Tag Archives: COVID

Dr. Fauci: free at last!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Dr. Anthony Fauci made a declaration of sorts this week when he conducted a briefing to the world about the progress of the federal government’s war against the killer pandemic.

He declared his “liberation” from a presidential administration that didn’t allow him to speak the unvarnished truth about the crisis we are facing. He now answers to the Joe Biden administration, which has declared loudly and forthrightly that it intends to rely on the science to determine its course of action in fighting the disease.

Its point man is actually going to be able to take the point. President Biden asked Fauci to serve as the administration’s senior medical adviser. Fauci accepted the request “on the spot,” according to the president.

This week he offered the latest data on the effects of the virus. He did so knowing that he won’t be challenged or criticized or ridiculed by the president … who now happens to be a private citizen. The new president, Joe Biden, is listening and heeding the advice of the world’s premier infectious disease expert.

Free at last! yes, Dr. Fauci? Millions of us across the land welcome your newfound liberation.

Uh, Mr. POTUS … what about the rest of it?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald John Trump’s farewell speech to the nation is an exercise in the error of omission.

I have shared it with you already, but it deserves an additional comment. I listened to Trump’s speech a second time and I am struck by a glaring absence of reality.

If Trump had done all that he claimed to have done during his term in office he would have been re-elected with a 60 percent vote majority and a 40-state Electoral College landslide.

Yes, all those good things happened on his watch. I won’t dispute the economic skyrocket that launched on his watch. Joblessness plummeted, job growth soared, retirement funds exploded, the stock market went crazy.

But … wait! The jobs disappeared when the pandemic struck. Trump’s response to the viral attack? It was hideous. He downplayed its severity. Do you remember that? Businesses closed. Jobs vanished by the millions! Who is responsible for that? The lack of a coherent federal response must be laid directly at Donald Trump’s feet.

Trump didn’t acknowledge any of the mistakes he made in managing that response. He didn’t mention how he contradicted his science advisers’ recommendations. Trump didn’t tell us how he blurted out how ingesting cleansers might cure COVID patients of the virus nor did he mention the ridicule he received from the medical community over that hideous statement in the White House briefing room.

Trump lost the election because Americans had grown tired of his lies, of his incoherence, of the chaos associated with the rapid-fire turnaround in Cabinet officials and high-powered senior staff members. He lost because he couldn’t demonstrate a shred of empathy for a nation grieving over the pandemic.

Trump lost to Joe Biden because he did not know how to govern!

Error of omission? Yep. It was stunning in that farewell speech.

Had those positive items he mentioned today were allowed to stand alone, Donald Trump would have been re-elected in a walk. They cannot stand without challenge from  those of us who know better than to accept anything that Donald Trump says.

Farewell Address of President Donald J. Trump – YouTube

Finally, the man who lost has yet to demonstrate anything resembling class and grace in accepting defeat. A man’s man would extend his good wishes to the individual who defeated him … and would be man enough to say his name.

Donald Trump showed us once again — I hope for the final time — that he is a cowardly charlatan.

Where is Mike Pence?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A cogent question surfaced in our North Texas home this evening, which goes something like this …

If Mike Pence wants to be elected president of the United States, he will face questions about his management of the White House pandemic response team that Donald Trump formed in early 2020. Given that the rollout of the vaccines has been a disaster, and given the immense increase in death and illness from the coronavirus, where in the world is the vice president?

VP Pence has vanished, other than being in the news in the wake of that hideous riot that came dangerously close to sweeping him up in the melee that erupted on Capitol Hill. The pandemic, though, remains Crisis No. 1 in this country, inasmuch as Pence and Trump will be out of office in five days. The pandemic, however, will rage on and on and on.

Pence hasn’t been forced to answer a single question about what he is doing as head of the White House pandemic response team. Sure, the team no longer gives us “briefings” on its fight against the virus. Then again, it seems plausible to believe that Trump is keeping the VP under wraps, ordering him to keep his trap shut and away from reporters’ inquisitiveness.

If he runs for president in 2024, I am quite sure that reporters and others will ask him: What did you do to combat that killer pandemic and why did you keep such a low profile while the virus was killing 3,000-plus Americans every single day?

Hello? Mr. Vice President? Are you out there?

Words to live by … literally!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Check out the image I attached to this blog post. It contains some powerful words of wisdom that the nimrods of this world need to heed. It showed up today on my Facebook feed, so I thought I would share it with you.

The pandemic that has killed something north of 350,000 Americans is still running amok. Donald J. Trump has ridiculed those who wear masks. He actually needled the man who beat him in the 2020 presidential election because he wears a mask when he ventured into the public.

The Trumpkin Corps of Kooks has bought into their man’s cavalier attitude toward the masks and even toward the danger the pandemic has posed.

