I write to take issue with one aspect of the excellent article (“Virtual Vivace,” Pasatiempo, May 8) about the upcoming book discussion group focused on the novel The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes. We’re told the group, associated with the Santa Fe Opera, is “meeting online until it can resume in-person gatherings at Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse.” Then, after an excellent summary of the book’s interesting and unusual historical conceit, we’re advised: “The Noise of Time is available from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com.” Why not list Collected Works! Or Garcia Street Books, or others like them?
The last thing the usual online suspects need is the free publicity our local independent bookstores could dearly use these days.
President Donald Trump has again shown his total disregard for people. Although 83 percent of Americans trust information that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided during the pandemic while only 23 percent trust what Trump says, the president refused to release the recent 17-page report titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework.” The report, which would have provided safe guidelines for a gradual opening of businesses, schools, etc., was scheduled for publication May 1. However, Trump decided the suggested safe measures were too restrictive and has not allowed the CDC to release its recommendations, which were science-based and designed to protect people.
Another example of Trump’s disregard for human life is his decision, without consulting anyone, to give a commencement speech at West Point in June. All 1,000 graduates have left the campus to avoid COVID-19 infections and possible deaths. Trump’s appearance would mean that the 1,000 cadets would need to travel from far and wide to be present. In addition, innumerable support individuals, faculty, cleaners, cooks, etc. would need to return. How many of these would really want to risk infection to hear a speech by Trump?
All the facts, please
Harley Baker’s letter (“Follow the science,” May 9) makes the point that in discussing which state — Florida or Michigan — has the governor with the correct solution to controlling the coronavirus, statistics can help make the determination. Trouble is, Florida’s own Department of Health has blocked from release the narrative and cause of death parts of the Medical Examiners Commission report. That makes a fair comparison impossible. So, while Baker may eventually be correct that the Florida way is better than the Michigan way, I don’t think we’re looking at apple-to-apple numbers. Florida needs to pony up before one reaches any conclusion.
We need public bank
We’re facing an unprecedented health and economic crisis, but if we pull together, we can come out stronger on the other side. Right now, this crisis demands a people’s bailout that reaches the most vulnerable people in our community. This crisis is also a time for opportunity to think seriously about rebuilding our state’s economy by establishing a public bank in New Mexico that will keep our public funds safe, local and working for all New Mexicans. For more information, contact the Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity
It is a relief to see the flurry of letters noting the increase in extreme private-vehicle noise in the city. Vehicles not in compliance with the city’s noise code seem to be operating with impunity. So many vehicles, especially motorcycles, are modifying their mufflers to be exceptionally loud. This is a violation of the city motor vehicle noise code, and the mayor should direct the Santa Fe Police Department to enforce this code for the peace of our community and increase city income in these uncertain budgetary times. We no longer sleep with our windows open in the summer because of this disturbance of the peace. Please, please enforce.
I received my morning paper a few days ago and found a sticker affixed to it titled “City Watering Reminder.” I find it interesting that we worry about citizens wasting water when we provide potable water to golf courses and continue to expand housing throughout the city and the immediate surrounding areas. Perhaps the city planners have some insight on where our water will come from in the future.
Clear and present danger
President Donald Trump continues to urge people to defy legitimate orders of state governors and health officials. Trump has abdicated any leadership role in responding to the coronavirus pandemic, as he has in foreign policy and virtually every other area of presidential functioning, with profound and lasting consequences for the U.S. His use of public, inflammatory rhetoric to achieve personal policy goals is fascism, plain and simple. He is a danger to public health, to our republic and to world order.
Go home, Mark
Regarding Mark Ronchetti’s Senate run: Mark, you express optimism about the American dream in this dubious Senate run in the Republican age of Trump, but you would be better serving New Mexicans by returning to your old forte of meteorological jokes, this time perched above all under quarantine in your high-altitude Angel Fire home you built, where you can instead zoom to the public live YouTube forecasts and human interest stories.
