Tag Archives: 60 Minutes

Pandemic is not ‘over’

OK, Mr. President, I feel the need to set the record straight on something you reportedly blurted out on national TV the other evening.

You told “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley that the coronavirus pandemic “is over.” Uh, Mr. President? It’s not over! It’s still with us. Pharmaceutical companies are producing new vaccines and boosters. They’re making them available for schmucks like me to take … and I damn sure am going to receive my second booster shot in very short order.

What troubles me about your careless assertion that the pandemic is “over” is that it well might cause too many Americans to let down their guard.

I also heard what you told Pelley about how so many more millions of Americans are getting vaccinated than there were when you took office. I also heard how you said that the death toll has dropped off dramatically. That’s all true.

However, if the pandemic is “over,” why make such a big deal of having this vaccine booster available?

To be clear, I am not going to join the right-wing cabal of critics in suggesting that you’re “out of touch” or that you don’t have the intellectual heft to stay on the job as president. I am with you, Mr. President.

It’s just that your words carry tremendous weight. I mean, jeez, don’t say things that reverberate the way public pronouncements do. That reverberation is amplified when it involves statements that have killed nearly 1 million Americans and caused enormous anxiety among millions of other Americans.

Look, Mr. President, a member of my immediate family became sickened right after Christmas 2020. We could have lost her! We didn’t. However, she isn’t right just yet.

Others, too, are suffering recurrences of the disease.

Businesses are still “strongly encouraging” masks. Hospitals are offering free instant exams to patients checking in with unrelated emergencies.

Does that sound like a pandemic that has run its course?

It’s still with us, Mr. President.


Hey, Biden says ‘I intend’ to run

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Biden made some news tonight during his interview with CBS News’ Scott Pelley on “60 Minutes.”

The president kinda walked back his earlier statement in which he declared he would run for a second term in 2024. In the broadcast tonight, he said he “intends” to seek re-election but that a final decision hasn’t been made.

Hmm. Well, what does one say about that?

It tells me that Joe Biden is keeping his options as open as possible, given the topic that Pelley was discussing with the president.

His age. Biden is the oldest man ever to hold the office of POTUS. The president expressed supreme confidence in his ability to do the job. “Watch me,” he urged Pelley.

OK, I get it, Mr. President. I don’t have a personal issue with Biden walking back a bit his earlier declaration of a re-election effort. I think it’s smart for the president to say only what he intends to do.

A lot of things can happen. They do and this president, who’s been victimized by fate and tragedy in unimaginable ways, at this moment is no longer a declared candidate for president in 2024.

At least not yet.


You must see this TV broadcast

Forgive me for shilling for a TV show. I can’t resist the urge to do so.

“60 Minutes” premiered its new season tonight by telling a single story during the course of its hourlong broadcast.

It told the story of heroism on 9/11. The heroes were the firefighters who answered the call when the jetliners flew into the Twin Towers.

If you are able to watch it On Demand, I encourage you to do so.

CBS News correspondent Scott Pelley interviewed many surviving firefighters, children of those who died in the chaos, colleagues of those who perished. They all told the same story. The firefighters who died when the towers collapsed did so because they were faithful to their oath to “protect and serve” the public.

These men and women accounted for 343 deaths on 9/11, the number of New York City firefighters who died because they ran into the flaming buildings.

It was a compelling news report on arguably the most compelling event of the 21st century.

If you can, I urge you to watch it. All of it. Moreover, be prepared to swallow hard.


‘So much fake news’

Every time Donald John “Liar in Chief” Trump Sr. throws out the “fake news” allegation, I am reminded only of one thing: The president lacks any sense of self-awareness.

You know the type. These are people who accuse others of doing what they do. It’s a form of projection. Perhaps it’s a pathological condition.

Whatever it is, Trump’s got it. Or he lacks it.

The president fired off a tweet after the “60 Minutes” interview with the porn queen who says the two of them had a fling in 2006. He called it “fake news.”

Sure thing, Mr. President. I happen to believe her. She’s more credible than the president of the United States. Yes. A porn actress is more believable than the head of state. What in the world has become of this world?

And … why is that? Because the president is the king of fake news.

He perpetuated the lie that Barack Obama was not qualified to serve as president because he allegedly was born in another country. He lied about President Obama wiretapping his offices in Trump Tower after the 2016 election. He lied about witnessing “thousands of Muslims” cheering the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11.

He lies without any sense of shame or guilt.

Through all of this, the president has the stones to slap the “fake news” label on any news story he deems to be negative.

Fake news are those items that are demonstrably false. They are made-up tales. They are lies put forward by those who cannot tell the truth. These tall tales are meant to defame others, to do damage to others’ credibility.

The president will never look inward while he accuses others of fomenting “fake news.” It is left to the rest of us to do it for him.

The Liar in Chief is a disgrace to his office.

