New Mexico People Places and Ideas

The first Friday of the month at 8am.

Stephen Spitz hosts this monthly talk show featuring in-depth interviews with people who have an impact on New Mexico history, politics, public policy and culture.

The Catholic Sun www.catholicsun.org

Fri. 6/2, 8a: What’s the proper role of the Church in Politics? We put this question to Archbishop John Wester, who became the 12th archbishop of New Mexico in June 2015. In Wester, New Mexico Catholics have seen an archbishop who is highly engaged in “political” issues like immigration and education reform such as funding early childhood education through annual distributions from New Mexico’s $16B Land Grant Permanent Fund. 

Walter de Maria Vertikaler Erdkilometer

  Fri. 12/4 8a From reducing crime to increasing educational and economic outcomes, the go-to answer seems to be “early childhood education”. But why, what is the need for outside, early intervention with our young children and is there evidence that home visiting and pre-K programs can accomplish the desired results.  We will put these questions to a true expert, Allen Sanchez, the head of Chi St Joseph’s Children, which runs the largest home visiting program in the United States, now in five New Mexico counties.  But, what about the rest of the State?

Idaho National Laboratory via Flickr

Fri. 02/06 8a: Is there life on Mars?  One reason for this centuries old question is Mars’ proximity and similarity to Earth; now, the latest Mars mission actually points to yes. NASA's Curiosity rover has just found spikes of methane in the Martian atmosphere, a gas that on Earth is strongly tied to life. The Rover has also found organic chemicals in a soil sample collected by its robotic drill. And, the 96-mile-wide crater being explored by Curiosity appears to have been a lake billions of years ago.

  Fri. 12/5 8a:  New Mexico has one of the highest rates of child abuse and neglect in
the Nation. But Children are resilient, aren’t they? No, says Dr.
Bruce Perry, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist, who recently headlined
a child welfare forum in Albuquerque.  Dr. Perry has researched how a
child's environment, particularly those who encounter trauma, affects
brain development. Dr. Perry has been featured in a wide range of
media including NPR, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline,

Nicolas Raymond via Flickr

Fri. 11/07 8a: What explains the Republican success in the US Senate races and their historic victories in the New Mexico House and Governor’s contests? We couldn’t have a better analyst to answer these questions than Dr. Gabriel Sanchez. Dr. Sanchez is a regular guest on many shows about New Mexico elections, a political science professor at UNM, and the Research Director for Latino Decisions, a national research and polling organization. So please join host Stephen Spitz as we wrap the 2014 election and get the inside scoop on the significant races in and out of NM.

Fri. 10/3 8a: Join host Stephen Spitz for what promises to be a very entertaining half-hour with one of New Mexico's premier writers.

New Mexico author Max Evans is best known for The Rounders, which along with a later book, Hi Lo Country, were turned into popular Hollywood movies. Evans is also the recipient of numerous writing awards, including the 1990 Levi Strauss Saddleman Award for lifetime achievement in Western literature.

Fri. 8/1 8 am:  Our guest this month is Paul Tough, who has written extensively about education, child development and poverty, and is the author of How Children Succeed. There could not be a more important subject for New Mexico, which just fell from 46th to 49th in overall child welfare – only Mississippi fares worse on indicators such as high school dropouts, concentrated childhood poverty, and teen drug abuse, etc. Our fundamental question is something you may have wondered about, why do some children succeed while others fail?

andrea zeppilli via Flickr

Fri. 7/4 8a: The National Climate Assessment is out and, no surprise here, the US is still headed for disaster without major policy changes: “Summers are longer and hotter, and extended periods of unusual heat last longer while Winters are generally shorter and warmer.” Significantly, conditions in the Southwest, including New Mexico, are expected to progressively worsen. But what exactly does this mean for us and where do we stand with alternative energy sources?  Two Los Alamos scientists have been studying these very questions and join host Stephen Spitz with the answers. Dr.

APD Shootings

Sep 5, 2014
Rescuenav via Flickr

  Fri. 8/5 8a: Albuquerque police have shot and killed 26 of our fellow citizens since 2010.  With each killing concern and protests grew. Then, on March 16,2014 the police shot and killed James Boyd, a mentally ill,homeless man, who had been illegally camping in the Sandia foothills.Unlike prior shootings, video footage taken by a police lapel camera became available and appeared to show that Mr. Boyd had been needlessly shot in the back while surrendering. The video immediately went viral and mass demonstrations began with the chant: “They say ‘justified’!

  Fri. 6/6 8a: Politics and process inside New Mexico’s “Roundhouse” are notoriously complex with legislative success dependent on personal connections, the power of lobbyists, and basic deal making.  Our guest, former progressive Senator Dede Feldman, will give us an insider’s account of what goes on behind closed doors.

Asaavedra32 / Wikimedia Commons


Courtesy of Tony Gallegos

Fri. 4/4 8a: Our guests run two successful business incubators in New Mexico. Tony Gallegos is CEO of the South Valley Economic Development Center and Marie Longserre is president and CEO of the Santa Fe Business Incubator. These organizations have helped entrepreneurs create hundreds of jobs around the state, but they often fly under the radar while big corporate announcements grab the headlines.


South Valley Economic Development Center

Santa Fe Business Incubator

Fri. 2/7 8a: Our guest this month is Santa Fe resident Marilyn Mason. Dr. Mason is an internationally recognized consultant and speaker on leadership and coaching.