To what purpose
Fifty years ago in May, the nation was stunned by the shooting death of four Kent State University students protesting the Vietnam War by state National Guardsmen carrying military-grade weapons. This shocking, never-explained tragedy accelerated nationwide opposition to the war.
This May, 200-300 citizens of Michigan — some of them brandishing military-grade weapons — conducted a nationally televised protest in their state capitol’s legislative chambers. The stated purpose: to protest their governor’s restrictions aimed at combating a sharp increase in the spread of the coronavirus, the path urgently recommended by our most trusted health professionals, speaking for the White House. The protesters were cheered on by the president.
The student protest at Kent State was an integral part of a national movement to end a failed and deeply divisive war. So who and what do those protesters in Michigan represent? Nearly two-thirds of that state’s 10 million citizens and a similar share of Americans nationwide support the restrictions, deemed essential by our most respected health professionals and responsible state and local policymakers. These facts — combined with the presence of Nazi and Confederate flags and backing of Trump organizers in Michigan and other states — provide important clues
I hope we will learn from both of these very disturbing and dangerous events.
The warrior tour
To the president: I hope you and your family are well. As our commander-in-chief, a “warrior” in the war against COVID-19, I believe there is a winning reelection campaign strategy for you: “The Warrior Tour.” To (a) discredit others who feel you lack empathy; (b) to support “the troops,” the first responders and front-line workers in this battle, many of whom have already lost their lives; and © to prove the hoax surrounding this pesky “flu,” I would like you to consider the following. For every 10,000 COVID-19 deaths in the United States, devote one day of working, sans face mask or gloves, side by side with your troops in various communities around the country.
Here is one possible Warrior Tour itinerary: Monday — hospital emergency room, perhaps in Elmhurst, N.Y. Tuesday — nursing home, maybe in Kirkland, Wash. Wednesday — Tyson’s newly reopened and largest meatpacking plant in Waterloo, Iowa. Your presence there will certainly reinforce, “Let’s Get America Working Again,” and we can provide LGAWA caps, not only for the 1,031 who’ve tested positive so far, but all 2,800 employees. Thursday — Marion Correctional Institution in Ohio, where already 1,900, over 80 percent, of the inmates have tested positive. We might consider moving this to Monday on the itinerary, before it reaches 100 percent. Friday — back to home sweet home at the White House, but with a twist: No daily testing of anyone! This will be more reflective of the 98 percent of Americans who haven’t gotten even one test, let alone daily testing, and can strengthen the maxim, “Do as I do,” ahem, “Don’t do as I don’t do.” Besides, “No news is good news, no testing is good testing, and no testing is good news.”
Wait, that’s an itinerary for just five days, and we need at least three more days to honor a total of 80,000 COVID deaths and counting. We should start soon, or we’ll have to tack on more days to the Warrior Tour. Hmm. We could pick up the pace and honor 20,000 a day. Regardless, I think the last day, as consoler-in-chief, should be with our front-line workers at a morgue in the morning and at a funeral home in the afternoon.
So, there it is: Empathy, troop support and proof of the hoax. Feel free to contact me to discuss further.
Be safe. Be well.
Mask of respect
Why was it so difficult to require masks? More important, Why do people not wear masks? It’s such a simple gesture — grab a bandanna. It shows respect for others. We need a new national slogan: “Wearing a Mask is Patriotic!”
The Trump administration is focused on opening America for business, distracting from the work they should be doing to help with production of COVID-19 tests and proper personal protective equipment. If we know who’s infected, we can minimize the spread from them, and better protective equipment will provide better protection to all of us. It’s unconscionable that Make America Great Again Trumpers support the opening of businesses without regard for all Americans. Masks are analogous to seatbelts: fabric face coverings are lap belts; face masks are shoulder belts; and N95 masks are shoulder belts and air bags. Everyone should wear them, and the administration should be working to improve the availability of better PPE and testing. Social distancing and staying at home are two tools to help save lives, but testing and more PPE would enable fewer restrictions. Maybe the Chinese factories making MAGA hats should be making PPE instead.
Brian G. Rees