These letters were published in the June 16 print edition of the Las Cruces Sun-News.
Fathers play vital role in health care
This Father’s Day, we would like to take a moment to thank the fathers in our state for all they do in support of maternal and child health.
Fathers are vitally important to the health and well-being of children and mothers, but are the least recognized for their contributions. Maternal and child health programs and public health officials are just beginning to understand how fathers affect their children’s health and development.
The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality recently highlighted the many contributions of fathers to maternal and child health. For instance, when fathers are involved during pregnancy, mothers are more likely to receive prenatal care in the first trimester, which improves the health of moms and babies.
When fathers practice skin-to-skin care, in which the father holds the infant close against his bare chest, that enhances the baby’s health.
Fathers support moms in breastfeeding comfortably, both at home and in public. Breastfeeding offers tremendous health benefits for both mothers and babies, and a supportive attitude on the part of fathers is crucial.
Fathers help by putting babies into car seats safely and by putting babies to sleep safely. Fathers enable mothers to get much-needed rest, and they support healthy social and emotional development as children grow into young adults. Father involvement absolutely supports better school outcomes.
Families come in many shapes and sizes: not all families have dads, and some may have more than one (this is true for moms too). What is important, today and every day, is that we acknowledge the contributions that fathers make.
Today, please take a moment to thank a dad for being such a powerful ally for good maternal and child health outcomes in our New Mexico communities.
Mary M. Ramos, MD, MPH, is an associate professor in The University of New Mexico Department of Pediatrics, Johnny Wilson is the executive director of Fathers New Mexico and Maria D. Otero is cofounder of Nuestra Salud.
Education matters for $1,000
As a former educator myself and a longtime “Jeopardy” watcher, I was more than a little bothered by Dan Carney’s editorial assessment of champ James Holzhauer. After watching his most impressive win on “The Chase” over five years ago, and now recently on “Jeopardy,” Holzhauer’s skill in every possible area of knowledge is, to say the least, mind-boggling. However, Carney doesn’t even admit that Holzhauer is educated. Instead, he says the games were won by his statistician’s methodology, betting big on Daily Doubles and mastering the buzzer timing, and that Emma Boettcher, a librarian, finally beat him after his 32 consecutive wins because “she knows a lot of stuff.”
According to Carney, Holzhauer’s fans are “middle-aged, modestly educated, sports-addicted American males.” (I’m trying to imagine these guys being regular “Jeopardy” watchers. Can you?)
The reason that James Holzhauer lost his 33rd game was not that Emma Boettcher was a librarian, or even that she knew stuff, but that it was the only game he did not land on any of the three Daily Doubles. If he had gotten just one, Boettcher would not have caught him. And just for the record, the librarian’s victory was relatively short-lived. She was dethroned after just two more games. However, I do agree with Dan Carney that education still matters, and that knowledge is good. Just ask James Holzhauer.
Gary Carlson, Las Cruces
No tariffs, no border wall
The tariff trade war between two neighbors, Mexico and the US, has gotten more serious than the public realizes. Apparently, citizens on both sides on the US-Mexican border will pay the price and suffer for the failure the Trump administration of using tariffs (and other false accusations) to settle international trade disputes.
The real cause and issues of illegal immigration from Latin Americans seeking asylum (mostly women and children) are countries that have been destroyed by international meddling and regime changes, now being ignored once more. That is exactly what the Trump administration imperialistic adventures is doing in Venezuela. Obviously, the gold reserves that Venezuela had stored in the US, Great Britain and Canadian banks for safe keeping was not enough. They want the oil, too!
In addition to the Trump’s administration ongoing impulses for regime changes and tariff policies, it also has too many ignorant, uniformed and somewhat biased gun glorifying individuals. Private groups suggesting redeploying National Guard personnel or posting illegal, armed militias pointing weapons at women and terrorizing children is an international crime in most countries. These militias materialized from economic depressed rural-red political sectors which take most of the federal, state, county and municipal emergency funding, bringing back nothing in return. Must border communities presume that Border Patrol personnel are incapable of doing their jobs?
Indeed, walls and tariffs make for failed US immigration policies and those who feel otherwise are incapable of conducting border issues. It will only stop when presidential administrations desist from crossing borders and creating outdated and impulsive imperialistic regime changes. The world, including the USA, does not need any more frightened women and children seeking asylum on borders.
Fermin-Fermon Torres, Las Cruces
Is the economy helping everyone?
Trump and his Republican allies have been touting the low unemployment rate and increased incomes ever since he came into office — like he was the grand wizard that made this happen. These two data points began to improve shortly after the Great Recession in 2009, due to the bailout of financial institutions that caused this economic downturn in the first place. Unfortunately, the people who lost their homes due to shady mortgage loan practices received little support.
The bottom line is that low unemployment numbers do not tell the whole story. Compared to 1960, employment in the manufacturing sector went from 28% of the work force to a little over 8% in 2018. Most of the increase in employment has been in the service sectors like leisure, retail and support services — with less than half the pay of good manufacturing jobs. Effective bargaining by unions no longer exists. The bottom line is that about 80% of the work force has not had an effective wage increase in 50 years. The income increases reported in the average statistics went to the top 20%, especially the top 1% — specifically the investor class and professionals like corporate leaders, financial managers and medical specialists.
Income and wealth inequality have gone through the roof, with CEOs earning 400 times the average worker. Since 1980, the wealth of the top 1% has increased three-fold, while those in the middle rose about 15%. At the same time, the cost of living has gone up at a much higher rate for housing, medical care, prescription drugs, tuition and some food items like produce. The 2017 corporate tax cut only made it worse. It’s time for new leadership at all levels of government.
Paul O’ Connell, Las Cruces
‘Militia’ no longer needed
Back in the 1780s we had no standing Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, or Marines. We also did not have state plice, county sheriffs, or city police. “A well regulated Militia” made sense then. In the Old West they often had what was called a “posse,” men who, when needed, could be deputized to assist law enforcement officers in enforcing the law. Now we have no need for non-law enforcement people to take up arms, except in self defense. In fact, law enforcement personnel would rather that citizens do not attempt to take the law into their own hands.
Regarding Randy Lynch’s column (Sun-News, June 9), George Mason died in 1792. His comment “I ask you sir, who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people,” is not relevant today. Similar for Patrick Henry, who died in 1799.
By the way, I have no problem with citizens owning guns for self defense, or to hunt legally.
John M. Ryan, Mesilla
In support of Dream and Promise Act
As a New Mexico resident that previously benefited from DACA, I am so thankful for Congresswoman Torres Small support of the Dream and Promise Act, which passed the House of Representatives in early June.
This bill would allow nearly 13,000 people in New Mexico — my friends, neighbors, and family included — who have been living and working in our communities for decades the opportunity to earn a pathway to citizenship. Votes matter, and Congresswoman Torres Small’s actions are a testament to her support of all the people in our community.
As we all celebrate immigrant heritage throughout the month of June, I am proud to be from a state represented by a member of Congress who stood up for immigrants and immigrant communities at this historic vote.
Ivonne Orozco, Albuquerque
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