Porn queen and POTUS: We’re surprised? Um, no!

Many of us are now caught up in the Soap Opera of the Ages: Let’s call it the Porn Queen and the President.

Donald J. Trump is alleged to have had this extramarital affair with an adult film actress/director/producer. It allegedly occurred in 2006, a year or so after Trump married his third wife.

Then came word that Trump paid the porn queen 130 grand just before the 2016 presidential election to keep quiet.

Oh, but wait! The president denies the affair. So, why did his lawyer, Michael Cohen, shell out the dough?

To my mind, the most interesting aspect of this story is that million of us are caught up in this miserable story. I keep asking myself: Why?

Trump has bragged about his philandering. We have known for many years about his penchant for sexual predation. He wrote a book in which he told the world about how he fooled around on his first wife before marrying Wife No. 2.

During the height of the 2016 campaign, of course, we heard him tell the “Access Hollywood” host how he has grabbed women by the pu***, because his celebrity status gave him free rein to do whatever he damn well pleases with women.

To be honest, I don’t know what we’re going to learn about Trump in this latest alleged sexual escapade that we don’t know already or that we don’t already suspect about this guy’s conduct.

The porn queen has offered to give back the money, believing it will enable her to speak freely about whether she and the future president took a tumble a dozen years ago.

Trump’s legal team, meanwhile, is looking at how it might be able to stop the broadcast of an upcoming “60 Minutes” interview the porn star granted to Anderson Cooper.

Gosh. How is it that a president who denies any misbehavior with this individual would want to block a broadcast of her telling a story that he no doubt will call “fake news”?

The question of the day is this: Why in the name of sacred marital vows is anyone surprised that Donald Trump would be involved in such a matter?

So, the seedy soap opera continues.

DeVos offers proof of why she is unfit for her job

It’s no wonder at all that Betsy DeVos needed a historic vice-presidential vote in the U.S. Senate to get her confirmed as the secretary of education.

You want evidence of it? Check out the “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday night.

DeVos’s confirmation in 2017 ended with a 50-50 tie in the Senate; Vice President Pence cast the tie-breaking vote to confirm her nomination by Donald John Trump.

Oh, brother, she stumbled and bumbled her way through the interview with CBS News correspondent Leslie Stahl.

She actually acknowledged that she hasn’t visited “underperforming schools” to see for herself why they are in such bad shape. “Maybe I should,” DeVos told Stahl.

Uhh, yeah, do ya think?

I should note that DeVos is a champion for school choice. She also has no personal exposure to public education. She was educated in private schools; her children attend private schools; she can afford — as a billionaire — to send her children and grandchildren to any school they want.

This is the person the president chose to administer our public education system? Give me a break.

As the Washington Post reported: The secretary also said she is “not so sure exactly” how she became, as Stahl described her, “the most hated” member of President Trump’s Cabinet but believes that she is “misunderstood.”

I am not among those who hates DeVos. I am deeply concerned that this individual who has zero knowledge or experience relating to public education has been put in charge of the agency that is supposed to advocate on behalf of public schools, students and teachers.

DeVos has called “traditional public education” a “dead end.” How does that engender confidence in the secretary of public education? It doesn’t. Not in the least.

I encourage you to take a look at the exchange between Stahl and DeVos contained in the link that follows. Check it out here.

Yep, this is one of the “best people” Donald Trump pledged to populate his presidential administration.


Prior restraint? No can do, Mr. President

Now we have this: Reports have surfaced that Donald Trump’s legal team is researching ways to prevent “60 Minutes” from broadcasting an interview with the porn queen with whom the president allegedly had an affair in 2006.

Let’s see. What do we make of that?

I believe it tells me that there’s something to all this baloney about a six-figure sum of money being paid to keep the porn queen quiet.

The president denies that he had an affair with this woman, who’s making quite a bit of hay of late over the publicity that has swarmed all over her — and the president. The affair allegedly occurred about a year after Trump married his third wife, Melania, and right after his wife gave birth to the couple’s son.

The porn queen/adult film producer and director has filed a lawsuit claiming that the non-disclosure agreement is null and void because Trump never signed it. He didn’t even sign it using an alias he was using at the time … sheesh!

Thus, she contends, she is able to talk all she wants about whether she had an affair with the man who would become president of the United States, despite being paid $130,000 in hush money by Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

One more thing.

The First Amendment protects a “free press.” In the 21st century, that also includes broadcast media. The U.S. Constitution prevents government from interfering in the media’s effort to do its job.

I shall add that Trump is always the president. He is the head of government. He cannot compartmentalize these issues.

Prior restraint of the media, Mr. President, is not an option.

Can this congressman promote Capitol Hill unity?

Steve Scalise is back at work.

His office is on Capitol Hill. He is a Republican member of Congress from Louisiana. Rep. Scalise also serves in a leadership position with the GOP caucus in the House of Representatives.

