by John Walters
Squawk On The Wild Side
Despite their make-nice this morning, there’s no hiding yesterday’s contretemps on CNBC’s “Squawk On The Street.” Joe Kernen “questioned the questions” that Andrew Ross Sorkin called him on it. And then he took him to task for “panicking” about everything. That’s when Sorkin had enough.
“JOSEPH! JOSEPH! YOU DIDN’T PANIC ABOUT ANYTHING!” Sorkin said, . “JOSEPH, 100,000 PEOPLE DIED! 100,000 PEOPLE DIED, JOE! AND ALL YOU DID WAS TRY TO DO WAS HELP YOUR FRIEND THE PRESIDENT!
“That’s what you did! Every single morning on this show! Every single morning on this show! You used and abused your position, Joe!”
Well, Joe’s friend the president certainly knows a little about using and abusing your position. But that’s what Sorkin got wrong. Joe is not the president’s friend; he’s his sycophant. And as soon as Kernen says anything contrary to the president’s desires (which may be never), they’re not friends anymore.
So Who’s Right?
Kernen argues, correctly, that if no one had done anything with their stock portfolio in early March they’d pretty much be back where they started. Correct. But using that logic, why does anyone tune in to CNBC in the first place? If you didn’t touch your stock portfolio in October of 2008, most of your companies would eventually have gotten back to where they were within five years.
So, yeah, don’ panic but how much time are you willing to sit on that very, very hot seat as you see your personal worth plunge thousands, tens of thousands, maybe more?
Meanwhile, Sorkin’s questions break down this way: If the barometric pressure is this, and the relative humidity is that, and the very, very dark storm clouds are directly overhead and the temperature suddenly drops, then why isn’t it raining?
And the answer, we believe, is that the stock market does not take the pulse of the economy, it takes the pulse of the wealthy. And for whatever reasons the truly wealthy in this country, the hedge-funders and the billionaires and the CEOs, want Trump to succeed. So they’re priming the market to bolster the Dow.
But it’s more than that. The 100,000 deaths of mostly non-work force people are not a detriment, but a benefit. Meanwhile, the pandemic is a built-in excuse to trim the workforce. Finally, when the going gets tough, the government floats them “pay me back when you feel like it” loans of OUR tax dollars. But as for those of us who paid those taxes, sorry, we don’t believe in handouts.
We still believe in reality. Unemployment in double-digits, 100,000 dead and no reason to think we won’t reach 200,000 before Christmas, unrest with China, a suffering middle-class. Eventually the system becomes overwhelmed, no? To capitulate now, from the mega-wealthy, would be to abandon Trump. They’ve got an interesting decision to make in the next few months.
Meanwhile, the Dow is up 1,000 points in the past week.
Killer On The Loose
Meanwhile, we were grimly amused by CNN’s (and others’) coverage of the manhunt surrounding a U Conn student who murdered two people over the Memorial Day weekend. He was eventually apprehended without incident yesterday in Maryland.
But come on, now. Two people! Two!
Donald Trump has killed tens of thousands of people in the past three months. He’s right up there with the Viet Cong, who in all fairness were never this efficient.
A Columbia University study released last week found that had the US started social distancing a week earlier, it could have prevented the loss of at least 36,000 lives. That’s just so far. And that’s just if we’d begun earlier in March, not even in February or even January, back when Trump said, “We have it totally under control.” I think he told his friend Joe Kernen that.
Had the U.S. followed the lead of, ironically, China back in early February, the number of U.S. deaths would’ve been more than halved. But that’s back when this all was a “Democratic hoax,” remember? At least 36,000 fewer dead Americans if Trump had just behaved with the common sense of your local grocery store clerk. And CNN’s wasting my time with a college kid who bumped off two people.
Do the news, Joe. I’m begging you, do the news.
Wendell Wrote A Book!
A memoir, really. MH pal and contributor Wendell Barnhouse has penned a book about his 40 years in sports journalism. It has a felicitous title: “Bylines, Datelines and Deadlines: A Memoir of a Sportswriter’s Life” and is available FOR FREE right here. So please, if you have the time, give it a read and maybe even send our friend some words of insight on what he’s written.
Sports Year 1899
Sewanee: The University of the South, becomes the first southern gridiron power (“S-E-W!”), finishing 12-0. The small Tennessee Episcopal liberal arts school’s undefeated season is more impressive when you learn that the Tigers undertook a road trip in which they shut out five opponents in six days. The names of those foes: Texas, Texas A&M, Tulane, LSU, Mississippi.
Even after this feat—remember, not just wins but shutouts, all on the road, all in one week, by a combined score of 91-0— Kirk Herbstreit went on GameDay and said that he still doubted Sewanee could beat Ohio State, which is why he had the Buckeyes ranked higher in his poll.
Lawrence Brignolia, a 6th-grade dropout, becomes the heaviest (161 pounds) champion in the history of (to this day, I mean) the Boston Marathon. Brignolia had run the first two Bostons, finishing in 4:05 (following a hearty breakfast) in the inaugural 1897 event and then 2:55 the following year. This year’s heavy gale-like headwinds suited Brignolia’s stocky frame and he finished in 2:54, despited turning his ankle on a loose stone just a mile from the finish line and having to walk-jog afterward.
In the Midwest, the University of Kansas plays its first basketball game, coached by one James Naismith. They lose 16-5 to the Kansas City YMCA.
The Cleveland Spiders set a record for Major League incompetence (and perhaps incontinence, but who knows?) by losing 134 of their 154 games. Cleveland’s 20-134 record remains the sub-standard for futility for all Major League baseball teams and the Spiders are dropped from the National League in the offseason when it contracts from 12 to 8 teams. Bring on the Browns!
Harry Vardon wins his third of a record six British Open championships. His last will come in 1914. The son of a French mom and a Brit dad, Vardon was born on the isle of Jersey betwixt the two nations. We like to think that his mom was a French maid and that pops had one of those randy curlicue mustaches that always seemed to get men into trouble back then, but we’re only supposing. We don’t know.