¡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.

MLB’s decision shows the power companies can wield over lawmakers – when they choose to

Over 100 companies, including Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola, reacted to Georgia’s new restrictive voting law by publicly denouncing it. While some executives are discussing doing more – such as halting donations or delaying investments, MLB is among the few organizations to go beyond words: It immediately said it was going to move the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver.

Both MLB’s decision to relocate the July 13 game and the many corporate press releases issued about the voting law drew a swift rebuke from Republicans, who vowed boycotts of baseball and the products these companies produce. The Senate minority leader even threatened retribution if companies didn’t stay out of politics – with an exception for campaign contributions…

MLB’s decision is estimated to cost Georgia as much as US$100 million in lost economic activity…Despite the apparent leverage companies yield, it’s not simple for most companies to just get up and leave.

The obvious reason for the agility of MLB is that they have no direct ownership stake in Georgia. Frankly, I doubt that very few Falcons fans who voted for Trumpo would also give up on supporting their team. Cripes, I’ll be a Red Sox fan till the day I die … and that’s a helluva admission covering the number of decades I had to put up with madness on and off the field.

But, RTFA. Lots of detail, analysis and good sense.

Tracking history before DNA


F.Chen et al./Nature

Over the past two decades, DNA retrieved from ancient fossils has transformed scientists’ understanding of human evolution. Analysis of the similarities and differences in the DNA of different hominin groups has allowed researchers to map out the tangled family tree in a way that was previously not possible. And genetic material has led to some major finds, such as the discovery of Denisovans in the first place…

Ancient DNA has also left geographical blind spots. DNA degrades faster in warm environments, so although a 100,000-year-old specimen found in a cold Siberian cave might still harbour genetic material, a fossil that has spent that long in the heat of Africa or southeast Asia generally will not. As a result, little is known about the genetics of even relatively recent hominins from these regions, such as H. floresiensis…

Now researchers are hoping that protein analysis might begin to fill in some of those blanks. The idea is not new: as early as the 1950s, researchers had reported finding amino acids in fossils. But for a long time, the technology needed to sequence ancient proteins just didn’t exist … That changed in the 2000s, after researchers realized that mass spectrometry — a technique used to study modern proteins — could also be applied to ancient proteins. Mass spectrometry essentially involves breaking down proteins into their constituent peptides (short chains of amino acids) and analysing their masses to deduce their chemical make-up.

RTFA. Fascinating as paleontology can always be. Learning the where and when of how we got to here and now. True science never walks away from a problem because it’s difficult. Even when it takes generations to resolve.

Making a video on gun violence in Philadelphia can get you killed

A man working on a video about gun violence was shot and killed in Philadelphia, police said … “This 55-year-old male was working for a production company. They were inside of a private residence. They were interviewing and filming some family members whose children were victims of gun violence in the last two to three years,” Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

The man went out to his van to get more equipment and police said he was shot multiple times. Production equipment and two cellphones were found on the sidewalk … The man was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Though police didn’t initially identify the victim, his name was published a day or two later. Anthony Merriett Jr.

Republican Party candidate for 2024

“…The GOP is a not a collective babe in the woods led astray by a Big, Bad Orange Wolf. That such a repulsive company of anti-science, anti-intellectual hooligans … mean(s) that the party has chosen aforethought to take the path through the briars of conspiracy, lies, untruths and authoritarianism.

All their palaver about personal rights and liberty notwithstanding, the GOP are intent on enacting a regime of some bizarre and terrifying hybrid of libertarianism, anarchy and fascist authoritarianism wherein the population is left to its own resources, unassisted and unaided by a government which is wholly unresponsive to the needs or wishes of the people.

The Party of Lincoln is dead but it refuses to be buried. It refuses to be interred in sanctified ground. The GOP is a zombie hungering for brains and power.”