Lines in the Sand

Trump declaring victory on election night

Trump declaring victory on election night

Like many of us who supported Hillary Clinton, I am in a bit of shock that our country has chosen to elect a man so totally unqualified—morally, intellectually, and experientially—as Donald Trump. Yet the votes have been cast; and while he lost the popular vote by over a million votes, he won the electoral vote—the only one that counted. Despite early warnings of problems—the ever-growing and large, raucous Trump rallies; Russians all but indicted in hacking many of our national political organizations; the incessant drumbeat of Wikileaks’ releases of meaningless political insider emails; and a cowering FBI Director prematurely revealing the discovery of a “new trove of emails” ten days before the election that turned out to be mostly copies of already analyzed material—most of us were lulled by the pundits and pollsters who showed that Hillary would most certainly win, possibly by a landslide. Even the exit polls, run by the same media and pollsters, all but confirmed the certainty of Hillary’s success.

And then the votes actually started to be counted. The shock to more than half of us hit like a bomb; euphoria to the rest began to set in. Apparently, change, at whatever cost, driven by anger and hatred of those often left out of the political equations of the past, overpowered reason, deliberation and thoughtful governance proposed by Hillary.

What now? Continue reading


Illegal Immigration–A Global Problem

Surge of undocumented children immigrants overwhelms border facilities

Surge of undocumented children immigrants overwhelms border facilities in Texas

Recent headlines in the U.S. have focused on a major influx of undocumented immigrants crossing our southern border with Mexico, many of them children either traveling alone or with single mothers seeking refuge. According to Homeland Security some 52,000 children have arrived on the U.S.-Mexico border since October of last year, most coming from Central American countries including Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, looking to escape the upsurge in violence and destitution threatening those countries. Some, apparently, are trying to take advantage of special treatment afforded children and families that cross the border illegally which they believe, mistakenly or otherwise, will allow them to stay. The paid “coyotes” smuggling them encourage this misinformation in promoting their services throughout the perilous journey from their home countries to the border. This is only the latest in the influx of undocumented (illegal) immigrants from the south that have looked to the U.S. for shelter from economic and/or violent social oppression in their homelands. While the details may vary, the problem of illegal immigration is not limited solely to the U.S., but is in fact a global problem that requires a far more comprehensive approach than we or any other nation is taking. Continue reading


Re-Energize the Americas–Focus on Border Energy, Water and Economic Development

The Water-Energy Nexus

Over two hundred attendees are expected at next week’s Re-Energize the Americas conference being held in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  The event being held on October 17-18 will not only focus on important facets of energy issues, including most aspects of conventional and alternative energy important to the border region, but will discuss the important interlinks between energy and water as well as opportunities for innovative economic development critical to the Americas. Continue reading


Energy Issues of the US-Mexico Border Region

The following article by guest contributor Dr. Jim Peach is part of a series of articles focused on energy issues of importance to our region and as part of a lead up to the 2nd Annual Re-energize the Americas conference being held on Oct 17 & 18th, 2012 at the Las Cruces, NM Convention Center.

As Abbas Ghassemi, my colleague at New Mexico State University, pointed out in an earlier blog, energy issues are always complex.  In part, this complexity stems from the fact that energy issues are always intertwined with other complex issues –economic growth, technological change, population growth, environmental issues, and political stability.

The international border creates additional complexity for energy issues in the border region. San Diego and Tijuana (or El Paso and Juárez) are cities in two different nations but anyone living in the border region can explain that they have more in common than geographic proximity.  Interactions across the border include workers who commute, trade flows, cross-border investments, families in which some members live on one side of the border while others live in el otro lado.  Traffic flows and long lines at border crossings are almost daily reminders of cross-border interaction.  Continue reading


Cyber Security in Utilities–What Can We Do?

The following article by guest contributor Dr. Ralph Martinez is part of a series of articles focused on energy issues of importance to our region and as part of a lead up to the 2nd Annual Re-energize the Americas conference being held on Oct 17 & 18th, 2012 at the Las Cruces, NM Convention Center.

Cyber Security in “Smart Grids”

North American networks and devices come under attack billions of times each year. In the nuclear industry alone, the National Nuclear Security Administration estimates that more than 10 million cyber attacks occur in the United States each day. United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently stated, “The potential for the next Pearl Harbor could very well be a cyber-attack. The capability to paralyze this country is here now…and there is a high risk.” Continue reading


Energy, A Major Challenge for the Future?

The following article by guest contributor Dr. Abbas Ghassemi is part of a series of articles focused on energy issues of importance to our region and as part of a lead up to the 2nd Annual Re-energize the Americas conference being held on Oct 17 & 18th, 2012 at the Las Cruces, NM Convention Center.


By 2050 the demand for energy could double or even triple as the global population rises and developing countries expand their economies. All life on earth depends on energy and the cycling of carbon. Energy is essential for economic and social development but also poses an environmental challenge. We must explore all aspects of energy production and consumption including energy efficiency, clean energy, global carbon cycle, carbon sources and sinks and biomass as well as their relationship to climate and natural resource issues. Continue reading


A Strangler Fig Grows on the Border

Predator Drone used in border surveillance–Photograph by Sean Hemmerle for The New York Times

It’s almost impossible not to be aware of the growing militarization of the US-Mexico border, despite the blasé attitude of most newspaper and television reporting. Even the awestruck accounts of the coming of drones to the US include notes about surveillance of ordinary citizens and privacy concerns expressed by civil liberties organizations. Everyone who drives from a border location east, west or north will pass through checkpoints – and in recent years a bristling array of cameras confronts you as you approach (or simply pass nearby, going towards the border rather than away). Difficult not to notice! What is all this about? Should we care? Continue reading


There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom

In 1959 well known physicist, Richard Feynman, presented his now seminal talk—“There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom”—where he described a world of miniature manufacturing machines able to construct smaller and smaller versions of themselves until we were talking of truly small devices and/or materials even at molecular and atomistic levels.  Feynman’s talk 53 years ago presaged the introduction of MEMS—Micro-Electronic Mechanical Systems—“machines” or devices that are only on the order of hundreds of microns (10-6 meters) in size.  These “teeny, tiny” machines smaller than the width of a strand of hair stand poised to revolutionize our world very much like integrated circuits in 1970 Continue reading


The Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight

It all began with a lap dance. In mid-February, Sunland Park mayoral candidate Gerardo Hernandez was approached by a stranger in the City Hall parking lot holding a compromising photo and threatening to release the revealing video taken of a stripper’s lap dance in his election headquarters if he didn’t drop out. With, perhaps, a cooler head than when he met with the stripper, Hernandez went to the authorities with the attempted extortion threat. They moved in quickly and seized city records, surveillance videos, computers, and other documents. His election opponent Mayor Pro Temp Daniel Salinas denied any knowledge of the alleged extortion.

Continue reading


Energy in the Desert: The Promise of Biofuels*

In the last Presidential elections the candidates promised to develop “green” economies by creating new domestic industries and thousands of jobs.  These investments were expected to help avert the then looming economic crisis while reducing green house emissions and foreign oil dependence through domestic alternative energy sources.  If a melting stock market and financial crisis were not enough incentive, oil prices soaring then to $140 a barrel and gas prices moving to $5 a gallon only underscored the need to “go green.”  Much, of course, has happened since then but today we see oil moving into the $120 /barrel range and fuel prices once again going above $4 a gallon. And the political drums are beating as well (do I hear $2.50 a gallon as a “must”?).  “Drill, Baby, Drill!” again is finding resonance with some as the campaign season heats up. Continue reading