by John Walters
What’s The Worst That Could Happen?
That’s the question many people asked, some sincerely and others facetiously, after Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election.
Yesterday, according to Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. set a new single-day record for deaths (for this country and, by logic, for any country) with more than 2,670. It may be less than one week before we’re up to 3,000 daily and those numbers should remain steady the next few months. On MSNBC last night a doctor told Brian Williams that he expects 700,000 dead by the end of July.
The number of U.S. dead from coronavirus–again, the count officially began on Leap Day but probably extends to before then—at more than 273,000.
Remember, the number of dead Americans on 9/11 registered at 2,977 and this nation went apeshit. We’re now nearly doing this daily and the virus will have claimed ONE HUNDRED TIMES that total by Christmas day, likely.
And yet you and I both know someone who doesn’t want to wear a mask.
What is it about some Americans who take the vague threat of Muslims so seriously as to embrace a WAR ON TERROR and yet when 100 times that many Americans die in just nine months these same people don’t want to have THEIR RIGHTS INFRINGED?
I know people, you probably do, too, who flippantly note that the coronavirus dead register less than 1/10th of 1% of this country’s population. Which is true. But on that same note the 9/11 dead register less than 1/1,000th of 1% of this country’s population and we passed a Patriot Act and created a Dept. of Homeland Security over that.
Why the disparity in reactions when one threat is so much deadlier than the other? Ignorance. Fear. Xenophobia. And the ability to award government contracts to defense companies. But mostly xenophobia.
And maybe the fact that most Americans think that the people who die of COVID-19 somehow have it coming. They’re old. They’re obese. Diabetic. Thinning the herd. It can’t happen to them.
Olympic decathlete gold medalist Rafer Johnson passed away yesterday at the age of 86.
It’s not fair to sum up a gargantuan life in a few sentences, but here’s what you need to know: in 1960 Johnson became the first African-American to carry the U.S. flag into the opening ceremony of an Olympics, in Rome; he would win the gold medal in the decathlon; a UCLA alum, he would later light the torch for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles; and on the night Bobby Kennedy was assassinated, also in Los Angeles, he was the first on the scene to grab Sirhan Sirhan and subdue him.
This LA Times obituary on one of the city’s favorite adopted sons goes into greater detail. For instance, like something out of a Frank Capra film, Johnson saved his brother Jimmy from drowning when they were both lads. Jimmy Johnson would grow up to play cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers and be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Porter House Stakes
Watching congresswoman Katie Porter (D-Cal) destroy insidious and condescending gasbags is our favorite new spectator sport. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was punching way over his weight yesterday when he took on the Yale (undergrad) & Harvard (law school) alum and, of course, being at Trumper, humility and kindness never occurred to him. Only corruption and avarice. He paid the price.
Not A Good Day For Mile 1 of the NYC Marathon
Monday in New York City: wet, cold and blustery. Welcome to the final day of December. A lot I miss about NYC, but not so much the weather.
Juno Who You Are
*The judges will also accept “Turn, The Page”
If you remember actress Ellen Page, the star of Juno (wait, did that really come out 13 years ago?), a film about a quirky and independent teenage girl who gets pregnant, well, she’s now identifying as Elliott Page and is transgender. Certainly there’s a Michael Cera joke in here somewhere but we are not smart enough to unpack it.