Los Alamos is well-known worldwide as the birthplace of the atomic bomb. Did we miss the opportunity for Los Alamos to be the birthplace of COVID-19 testing, treatment and a vaccine center? Imagine this as a presidential directive: “Los Alamos National Lab will be the world headquarters for an international team of microbiologists, virologists and immunologists dedicated entirely to the best scientific treatment for COVID-19 and ultimately the development of a vaccine for the entire world.”

Fighting COVID-19 is fighting a war. In war, we look to our military for leadership. In this health care war, we will look to a general to direct this operation (think back to Gen. Lester Grove during the development of the bomb). Leadership accompanied by a unified goal, expert knowledge and teamwork can accomplish the impossible. We in New Mexico have not one but two national labs. Isn’t it a least a little surprising that we have not been able to test our entire population?

Why are we always listed last in the best and first in the worst. Here is an opportunity to redefine New Mexico: Los Alamos, birthplace of COVID-19 vaccine. Here is an opportunity for New Mexico to be Breaking Good.

John King

Santa Fe

Inspiring the best

I watched former President Barack Obama’s two commencement speeches over the weekend and both times was reminded that Obama is an eloquent messenger of truth and decency and offers us all the audacity of hope. He spoke to the present tragic chaos as the challenge facing all of us, but more poignantly what will be the task of graduating seniors of 2020. How sad that the media insists on a political spin rather than reporting the essential message of personal responsibility and optimism for hope that all of us are so desperate to hear. I weary of being dragged through the muck instead of having to witness a president who inspires the best we can offer in this dreadful dark time.

Edith Powers


Policing the cops

Please explain to me why Santa Fe police officers can be seen regularly at local businesses congregating in groups of at least six to 10, neither social distancing nor wearing masks. This is also true when they enter businesses. I have health issues and am concerned.

T. Gautchier

Santa Fe

Defending Kaune’s

My experience with Kaune’s Neighborhood Market has been great. They were delivering groceries when almost no other store was. I had never shopped at Kaune’s before, but given that my husband and I are in the high-risk group for COVID-19, we wanted to avoid grocery stores. So, we ordered online from Kaune’s. We have ordered all of our food and paper goods for the last eight weeks and have never been gouged. The quality of the food has been superb (especially the meat), and when they needed to substitute, their choices have been excellent. It is easy to reach someone if you call, and they make every effort to accommodate requests.

Elizabeth Kelly

Santa Fe

Back on track

The New Mexican would provide a valuable service to all citizens if it published Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inaugural address of March 4, 1933. Passages are frequently quoted, especially, “my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” He repeatedly discusses why we need to accept with honesty the conditions of a country and world deep in recession. Yet his message is extraordinarily positive. We will survive and prosper if we as a people work together to confront our pandemic and economic issues.

Luckily, we are in a national election year. We have an opportunity to select leaders at the local, state and federal level. Choose them wisely. Kick people out of office who are blockading the American dream, such as President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Mitch McConnell, to name a few. Don’t vote a party. Vote people you think you can trust to work hard at getting this country and the world on the right track.

Ron Winecki

Santa Fe

Too far

Dr. Lovick Thomas (“Planning must happen now for life after COVID-19,” My View, May 10) presents an ageist totalitarianism. Because those over 65 are statistically at elevated risk if infected with COVID-19, we must, to open the economy, quarantine ourselves indefinitely until a hypothetical herd immunity takes effect. Stories in this newspaper indicate preexisting co-morbidities, not simply age, are associated with most COVID-related deaths. Secondly, this idea requires indefinitely suspending the full civil rights of those over 65.

I never agreed to a social contract condemning me to live in suspended animation until this pandemic ends, whenever that may be. I’ll work to reduce my risks not to be a burden on society but don’t wish to be under virtual house arrest. Besides, how would the authorities ensure I am not sneaking out for a bike ride? Are we to wear an “elderly” identifying badge or armband? In the struggle to balance individual rights with public safety, I think that part of the doctor’s proposal goes too far.