I had an up-close look at one of them recently in a Princeton, Texas, supermarket. This woman went off on a store employee about how Gov. Greg Abbott was being dictatorial by requiring Texans to wear masks.

She should see the message I attached to this blog post. Hey, maybe she’s seen it on her own social media network.

I am one American who does not object to wearing a mask; nor do I object to maintaining distance between myself and the other guy waiting in line; nor do I mind washing my hands or cleaning surfaces with sanitary wipes.

If it keeps my family and me healthy and COVID free, I am all for it.

Men and Women of the Year? Of course!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

One of the stark truths of this blog is that it hasn’t offered much praise for a newspaper where I worked for nearly 18 years. I have watched it decline to a level I no longer recognize.

Then the Amarillo Globe-News did something the other day that I find truly inspiring. Instead of singling out a Man and Woman of the Year for 2020, it chose its Men and Women of the Year: the frontline medical staffs in the Texas Panhandle who have risked their lives saving others’ lives in the wake of the killer pandemic.

A no-brainer, you say? Eh, one could make that argument. Except that not all publications that bestow these honors have followed that lead.

The Globe-News solicits nominations from the public. It would gather its management team at the end of a calendar year to deliberate over who should get the honor. The newspaper would dispatch a reporter to interview the subject and those close to him and her, concocting some pretext for the interview. Then the paper would publish its Man and Woman of the Year on Jan. 1. The paper has honored its Man of the Year since 1950; its Woman of the Year since 1974.

It’s still doing so, but with a dramatically different setup than I remember. Whatever the case, the choice this year was at one time an easy call and an inspired one.

Perhaps every community in America should honor their first responders, their medical staffs, their emergency services personnel in such a manner.

The Panhandle has been staggered by the toll brought by the virus. Its acute-care hospitals have been stretched to the limit. Its nursing homes and assisted living centers have been ravaged. They all are staffed by dedicated men and women who have become in many cases “surrogate loved ones” to patients who have struggled with the COVID-19 virus. They have held the hands of patients, told them of their love for them … and then watched many of them die.

It has been heartbreaking beyond measure.

Yes, they deserve to be honored for their hard work and their selflessness. As the newspaper stated in its New Year’s Day editorial: We also know this year, that while there were others nominated for this distinction, we found none more deserving. After all, a year like no other should yield honorees like no other.

Well … done.

It’s not ‘Trump’s money’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Those COVID-19 relief checks are starting to arrive and it is producing heated exchanges between at least two people, one of whom is a friend of mine, the other is a total stranger.

These individuals differ on their views about Donald J. Trump. My friend is an anti-Trump guy; the other fellow is a Trumpkin/Trumpster/Trumpenator.

The Trump guy is angry at my friend, apparently, because he is accepting his stimulus payment, even though he opposes Trump’s policies.

Hmm. The stranger in this fight says my friend shouldn’t be taking “Trump’s money.”

Whoa! I reminded my friend, who didn’t need reminding, that he isn’t taking “Trump’s money.” It didn’t come out of his pocket. It came out of his pocket, and mine, and his Trump-loving friend’s pocket. It’s our money.

My friend laughed out loud. He did remind his Trumpkin pal that the relief package was approved by a healthy majority in both congressional chambers, it was a “bipartisan” effort. He also took note of ow Trump took no active part in the negotiations with Democrats.

I fear we have cheapened our deep and intense political and philosophical differences to this kind of childish level. I also would be willing to wager that other “friends” — in addition to the fellows I have just described — have ensued across the nation.

What a shame.

Texas AG sues city and county for toughening rules? Weird!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Surely I am not the only Texas resident who finds this legal squabble disturbing.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued Austin and Travis County for — and this is pretty strange — invoking get-tough rules designed to protect residents from getting a killer virus.

Paxton says Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Andy Brown lack the authority to go beyond the order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott.

But … wait! Adler and Brown are concerned about the pandemic outbreak that is occurring in their community, so they are taking measures to fight it. Isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t that what local officials are charged to do?

According to the Texas Tribune:

Paxton filed a petition for temporary injunction and a temporary restraining order in Travis County District Court targeting orders made by Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Andy Brown. Citing an increase in COVID-19 cases, they announced that dine-in food and beverage service must be restricted indoors and outdoors from 10:30 p.m. to 6 a.m., starting Thursday and ending at 6 a.m. Sunday. The measure did allow drive-thru, curbside pick-up, take out, or delivery services.

“Mayor Adler and Judge Brown do not have the authority to flout Gov. [Greg] Abbott’s executive orders by shutting down businesses in Travis County and our state’s capital city,” said Paxton in a statement. “The fact that these two local leaders released their orders at night and on the eve of a major holiday shows how much contempt they have for Texans and local businesses.”

Huh? Eh? What the … ?

Is this another one of those Republican vs. Democrat disputes where one side places greater emphasis on safety measures than the other side? If that is the case, then we are in a hell of a pickle as we try to fight this damn disease.