Fri. 11/1 8a: Albuquerque based Scott Miller, of Circles USA (formerly, “Move the Mountain”), says no, and believes we can totally end poverty by simply focusing on one family at a time. Absurd, you might say, but Miller counters that this standard reaction is part of the reason the US have had so little success in alleviating poverty.

Our guest is the most famous comedian you have never seen and didn’t even believe existed. His name is Jack Handey (yes that’s his real name), and the name is undoubtedly familiar to fans of Saturday Night Live. Jack Handey, a long time resident of Santa Fe, is the person responsible for SNL’s consistently hilarious series,  “Deep Thoughts”, along with many other sketches. On SNL Deep Thoughts was an interstitial segment between sketches that was introduced by Phil Hartman and read live by Handey (neither actually appeared on screen). Handey’s one-liners proved to be extremely popular.

Courtesy of the Art of Revolution/One Million Bones project

In June of this year, the National Mall in Washington D.C. was the site of a huge art installation. One million bones, crafted by students, educators, artists and activists from around the world, were laid out across this iconic space in the nation's capital. The idea was to make a powerful visual call for action against ongoing genocide and mass atrocities in Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma, Somalia and Syria.

Our Growing Water Crisis

Jul 3, 2013
Matt and Kim Rudge / Flickr

Fri. 7/5 8a: Our water supply is shrinking, we are in the midst of a seemingly endless drought and our groundwater buffer is gone. In the shadow of global climate change and under constant pressure from population growth, agriculture and a struggling Rio Grande ecosystem, something has to change.

Fri. 7/5 8a:  Our water supply is shrinking, we are in the midst of a seemingly endless drought and our groundwater buffer is gone. In the shadow of global climate change and under constant pressure from population growth, agriculture and a struggling Rio Grande ecosystem, something has to change.Dr. Fred M. Phillips directs the hydrology program in the department of earth and environmental sciences at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Dr. Philips joins host Stephen Spitz to to explain how this happened, and explore our limited policy choices.

  Fri. 6/7 8a. :What is going on in the mind of a school shooter, a mass murderer, or a serial rapist? Is that mind different from a mass fraudster like Bernie Madoff? We summarily dismiss these criminals as pure  “evil” but are they? Often they are psychopaths – wrongdoers who repeatedly act impulsively, and lack of empathy, guilt and remorse for the harm caused; they know right from wrong cognitively, but don't have a feeling for what's right and wrong.

Fri. 4/5 8a:  Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union are American icons, and the UFW is a prime example of a union that fought for higher wages and better working conditions against impossible odds.

D Sharon Pruitt / Flickr

Fri. 3/1 8a: Can anything really be done to improve  K – 12 Education in New Mexico? Improve education is the answer you usually get to New Mexico’s seemingly intractable problems. But, how do you do that? 

This month’s guest is New York Times writer and Pulitzer Prize winner author Timothy Egan whose latest work is a biography, Short Nights of the Shadow CatcherShadow catcher was the name given to acclaimed photographer Edward Curtis by American Indians as he traveled the country taking their photos and documenting their tradions, language and culture in the early 20th Century.

Last month we talked with Paul Tough, the author of "How Children Succeed", about scientific studies showing that a baby’s early “attachment” to a parent promotes long term character skills such as perseverance, curiosity, and self-control. These character traits have been shown in randomized trials to lead to success in school and later in life. This month we look at a large, scale Albuquerque program designed to encourage early attachment, develop a baby’s cognitive skills, and promote good health in the mother. In St.

Fri. 10/5  8 am: Ruben Martinez is a journalist, author, musician, and professor of literature and writing at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. In Desert America he writes of his time in Northern New Mexico - a world of "outrageous wealth and devastating poverty, sublime beauty and ecological ruin".  His wife to be, a medical anthropologist was preparing her dissertation on the social and historical dimensions of heroin addiction, suggested the move.

Photo by Spec-ta-cles / Flickr

Fri. 3/09 8a: Our guest is Dr. Rex Jung, MD and Ph.D. Dr. Jung is a Professor of Neurosurgery at UNMH, a Research Scientist at Albuquerque’s Mind Research Network, and a practicing clinical neuropsychologist. 

Fri. 9/8 8a: When people ask author Jim Kristofic, who is blue-eyed and brown haired, where he is from, and learn that he grew up on an Indian Reservation, they usually ask, “So are you an Indian?”  In his memoir,Navajos Wear Nikes, Kristofic writes that he tries to answer this question the way his Navajo friends would, not with a simple yes or no, but with stories.

Creative Commons

Fri. 11/11 8a: Republicans, along with many on the Left, continue to question the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed under President Obama.

Fri. 8/12 at 8am: Stephen Spitz talks with Dr. M. Rebecca Kilburn, Director of Child Policy for the Rand Corporation about early childhood programs in New Mexico.


Fri. 6/10 at 8am: Both President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan say that the biggest and best change we can make to education is to provide all children with access to universal pre-kindergarten (UPK). One of the most intensive, comprehensive UPK programs in the country is being carried out right here in New Mexico by St. Joseph Community Health.

Fri. 5/13 at 8am: Although known as the vacation home for many a movie and media star, New Mexico's climate has also pulled in many other amazing transplants such as our guest this month, Dr. Laurence H. Lattman. Dr. Lattman, who, among other things, is the Past President and Professor Emeritus of Geology of New Mexico Tech, will sketch for us the development of Western science.