Khal Spencer

Santa Fe

The isolation lane

I was in line checking out my groceries and staying 10 feet behind the man in front of me when I heard him coughing (No mask) I backed up and nearly bumped into the woman behind me who also had no mask. I fled to another line. While waiting my turn, I noticed others who were not wearing any protective gear. I am suggesting to the markets that there be a special check-out line for these people who do not care whether they give or get the virus.

M. Miller

Santa Fe

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(21) comments

John Bass

Seeing the fawning praise of Obama and the comments back to Ms. Powers reminds me that we live in times where each side believes the other is delusional.

I am of the side that sees Obama as A dishonorable liar whose actions in the Oval Office will show damage to this country long after he goes away for the last time.

I have my evidence against BHO and am proud to say I support Trump and everything he has and is trying to do for this country.

It’s just sad his detractors obviously are blindly committed to their party line backed by media for whom journalism is just a word they use to cover their deceit.

Jim Klukkert

John Bass~ Your comment in no way furthers understanding of the issues at hand, and seems to be no more than a profession of your own beliefs.

The fact that you add unsubstantiated and foul accusations ([Tump's] detractors obviously are blindly committed to their party line ... journalism is just a word ... to cover their deceit) to your post only serves to further division from which the American scene is afflicted.

I would ask you to please do better in your comments; I am hoping you might contribute to the discussion rather than simply pollute the public square.

Thank you.

Thomas Franks

Dr. Johnson and Mr. Spencer, this has been a very productive and thoughtful discussion today. Thank you both.

Dr. Michael Johnson

Thank you, Khal and I have had numerous discussions like this over the years, and Khal is also a Ph.D., more shy than I am about advertising it no doubt.....

Khal Spencer

That's funny. Back in Hawaii, I used to put "Dr." on our checks in front of my name. We moved to Los Alamos and even the family dogs have Ph.D.'s up there, so I got a little shy about advertising it.

Dr. Michael Johnson

I see your point Khal, Los Alamos is a different kind of place. As I have interact with my alma maters much more frequently after I retired, I have used it often, it seems to fit in in academia. When I was working full time, I never used it, just didn't seem anyone cared in my old business.

Khal Spencer

Thank you, Thomas. These discussions can be constructive. Its up to us.

Barbara Harrelson

John King, I like what you said about Los Alamos and the New Mexico labs having a lead role in developing a vaccine, but in the name of accurate history, have to correct your identification of the general who managed the Manhattan Project. He was Gen. Leslie Groves, Jr.

arthur lynn

Edith Powers Yes Obama speaks very well, all con men do that's how they bilk people out of their life savings. He would be great as a spokesman for any inferior product.He would do well selling Payday Loans or Reverse Mortgages. It's unfortunate that people like you fail to see the corruption and racism of his administration.

Jim Klukkert

arthur lynn, making our world a better place by bringing us together. arthur lynn who infamously wrote "You can expect problems if you're in a country illegally" and "Democrats ... hatred is so overwhelming that they would rather watch Americans die than admit anything positive about Trump !"

I suspect, though I do not wish, that you will be reaping the whirlwind. M. lynn.

Hatred is your burden, and yes, we do forgive you.

rodney carswell

arthur lynn, you have been successfully gaslit by d. trump (AKA the most effective con-man in the last 50 years); now you are doing your ever best to pass it on. Not buying it here; but I do have a question: do you realize you have been conned, or is it just...oh, never mind.

Jim Klukkert

Khal Spencer~ [beam]

Khal Spencer

I posted this elsewhere but maybe its worth repeating, and far over 160 words.

One issue is that we are an aging population, esp in Santa Fe (and elsewhere). Friend of mine, a Vietnam Vet and in the aging citizen class a little ahead of me, pointed out that if you look at the numbers nationwide, you find that people over 65 are 25% or less of the cases but over 75% of the fatalities. The National Center for Health Statistics (link below) shows that almost half of those over 55 have at least two chronic, serious health conditions that would put one at higher risk of a bad outcome if you get sick with COVID. These include arthritis, current asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes.