A new year will dawn; may it bring hope

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The sun will rise at 7:29 a.m. Friday, although it is unlikely we’ll see it peek over the eastern horizon, given the crappy weather we’re having in North Texas.

It doesn’t matter. The darkness will give way to the light (more or less) and a new year will have arrived.

We all feel the same way about 2020. It sucked out loud. The pandemic continues to bring untold misery to millions of Americans and others around the world; it has killed more than 340,000 of us. And the president of the United States, Donald Trump, blew it off publicly. He told us early in the year that the pandemic is “under control.” It damn sure isn’t!

Our nation’s economy collapsed. Millions of Americans lost their jobs. Trump kept gloating about the stock market’s rise. Oh, the jobs lost? He spoke next to nothing about the suffering and strife occurring in homes throughout the land.

Then came that election. Americans sent a message of their own to Donald Trump. It was, if you’ll accept this generalization, simply this: Donald, we are sick of your policy-by-Twitter, your insults, your boorish behavior, your incessant lies and the utter incompetence you demonstrate daily about how to run the government; we want a return to the old normal.

Step right up, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. A weary nation awaits your ascent to the pinnacle of power.

We’ve got 19 days to go before Biden takes over. He has selected a governing team that he says resembles the nation he was elected to lead. It is full of ethnic and racial minorities, of men and women. It is full of individuals with prior government experience and an appreciation and understanding of its complexity, which to my mind is the most important component of the government that is taking shape.

And so … we commence the new year with a sense of hope. We must maintain our patience and vigilance as the pandemic battle continues. Those vaccines are being administered. The crisis won’t vanish any time soon.

The new president has made a solemn vow to ramp up that fight, to wage all-out war against the pandemic. I await the result of that fight and the day we can declare victory against this enemy.

I am not foolish enough to believe that declaration will come during this upcoming calendar year. However, I am enough of an optimist to believe that we are going to make a significant advance toward that end. May we start advancing right now.

Happy new year!

Pandemic is personal

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald Trump’s absence of empathy and compassion is playing out in real time. He has tested positive for the coronavirus that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. So has his wife, his youngest son, his oldest son and an assortment of those who are reportedly “close” to him.

Yet he continues to act publicly as if the only thing that matters is that election he lost and his effort to overturn a democratically conducted electoral process.

For the rest of us? It’s personal. The virus is striking close to my home. It has sickened members of my family. It has felled friends of ours. It is hurting our hearts and is causing us enough grief and anxiety to last, oh, probably forever.

Yet the president of the United States keeps playing golf, enjoys the glitz and glamor of his posh resort/house in Florida. He is content to fire off Twitter messages and bitch and moan about an election he lost.

Oh, the pandemic? He doesn’t give a rat’s a** about its effects on other American families. I cannot speak to how he has dealt with its impact on his own family. Frankly, at this point in this pandemic crisis I … just … don’t … care.

But I certainly do care that the president who took an oath to defend us has abdicated his duty while acting as if he doesn’t give a  rip about the suffering that’s occurring in this vast and great  land.

Preparing to embrace a new year like never before

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It’s just me, I suppose. Then again, there might billions of other human beings who share my view about what is going to transpire in just a few days.

They’re going to drop that ball in Times Square and we’re going to welcome 2021. Now, I don’t know about you, but I am prepared fully to embrace the new year in a manner I have never done in my life. Not ever!

The year we are about to kick into the crapper has been the pits beyond belief. You know to what I refer: the pandemic.

To be somewhat charitable toward 2020, I should note that we end this smelly armpit of a year on a hopeful note. Researchers have developed vaccines developed to eradicate the virus and doses of it are being injected into millions of Americans’ arms as we sit here tonight.

It will take time for the killer virus to vanish. Maybe another year? Or longer? I don’t know. Neither can even the most learned infectious disease experts say with any certainty when the virus will vanish.

We have lost more than 332,000 Americans. Many more are going to die from this disease. It has caused untold heartache, heartbreak, misery and agony. Those of us who have not been stricken by the virus have been forced to change our living habits. It’s been a bit of a struggle for many Americans.

What’s more — and this is unbelievable to me — the issue of preventative measures has become a political flash point. How in the name of medical safety can this happen? Oh, I know. It happens because the president of the United States has made it one. Donald Trump has denigrated those who wear masks or take other extraordinary measures to avoid getting sickened by the virus and his followers have taken his cue.

Ridiculous!

The old year is about to pass into history. Those who write about such things no doubt will attach plenty of superlatives to describe 2020: unprecedented, historic, without parallel.

I’ll add the term “miserable.” Accordingly, when the old year passes and the new arrives I might break with a recent tradition and stay awake long enough to cheer the end of the most heartbreaking year I can remember.