Site maintenance in progress

After some months of neglect, I’ve paid for another year of hosting. I’ve got a lot of broken links to fix or delete, and some other updates are needed. I’m basically swatting down some cobwebs. At some point in the coming weeks, I’ll probably update the entire site design. This one is a little dated.

I hope to devote more time to this site in the coming year, even if that doesn’t pay as well as other things I could be doing. Let me know if you figure out a way to make the site pay for itself. That would change everything.

Don’t click the “Read More” button. There is no more of this.

Mike

Biggest threats to gun freedom: Rigid denial, firearms fetish and the NRA

What gun-owners know: Guns are dangerous

Mike Scanlon | Rio Grande Digital

I’ve been a gun-owner most of my life. As a 13-year-old, I hiked the foothills and streams of northeastern New Mexico alone and unsupervised with a .22 revolver strapped to my hip, often carrying a .22 rifle as well. My parents were confident that I knew enough to be responsible and safe. I did, and I was.

Mike Scanlon

Mike Scanlon

I learned about guns at an early age. I learned how properly to clean a gun, how to safely load a gun. I learned about velocity and trajectory and the invisible gaseous burst that envelops a gun when the trigger is pulled. I learned never to shoot at something unless I knew with absolute certainty what was behind it. I learned never to aim a gun at something I didn’t intend to shoot and never to shoot something I didn’t intend to destroy. I learned not to kill anything. I learned that guns are not toys, and that “showing off” with a gun easily could cause a deadly accident.

I don’t claim to be a gun expert — far from it. I have no interest in being one. Most of my friends would be surprised even to know I have guns. I’m a gun-owner and sometimes target shooter, and that is my perspective on this topic.

As a youngster, I developed keen target skills. Even still, I have a liking for guns — the weight and balance, comfort of the grip, smoothness of the action, quality and detail of the frame, accuracy of the sights, the recoil that every firearm instantly delivers when the firing pin strikes a live round, the smell of gun powder. I own multiple guns of various makes, styles and calibers. I’ve owned handguns, rifles and shotguns and even an assault rifle that I no longer have. I’ve never had an accident, and I’ve never hurt anyone. I’ve never gotten into trouble with a gun.

So naturally, I’m concerned about the current threat to gun-ownership. That threat lies hidden in stubborn, disingenuous denial of the very first, most obvious — and by far, the most important — fact I learned about guns long before I fired my first round: Guns are inherently dangerous.

The return of the mighty migrant dollar: Remittances to Mexico climb

Frontera NorteSur

A robust flow of remittances to Mexico has returned from the decline marked after the 2008 world economic crisis. As the new year turned the corner, the official Bank of Mexico reported that dollars sent home from migrants working abroad totaled $22.576.35 billion from January to November 2015, ringing up a 5.44 percent increase from the similar period in 2014.

On the trail of terrorists in Juárez

Mike Scanlon | Rio Grande Digital

Mike Scanlon is editor and publisher of Rio Grande Digital.

Mike Scanlon

A shadowy right-wing website caused a minor stir in the Paso del Norte region last week when it claimed — for a second time, citing anonymous “sources” — that a terrorist cell from the Islamic State organization was “camped” out in Juárez, or the Anapra suburb, to be precise, just eight miles from the border.

That can’t be right. First, there is no part of Anapra that is eight miles from the border. Anapra is literally on the border.

NMSU to host talk on issues of digital democracy and Internet usage

NMSU

Author and sociologist Jan A.G.M. van Dijk will visit New Mexico State University to give a talk on “Why the Digital Divide is not Getting Better,” at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, in the Health and Social Services Auditorium, Room 101A.

Jan A.G.M. van Dijk is a professor of sociology and communication science at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. (Courtesy photo)

Jan A.G.M. van Dijk is a professor of sociology and communication science at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. (Courtesy photo)

Van Dijk is a professor of sociology and communication science at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. He has been investigating the social aspects of information and communication technology since 1984. His research specializes in social, cultural and political/policy of the digital media.

In his talk, hosted by the Department of Communication Studies, van Dijk will be addressing issues of digital democracy, fallacies about Twitter revolutions and where political empowerment in Internet usage can actually be found.

“Professor van Dijk is a major world-known scholar on the digital divide,” said Kenneth Hacker, communication studies department head in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Any scholar, school administrator or state official concerned about inequities in computer, the Internet and new media access and usage should be there to meet and talk to him.”

FNS: Daddy smelter’s dirty little souvenirs

Smokestacks tower above the site of the old Asarco smelter on El Paso's West Side.  (Photo from public domain)

Smokestacks tower above the site of the old Asarco smelter on El Paso’s West Side before the 2013 demolition and reclamation of the site. (Photo from public domain)

FNS Note:  The first in a new series of articles about environmental and public health concerns related to the old Asarco smelter in El Paso. This series was made possible by a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

 Kent Paterson | Frontera NorteSur

Near Executive Center Boulevard and Interstate 10 in El Paso sits a barren plot of land that played a pivotal if controversial role in the development of the border city. Flanked by freight rail traffic on one side and zooming cars and trucks on the other, black mounds of slag stand almost as if they are the earthworks of a DMZ between the past and the future.

My wife and a trash-picker taught me something about kindness and gratitude

Mike Scanlon | Rio Grande Digital

It’s a moment that bears little significance in the history of human transaction, but it’s something that has stayed with me over the decades and something I feel — 30-some years later — might be worth blogging about.

The mirror.

The mirror.

It relates to a small round mirror about 4 inches in diameter, decorated with a frame of dark wooden beads. For years, it has occupied a prominent place in our home, now on the wall of our bedroom beside the bathroom door. We often admire it. We seldom talk about it. On one or two occasions, we’ve told close friends the story behind it.

Here’s the story.

Roxanne and I, when we first got together, were struggling financially. We both worked two jobs. We were recovering from a business venture that didn’t work, and we owed about a year’s pay to a banker, a supplier and a couple of others. Neither of us had finished college yet. We took the work we could get.

Meth changes from domestic dilemma to international issue

The ingredients used to make methamphetamine create a reaction that is highly flammable and leaves toxic traces behind even after a clandestine lab is gone. (Pennsylvania National Guard photo by Sgt. Matt Jones.)

The ingredients used to make methamphetamine create a reaction that is highly flammable and leaves toxic traces behind even after a clandestine lab is gone. (Pennsylvania National Guard photo by Sgt. Matt Jones.)

Alicia Alvarez | Scripps Howard Foundation Wire

WASHINGTON – The methamphetamine problem in the United States is complex. It ranges from the simplicity of a clandestine lab in a Wal-Mart bathroom to a failed attempt at sending a drone carrying 6 pounds of the synthetic drug into the country over the border from Mexico.

Mexican drug trafficking organizations are moving to fill the void left by dismantled U.S. meth labs. Mexico’s regulations of meth’s key ingredients – pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and phenylpropanolamine products – are less strict than those in the U.S., where the sale of allergy and cold pills containing any of the decongestants was limited in 2006.

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