So the bottom line is that there is a lot more to this than just COVID. It would be nice if the government and the media gave us a fuller discussion so we can better share/avoid the risks as well as aid with the benefits of various plans to contain the virus while opening the economy as we move ahead. For example, can we break down the health profiles by county or municipal area? Can we fine tune our strategy based on a more complex analysis than "wear a mask, stay home, and shop alone"?


Jim Klukkert

Khal Spencer~ You are just knocking its out of the park today. Well said.

All in for a nuanced, data driven and compassionate response. [thumbup]

Khal Spencer

Hi Jim. Hate to sound like a Progressive right now (just kidding) but what this really points to is that we need a strong public health program that is available cradle to grave. Whether its single payer, an expanded Public Health/National Health Plan, universal basic health insurance coupled with more general practictioners and physicians assistants, or something else.

If you wait till there is a crisis to address people's underlyng health profiles, you get carnage. We cannot predict or confidently prevent a mutation of a virus, or some other surprise issue. This pandemic is a classic case of the fog of war, even if one can rightfully criticize the administration for mishandling it. Its easy to do in retrospect.

But if people are already suffering comorbidities that could be prevented or mitigated with a Bernie style national health plan, we would not necessarily be panicking for ventilators and trucking bodies to the morgue.

But sure, to answer the inevitable "but its my freedom to have whatever health I want" response, sure it is. This is no guarantee against any comorbidity but it might improve things. What do other nations do? What other variables are in play (sedentary behavior, bad urban planning, etc). Sure, you are still free to have that marbled steak and quart of ice cream per day. So am I.



Barbara Harrelson

Amen to both of you!

Dr. Michael Johnson

I would agree with these data you present Khal, but as I have said before, many state governors, including our own, have focused completely on minimizing deaths, which of course maximizes the economic damage. That is their choice, but if you are only guided by health professionals (and as my daughter is an RN in NYC, I understand their views) and ignore the economics, the result will not be a balanced, nuanced, and targeted approach to all the aspects of this mess. My colleagues at the MIT Sloan School have done much economic modeling of the best ways to do this, which includes targeting the most vulnerable for protection, but which minimizes both deaths and economic damage. It is a pity people like our Guv refuse to listen to other voices and experts, here is the peer-reviewed research paper just published: https://www.nber.org/papers/w27102?mod=article_inline

Khal Spencer

Completely agree with you and thanks for the link. I read the abstract and gotta get back to something else.

The third leg of the stool is the civil liberties angle, which is what my original letter was all about. While a strict lockdown of the most vulnerable groups may maximize the economic recovery while minimizing deaths (the old max/min optimization process) eventually you have to deal with people like me going to court to object to being locked down for my own protection. I'm not trying to pick a fight here, just pointing out there are three issues here: public health, the economy, and civil liberties.

I do get the impression we are getting only one side of the story from the administration and that doesn't help.

Dr. Michael Johnson

This is also informative as to where the major risks are:


Dr. Michael Johnson

Khal, of course you know I am in total agreement with you about our civil liberties and rights being infringed upon here in so many, unprecedented ways. I think the solution to that is for the legislature to do their job and think about the laws they pass that give one person a dictatorial right to make all life decisions for people under a premise that one person solely decides without oversight and constitutional checks and balances. If they write a law that gives the Guv this kind of power with no oversight or sunset provisions, our civil rights are in danger at all times, and those "emergency" laws need to be modified. I understand the White House is now thoroughly examining their emergency powers, I would be willing to bet the left wing, who so enjoy Mich's dictatorship, would not like to see Trump do something similar. But that may happen, the President has great powers, but, luckily, he, unlike Mich, has bipartisan oversight and checks and balances.

Khal Spencer

Indeed, that is my standard reply to those who want the Governor to have maximal power: how would you feel if Steve Pearce was governor and asserted the same?

I would like the emergency power law amended so it sunsets after X days and cannot be renewed without an affirmative vote of the legislature. 60% minimal approval in each house.

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