Thursday, November 29, 2007

Chavez Gets Drilled By The New Mexican

New Mexico's second largest paper takes Marty Chavez to the mat. But what's most impressive is that the subject is Chavez's opponent, Tom Udall, refusing to pork barrel the Los Alamos National Lab unless it starts looking at alternative energy solutions.
Udall doesn't want folks out of work any more than Chávez does — or Sen. Domenici, who used his leadership on the Budget, then Energy, committees to keep the gravy train chugging onto Pajarito Mesa.

The recent announcement that LANL would cut 500 to 750 jobs, it seems, would place Udall front and center as the villain — until you consider how many Democrats might agree with him, and disagree with pork-barrel spending of an especially warlike kind. Los Alamos likely will remain trigger-maker to the nation for increasingly sophisticated and massively destructive weapons. Yet America has far more nuclear bombs than it would take to destroy enemies of today and tomorrow. What we don't have is the new energy system we and the rest of the world will need as fossil-fuel consumption soars and supplies of the stuff, inevitably, run short.

Can't our national-lab scientists see that — and do something about it? And if they can't, shouldn't Congress invest in operations that can?

Those are the nationally responsible questions Udall and some of his colleagues are asking; Kennedyesque queries in the form of challenges to mobilize our brightest scientific minds. It's time to transform the systems that make America run.

Udall knows it. And he wants New Mexicans gainfully employed in that pursuit.

Mayor Chávez and most Republicans have yet to recognize the grim challenge of "peak oil" and the global warming it promotes. Against such backward thinking, Tom Udall is a profile in courage.

You expect to hear that out of a blogger -- a blogger who does not live in New Mexico. Most Americans, unsurprisingly, are pork-for-me-but-not-for-thee, and I didn't expect New Mexico's papers to be any exception (and Los Alamos is far easier to defend than most pork projects!). So kudos to Udall for making the ballsy call, and kudos to the New Mexican for giving him credit in such unreserved language.

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