services. Lots of foreign regimes would love to take over the good ol' USA, many of which do nasty things to people of Don's orientation. There's a big price tag to keep that from happening. Don tells us he doesn't pay federal taxes at all, so the rest of us have to pony up to cover his security and everything else he gets from Uncle Sam.
Don is perfectly within his rights to “live simply" and to regularly enlighten us on the details of his lifestyle. Many of us prefer to work for a living so we can sample life's amenities like a family, travel and modern inventions that expand our awareness of the world and add depth and breadth to life. But in either case let's not be naÏve about the true cost of living (and who foots that bill).
Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to email@example.com. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter.
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