He has been away from the office for a while. You see, Scalise was nearly shot to death earlier this summer while practicing for a congressional baseball game along with his fellow Republican caucus teammates.

Scalise was rushed to the hospital. His condition became critical. His bullet wounds caused immense internal bleeding.

But now, thank goodness, he is recovering. He walks with crutches. He is unsteady on his feet. This past week, though, he walked onto the floor of the House to a thunderous ovation from a packed chamber of his colleagues.

And that brings me to the point of this blog post.

The tears of joy flowed across both sides of the partisan aisle. Democrats cried and cheered along with Republicans. Their friend and colleague was back. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, took the floor to proclaim her joy at Scalise’s return and credited jokingly that his “Italian heritage” — which Pelosi shares — enabled him to return to work after suffering such grievous wounds.

So, the question emerges: Was this bipartisan joyous welcome a harbinger of a potentially new era on Capitol Hill?

It might be said that such a “new era” would in fact be a return to an older time, when Ds and Rs got along after hours. They were just political adversaries, not enemies.

Scalise said on a “60 Minutes” episode broadcast tonight that he doesn’t believe Republicans and Democrats are that far apart on many key issues. He wouldn’t predict a return to a more civil atmosphere under the Capitol Dome, but he sounded mildly hopeful that his near-tragedy well might signal a return to the collegiality that’s been missing for far too long in Washington, D.C.

Can unity return?

Americans of all stripes should hail the recovery of Rep. Scalise. We all should welcome the tremendous affection demonstrated on the floor of the House when he made his dramatic return to work.

Let us hope it does signal a renewed spirit of unity.

You think you ‘know’ someone …

I have been watching and listening to Leslie Stahl for decades. The CBS News correspondent has filled me with information about the nation and the world.

She’s a regular on “60 Minutes,” where she explores in greater detail the issues of the day and the people who shape them.

You think you know someone in that venue. Then that someone reveals a totally other side. You get smacked in the face with something you’ve known all along, that these news “celebrities” are more than images on a TV screen.

Stahl writes about the joys of grandparenthood. She is speaking directly to me and to my wife.

Here’s the essay she wrote for the Sunday New York Times. Just click on the first three words of the preceding sentence.

Oh, how I relate to all she said.

Stahl, though, has an advantage over my wife and me. She gets to see her grandbaby regularly. I’m going to presume her grandchild lives nearby. We aren’t yet at that stage of grandparenting. Our precious little one lives some distance away from us, so we don’t see her nearly as often as we want.

However, that will change in due course — if you get my drift.

Stahl’s essay touches on so many aspects of grandparenthood to which we are looking so forward to enjoying. I said earlier that Stahl speaks directly to me; I won’t presume to speak for my wife, as she hasn’t seen Stahl’s essay yet. It’s kind of like the way the film “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” spoke to me. The family depicted in the film didn’t resemble my old-country Greek family members precisely. But there was enough symbolic resemblance to laugh hysterically at them in the film.

Stahl notes in her essay how some grandparents don’t want to be called “Grandpa” or “Grandma.” They somehow refuse to acknowledge the obvious, which is that they are aging. Stahl writes: “Given the intensity of grandparent love, I’ve been surprised by how many people cringe at the idea of being identified as a granny or a gramps. There’s fear of a stigma, a penalty to being seen as ‘that old.’”

My own view? Bring it on!

As Stahl writes: “When we grandparents are in the lives of the children, they get adoring, unconditional love, the parents get free child care, and we, the grannies and pops, rather than getting older, feel younger, healthier and happier. Everyone wins.”

Boy, howdy!

Bravest man in America gets married

I hereby declare Michael Brown is the bravest man in America … heck, maybe the bravest man on the planet.

Why this highest of praise? Brown has just married Marilu Henner.

So, why is that such a big deal? Henner is a well-known comedic actress who broke onto the national scene on the TV series “Taxi.” But more than that, she possesses what’s called “total recall.” It’s called “autobiographical memory” or “hyperthymesia.”

Henner can recite every single moment of her life. She is now 64 years of age.

“60 Minutes” profiled Henner and some others a few years ago in a feature explaining this rare form of acute memory retention. “I can literally listen to a song on the radio when I’m driving and go to every single time I’ve heard it, like a flash montage,” she told The New York Times.

I saw the story on the NYT’s Style section this morning and couldn’t get over the courage Henner’s new husband is demonstrating by marrying a woman with that kind of recall.

All I have to say is that … Michael Brown, you’d better be on your best behavior — for the rest of your life! Mind all your Ps and Qs, sir. Take it from me, as I’ve been at this marriage gig for 45 years: Your wife will remember every single detail of when you mess up.

And you — in particular — would be a damn fool to challenge her.

I salute you, sir, the bravest man in the world.