By JAY MILLER
SANTA FE -- While traveling across the pond to trace Columbus' route back to the New World, I had time to contemplate many deep questions.
Not only have I never heard answers to these questions, I've never heard the questions asked. Maybe there is good reason such queries haven't been made. Maybe I'm not smart enough or discreet enough not to ask. But here goes.
How come California fires burn all the way to our border with Mexico but seem to stop there? In past years I figured it was insensitive U.S. reporters who didn't care about our neighbors to the south.
But this year, I was in Europe watching television reports from all over the world. The California fires were reported, but never a mention of the tragedy extending into Mexico.
The only conclusion I can draw is that the fence protecting our southern border against immigrants is also fireproof. So shouldn't Mexico be helping us build that fence?
While we're on the subject of immigrants, aren't they the answer to keeping Social Security afloat? Baby boomers fret that when they all retire, there won't be enough workers to support them.
Also, if an illegal immigrant uses a fake Social Security number, doesn't he pay into the system but never receive benefits?
We need some new high wage earners paying into the Social Security system too. That means we need to ease immigration restrictions on skilled workers from all countries who want to come to the United States. And giving the children of immigrants would seem like a good idea too.
Hasn't anyone figured out that wildfires are wildfires because we don't know where they will go? Every time one occurs the news media seems mystified that flames can completely consume one property while leaving its neighbors untouched.
Is it possible that those blasted prairie dogs may be a savior for New Mexico taxpayers? It is hard to imagine how the RailRunner commuter train can be worth the $400 million or so that the state is going to pay for it.
Taxpayers from throughout the state already have shelled out plenty for people in Albuquerque's northern and southern suburbs to get to work. But we may be spared the cost of extending it to Santa Fe because lovers of the cute little rodents vow to keep their furry friends from being displaced. Go, dogs.
Every time the weather in Florida causes a problem for the space shuttle, I wonder if NASA is aware that the weather in southern New Mexico would not have caused that problem.
Why is Bill Clinton raising money for Emily's list? The group, which supports female political candidates, usually doesn't use men to promote it. And Bill should have his hands full helping Hillary.
A Halloween survey found that 34 percent of Americans believe in ghosts and the same number believe in UFOs. The survey also noted that 31 percent of Americans believe President George Bush is doing a good job with Iraq. But why didn't they tell us whether those are the same people?
Speaking of Iraq, why do public officials and reporters pronounce it e-ROCK and the military pronounces it I-RAK?
A news release announced recently that the military is experiencing the highest suicide rate in 26 years. What happened in 1981 to make the rate even higher that year?
The last two times President Bush came to Albuquerque a motorcycle policeman lost his life escorting the motorcade. Has anyone investigated the cause of those tragedies and recommended how they might be avoided in the next time the president visits?
Recent figures show that Texas barely edged New Mexico for the title of biggest pecan producer in 2006. It was noted that when the pecans are shelled, New Mexico is the biggest producer because our pecans have more meat.
Could someone please do a study of whether the basic personalities of Texans and New Mexicans bear the same relationship?
JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail) email@example.com