by John Walters
We’re Number 2!
Overnight the United States surpassed 15,000 deaths and as of this moment has reached 15,634 deaths. We are now second behind only Italy (17,699) in deaths and, of course, number one worldwide in number of cases. Of course, no one knows for sure what the actual case and death totals are anywhere, in terms of accuracy.
But right now, we’re Number 2! Only five to six weeks removed from the infamous “When you have 15 people and, in a couple of weeks, it’s going down to close to zero.”
Give ‘Em Hell, Chamath
MH staff slept more than 11 hours last night (No, we’re not sick… or hung over… the new job is rather arduous and today’s our first day off in six) and so we woke up, on Pacific Time, to Chamath Palipitiya, a socially conscious rich guy investor (he’s worth $1.2 billion), as a guest on CNBC’s “Halftime Report.” In short, he was glorious and what was fascinating is how obtuse host Scott Wapner appeared to be.
First, and I wish I had the entire video, he noted that the government would have done a much better job of stimulating the economy, not to mention helping more Americans, if it had, instead of handing out $2 trillion to large corporations so they could manage their balance sheets, instead looked at every American’s W-2 form and given each what would amount to their monthly income. Downtown Josh Brown, with whom we normally agree, countered that you just can’t go around handing people bags of money. Oh, but you can hand grain sacks full of money to corporations?
Then Wapner asked his put-you-on-the-spot question: “Do you think the airlines should be allowed to fail?”
Wapner: “Why? When it’s through no fault of their own?”
Chamath: “Because, first of all, when the airline fails it isn’t firing all of its employees. It goes through bankruptcy and those employees wind up having a bigger stake in the company. And second, because that’s the rules. (Let us replay that for the people in back: because that’s the rules. How come dyed-in-the-wool capitalists gets so upset when Fortune 500 companies are subject to the same trials that mom-and-pop stores are).”
Wapner: “Why should they go under when it’s through no fault of their own (He honestly asked this)?”
Chamath: “Look around. Look at today’s unemployment figures. Millions of Americans are going under through no fault of their own. They don’t know how they’re going to pay their bills or feed their families. Now look at who owns the airlines. It’s large private equity firms like Blackrock. So the airlines go under and you don’t get your summer in the Hamptons, so what (he actually said this and at that point I may have begun clapping and a happy tear may have escaped from my cheek)?”
There was more and if I can find the video, I’ll post it. Kudos to CNBC for giving such a progressive thinker (but of course, only because he’s rich was he allowed to be on) that much space to talk, but it’s truly disheartening to see what hypocrites some of these guys are. They say they’re for capitalism, but really what they’re for is the status quo.
We’ll post this now since it’s late and continue working on the blog because that is what we do, America…
The Upside of a Pandemic Catastrophe: A Rai Of Hope
Early on I said I was rooting for the coronavirus and in a bizarre way, I still am. Certainly the death toll is tragic, and there’s no escaping that. But look at some of the residual effects. In no particular order:
–Average Americans are finally recognizing that doctors and nurses are the real heroes, not the military. I’m not at all against someone serving this country, but I’d grown past nauseous seeing ESPN and others glorify these “reunited at sporting events” moments for service members who’ve come home from abroad in nations where WE, the USA, initiated the engagement. WTF? Seeing New Yorkers clap and cheer every evening at 7 p.m. to honor health care workers is a sign that people are beginning to get their priorities in place (that and parents at last beginning to see just how woefully underpaid teachers are for watching their kids six hours each day).
–The air is cleaner in major cities.
–Animals are getting a better chance. I saw this video of cats and dogs being able to roam through an aquarium the other day and thought it was the coolest thing ever.
–Donald Trump is, daily, being exposed for the fraud and miscreant that he is. The virus doesn’t have a political agenda, but its numbers are stark and real. The MAGA cult will continue to attempt to absolve him from blame, but there’s no getting around it. A man and a cult who think that money and whiteness can overwhelm any problem or adversary are being brought to their knees. Intelligence matters. Truth matters. Science matters. God bless this pandemic for exposing that.
–The goodness in most people is coming out and being exposed. Last night Lawrence O’Donnell showed a video posted by a young anesthesiologist, Dr. Ajit Rai, who graduated from UCLA a year or two ago. He was working in Los Angeles but had done some residency work in New York City only a year ago. Dr. Rai was so overwhelmed by what he was seeing in Manhattan that he obtained a leave of absence from his residency at a Los Angeles hospital, bought a one-way ticket to New York (“flying into the inferno,” he called it), and got put on staff at his old hospital in New York City to be part of the fight. He said that the hardest part of this was telling his parents what he was doing.
To a lot of Red State America, this young man might not look “American.” But what Dr. Rai is doing is the most American thing you can possibly do.
Yesterday CNBC’s Jane Wells reported from a berry farm in Camarillo, Calif. (above is NOT that farm), about 60 miles northwest of L.A., I’m estimating. In a 2-minute report Wells touched on a number of things that could have all been turned into a John Steinbeck novel (or perhaps already have):
–First, she noted that the farmers are losing money because Americans are no longer dining out and simply not spending as much on food. They’re wondering if the government can’t step in and buy the food and donate it to food banks, which makes me ask, Why can’t the farmers just donate it to food banks? Oh, yeah, cuz they don’t want to lose money. So, welfare under another name, but at least they didn’t simply have their hands out.”
–Wells also noted that most, if not all of the workers, are there under special work visas (she never used the terms “Mexicans,” “Central Americans” or “Illegals) and would not normally be permitted to do so under this administration. In other words, they’re rapists, drug dealers and murderers until America has a job for them to do. Wells, who is nothing if not smart and shrewd, did point out that Hey, doesn’t America have this massive unemployment problem and aren’t these jobs that need doing but then just as quickly noted that the average American will make more in a week off his or her unemployment check than he or she will doing this back-breaking field labor. Funny how that goes.
–Finally, Jane brought up one final, ominous point. These workers are violating social distance rules constantly and are housed in dormitories. What happens when one of them tests positive? What she didn’t need to add is that none of them will because the moment someone gets sick they’ll simply be sent away or back across the border. As foreign workers go, Rudy Gobert gets tested. Carlos in the strawberry field does not.
TCM Has A Major Woody
Tonight on TCM a Woody Allen double feature in prime time. First, at 8 p.m. EDT, it’s Annie Hall, his 1977 classic that won Best Picture at the Oscars. It’s the only comedy I can think of that won Best Picture and it’s undoubtedly Allen’s best picture or, as Roger Ebert noted, “everyone’s favorite Woody Allen film.”
Then at 10 p.m. it’s Manhattan, which is a sequel of sorts in spirit, though the characters have changed. Once again you get Allen and Diane Keaton, but also a young and captivating but cold Meryl Streep (buffs will note it’s one of two Streep films from this year in which she plays a Manhattan wife who leaves her Jewish husband) and an ingenue, Margeaux Hemingway, who serves as a harbinger to Allen’s real-life previsions to come, i.e., having sex with underage girls (a lot of that going on with Upper East Side millionaires and billionaires it seems).
The real star of Manhattan, shot entirely in black-and-white, is the city island itself. It’s never looked lovelier onscreen and yes, always looks better in black and white and gray.