¡Viva la gobernadora!

New Mexico in recent days became the state first to provide at least one dose to half of its adult population, and a nation-leading 38 percent of adults are fully vaccinated. It’s also among the top-performing states on equity: Over 26 percent of Blacks, 32 percent of Hispanics and 41 percent of Asians received at least one shot, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation review of the 41 states publicly reporting ethnic and racial data.

They are an exemplar,” said Georges Benjamin, the executive director of the American Public Health Association. “Their model works.”

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Michelle Lujan Grisham is the thirty-second governor of the state of New Mexico, the first Democratic Latina to be elected governor in U.S. history…

A longtime state Cabinet secretary at both the New Mexico Department of Aging and Long-term Services and Department of Health, Lujan Grisham has been a leading advocate for senior citizens, veterans and the disabled as well as investments in health care infrastructure and innovative programming that has improved access and quality of care for New Mexicans across the state.

Lujan Grisham was born in Los Alamos and graduated from St. Michael’s High School in Santa Fe before earning undergraduate and law degrees from the University of New Mexico. A 12th-generation New Mexican, she is the mother of two adult children and grandmother of three. She is the caretaker for her mother, Sonja.

She would be the first to be modest. Not about these achievements; but, concerning her own role. Often, when questions are asked about the latest projects benefitting our state, our citizens, she is the first to remind us of the many dedicated workers and (dare I say it) officials who are part of the process.

Most of us in New Mexico assumed the vaccine rollout – and more – would go well. And it did.

Autonomous logistics afloat


Autonomy success will include small-load, short-haul
Eric Bakker/Port of Rotterdam

Autonomous shipping – the keynote topic of every maritime industry event for quite some time – is finally taking baby steps towards reality. However, major regulatory challenges still lie ahead…

A key aspect of this will be how ports will need to adapt to welcome autonomous ships. In particular, the ways that unmanned vessels will berth and manoeuvre around ports – many of which might be densely trafficked – will be the subject of intense scrutiny…

Ports are already under pressure to adapt to a number of recent trends, including bigger ships, sustainability and climate change initiatives and smart concepts such as big data. But where do autonomous ships fit into the equation?

Andrew Higgs is a consultant solicitor at Setford Solicitors and one of the co-authors of the BPA report. He says that autonomous ships could help UK ports benefit from increased short sea shipping across inland and territorial waters around the British Isles, as well as continental European ports.

While initial considerations are oriented towards the EU and the UK…questions ranged, from regulation to logistics complexity are touched throughout the article. Not only a good read for folks currently involved in commerce and logistics…but, anyone with an interest in where robots and automation, artificial intelligence and its implementation are headed.

The first port in the world aiming for advanced autonomous operations is Caofeidan in northern China … by the end of the year. Including a joint US/China startup, TuSimple. Might be nice if our Cold Warriors in Congress and the White House paid attention to the world of commerce.

We found a baby on the subway … he became our son


Pete, Kevin and Danny in 2001

It was around eight o’clock on 28 August 2000, just past the frenzy of the New York rush hour when a subway train rattled down the track into 14th Street station, in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. Danny Stewart, 34, was late for dinner with his partner, Pete Mercurio, 32.

The couple had met three years earlier through a friend in Pete’s softball team. Later Danny had moved in with Pete and his flatmate, but on this summer evening he had been back to his sublet apartment in Harlem to pick up the post.

As Danny was hurrying out of the station something caught his eye.

“I noticed on the floor tucked up against the wall, what I thought was a baby doll,” he says.

That baby doll turned out to be an abandoned newborn…and the tale of rescue, eventually a couple with a new son, is the stuff of heartwarming engagement. Read and enjoy.

NLRB rules against Amazon retaliation

Nearly a year ago, Amazon fired two employees who had criticized the company. The employees had publicly called on the company to do more to reduce its carbon footprint and had circulated a petition among Amazon employees supporting better compensation and support for warehouse workers. Now, the National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB, has found that Amazon acted illegally and in retaliation when it fired them … (according to a report from The New York Times).

Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa were both designers at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, and their tussles with management began in 2018 when they joined a group of employees who vocally backed shareholder petitions urging the company to do more to combat climate change…

Cunningham and Costa joined with other Amazon tech employees to circulate petitions internally that sought expanded hazard pay, sick leave, and childcare for warehouse employees. The group also planned a virtual event for warehouse and tech workers, allowing the latter to hear firsthand about the former’s working conditions.

Shortly thereafter, Amazon fired both Cunningham and Costa, claiming that they had been “repeatedly violating internal policies.” The two women filed complaints with the NLRB.

Been there … done that! I honestly don’t know if political and public pressure has pushed the NLRB into faster action in all-too-common situations like this. BITD, it could take years to get a response on retaliation cases.

