343 Mask Mandates, Human Authority over COVID-19, Southwest Cancels Flights and more

On this week’s podcast, Paul and Wally discuss Gov. Lujan Grisham’s health advisor Dr. David Scrase’s statement that New Mexicans could be dealing with mask mandates for years to come. According to AARP New Mexico is only one of 7 states to have an indoor mask mandate. California is NOT one of them. Paul wonders: Are we really going to send kids to school in masks for another 2-3 years? More Americans have now died of COVID under Biden than under Trump, but the media doesn’t blame Biden of course. According to Michael Osterholm, an infectious-disease expert at the University of Minnesota (and Biden COVID advisor) quoted in the New York Times “We’ve ascribed far too much human authority over the virus.” 

Southwest cancels thousands of flights over the weekend as vaccine mandate kicks in; The 100+ person mandate has not been formally implemented yet, but businesses including Southwest Airlines are using it as cover to impose the vaccine mandate on their workers.

Energy crisis Analysts at Deutsche Bank noted that in Europe prices are up fivefold, while in the U.S. and Asia prices are about 1.5 times higher. In Europe, the price spike in natural gas is equivalent to if oil were trading around $200 per barrel. “The importance of these moves on inflation, growth and external accounts are not to be underestimated,” the firm wrote in a note to clients. “These price moves are a big deal.”

Coal and oil prices are also jumping. West Texas Intermediate crude futures, the U.S. oil benchmark, topped $80 per barrel on Friday for the first time since November 2014. International benchmark Brent crude, meanwhile, traded at its highest level since 2018. Analysts say that elevated natural gas prices could even prompt utilities to swap the fuel for oil. In New Mexico this means even more money flowing into the state.

California took another step toward its goal of ridding the state of all gas-powered engines thanks to a new bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday. The new law will ban the sale of all off-road, gas-powered engines, including generators, lawn equipment, pressure washers, chainsaws, weed trimmers, and even golf carts. Under the new law, these machines must be zero-emissions, meaning they will have to be either battery-powered or plug-in.

Trever cartoon electric hot air balloons

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s campaign paid an additional $87,500 as part of a settlement with an ex-staffer who accused her of sexual mistreatment, bringing the total dollar amount to $150,000.

Early voting at county clerk’s offices is going on right now. It will spread out around town starting next week. Ali Ennenga in District 3 and Celia Cortez a write-in candidate in District 6 has as well. School board is very important. City Council is as well.