“Religious” folk ain’t the majority in the GOUSA anymore …


No waiting in line

The secularization of U.S. society — the waning of religious faith, practice and affiliation — is continuing at a dramatic and historically unprecedented pace. While many may consider such a development as cause for concern, such a worry is not warranted. This increasing godlessness in America is actually a good thing, to be welcomed and embraced.

Democratic societies that have experienced the greatest degrees of secularization are among the healthiest, wealthiest and safest in the world, enjoying relatively low rates of violent crime and high degrees of well-being and happiness. Clearly, a rapid loss of religion does not result in societal ruin …

Organic secularization can occur for many reasons. It happens when members of a society become better educated, more prosperous, and live safer, more secure and more peaceful lives; when societies experience increases in social isolation; when people have better healthcare; when more women hold paying jobs; when more people wait longer to get married and have kids. All of these, especially in combination, can decrease religiosity.

Another major factor is the ubiquity of the internet, which provides open windows to alternative worldviews and different cultures that can corrode religious conviction — and allows budding skeptics and nascent freethinkers to find, support and encourage one another.

Overdue! I had read sufficient science to be an atheist by the time I was 13. Added studies in philosophy to properly associate my understanding with philosophical materialism … by 18.

Never had to look back and change that comprehension, understanding.

Waking up the NEW LEFT

The New Left emerged independently at two great postwar knowledge factories, the University of Michigan and the University of California at Berkeley. More than a third of their students were in graduate or professional school. Michigan had more contracts with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration than any other university in the country. Berkeley was the main federal contractor for nuclear research, and had more Nobel laureates on its faculty than any other university in the world.

Yeah, I skipped using the first paragraph. Lots of students in the New Left would have agreed 100% with it. In truth, the New Left was late to the dance. Folks, North and South, predominantly Black, had been leading an uprising against American Racism which came to be called the Civil Rights Movement. Lots of grassroots. Urban and rural. Students and workingclass activists alike had been building organizations like SNCC and CORE for a few years before, say, the founding of SDS. And these groups had already begun the reconstruction of an American Left that breached public comprehension with the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August, 1963.

I was there as co-founder of my local CORE Chapter along with the other founder, a Black member of one of the biggest UAW locals in Connecticut.

As discussions of New Left analysis grew across the U.S., most of the “welcoming committees” were folks already committed to the civil rights movement. In general, as community-based organizations, we were working class, all colors. And saying that, please, move on and read this article. It is a useful, thoughtful, pretty direct depiction of what the New Left thought of itself and the land where it was born.

Just sayin’

I believe this header went up at the Amazon Prime Video app more than a few days ago. You know what it stands for…as do I. Stop the bigots who’ve decided this is a good time to assault and murder Asian-Americans/Pacific Islanders. Creeps who need to hate someone to feel bigger than a pimple on someone’s butt have a tradition of racism to live up to in this land…as we all know.

I don’t watch a great deal of entertainment telly even though I’m a retiree. An hour or two in the evening dividing the time I dedicate to this blog. But, I don’t recall seeing any other similar site taking a stand in solidarity. So, I felt it worth mentioning.

That’s an attaboy, Jeff.

Think the GOUSA will catch up to China’s EV production?


Just introduced by Toyota

Segment leaders such as Tesla, Nio and Xpeng may have made their mark on the Chinese consumer, but low-priced EVs are enjoying the mass appeal in the East Asian country.

EVs, such as a $10,000 crossover vehicle made by Hozon Auto, are attracting customers due to lower maintenance costs and a smaller price tag…“These ultracheap EVs are reaching a new customer in China, as they likely will in other markets as prices come down,” said Siyi Mi, a BloombergNEF analyst.

Availability of a wider range has the Chinese consumer spoilt for choice. There is the Hozon Auto Neta N01. Also available is the e1 minicar from Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett-backed BYD Company Ltd priced at $8,950 and the Hong Guang Mini, a two-door vehicle available for just $4,230. The Hong Guang Mini, built by Wuling — a joint venture between General Motors Company and the state-owned SAIC Motor — reported sales in excess of those by Tesla’s Model 3 by two-to-one late last month.

“Taking into account people’s access to transportation, it’s very important to see a greater diversity of models like EVs being offered on the lower end of the price range,” said Selika Talbott, a professorial lecturer and a founding partner of an automotive consultant company, Bloomberg reported. Priced at just under $30,000, the cheapest EV available in the U.S. after subsidies from a major vehicle maker is General Motors Company’s Mini Cooper SE.

This is where recent history has brought the EV market in both the US and China. The latter has a head start and – more important in my mind – the opportunity to sell a broader range of vehicles.