Tag Archives: pandemic

Yes, I am better off

Allow me to make this declaration … as if you can stop me from making it.

Here goes: I am better off by a long shot than I was four years ago.

The question, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”, is getting some traction of late. Republicans are saying “no!” They want to tar President Biden with a phony economic crisis, suggesting that the recovery from the COVID pandemic is a figment of our imagination.

It isn’t. Our economy is robust. It is — to borrow the phrase — “rocking along” by producing a record number of new jobs, historically low unemployment, a shrinking national budget deficit, an inflation rate that is stabilizing and shrinking, too.

Yes, the nation is better off than it was when Joe Biden took office as president. I won’t listen to the lies put forth by his immediate presidential predecessor.

Are in perfect condition? Of course not! Perfection is an impossibility.

But we’re damn sure better than we were.

COVID not gone!

Some distressing news came in the other day when I learned that a longtime friend and former colleague died of complications from COVID-19.

It served as a gigantic reminder that the coronavirus that has killed more than 1 million Americans is still around.  It still is harming us. We must be mindful of its presence. We should take all necessary precautions once we are aware of any possible exposure to the killer virus.

Kenton Brooks was just 67 years of age. He was still working, as far as I know, in the business of daily journalism. He had contracted the virus while working and living in Muskogee, Okla. His symptoms deteriorated rapidly and he was rushed to ICU in Tulsa, where he passed away.

He is far from the first friend I have lost to this disease. I hope he is the last one, at least for a good while.

I have heard all along that we likely never will be rid completely of the virus, that it won’t be eradicated. Indeed, I have heard in recent days about a possible spike in cases in the country, caused in large part by Americans getting out more and perhaps ignoring the precautions they had taken to avoid being stricken.

I have been reawakened to the need to take care of myself. Social distancing is back on my to-do list of precautions, along with frequent hand-washing/sanitizing; and, yes, I am going to keep masks handy in case the need should arise for me to wear one.

I also admit to being a bit nonchalant about the disease. My friend’s passing has cured me of it.

Why now, RFK Jr.?

Many things get past this old codger, one of them being the Democratic Party presidential candidacy of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

I’ll stipulate once more that RFK Jr. was given the name of my first political hero, his father. His campaign for the White House, though, is based on conspiracies that, to my mind, do not exist.

Moreover, he expresses deep personal affection for President Biden, who enjoys the overwhelming support of RFK Jr.’s family.

He says the mandated COVID-19 vaccines were an overreach by the government, which he said should never have required us to be vaccinated against a virus that killed about 1 million Americans.

Hmm. Wow! What do you suppose the death toll would have been had the Biden administration not ordered the vaccines? My hunch: a whole lot more than those who perished.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will not be elected president. Not this year. Not any year. Never. He sounds like a goofball nut case seeking to make a name for himself. Imagine that if you will … a man with arguably one of the most revered political names of the past century seeking even more attention.

I’m still trying to wrap my arms around this guy’s candidacy.

For now, I am left merely to shake my noggin in astonishment.

Where is Fauci Squad?

The congressional Republican hit squad made a grim prediction on the eve of the 2022 midterm election.

They would, if they regained control of the House of Representatives, launch an immediate investigation into all the wrongs committed by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the one-time coronavirus guru hired first by Donald Trump and then kept by Joe Biden to lead the nation out of the pandemic crisis.

They accused Fauci of lying, of covering up the cause of the pandemic, of spreading confusion. They were going to get to the bottom of it all right then and there … they said with passion.

What the hell?

Fauci has retired. He’s spending more time with his wife, his children and grandchildren. He is out of the limelight. For my money, the man deserves a medal. Hell, he ought to get several medals for putting up with the ration of horseh** he got for four years during the Trump years and during the time he served the Biden administration.

Oh, wait. I almost forgot. The Republican congressional caucus has been sniffing around Hunter Biden’s laptop, looking for crimes that they say he committed. Then we find out that an informant who reportedly was friendly with the GOP caucus is an arms dealer who worked for China … and who now is on the lam.

As for Fauci, the GOP continues to be distracted by other phony probes to spend any time looking into so-called wrongdoing by a dedicated infectious disease physician.

From my perch in the cheap seats, Anthony Fauci is a hero who saved millions of American lives. The GOP chumps looking for dirt to throw at him continually disgrace the government they have pledged to serve.


‘Bidenomics works!’

Joe Biden has coined the phrase that, if you think about it, seems to roll off the tongue.

He declared today that “Bidenomics works” better than the “trickle-down theory” promoted by archconservatives.

The numbers bear out the president’s declaration.

The administration was able to pass the Inflation Reduction Act. The result? A “reduction in inflation.”

President Biden’s administration managed to enact a massive infrastructure rebuilding plan. The result? Thousands of jobs committed to improving our roads, highways, airports, seaports.

We now have the fast-growing economy of any nation belonging to the G-7 association of industrialized nations. We have added 13 million non-farm jobs to our payrolls in the past two years. The nation has whipped the COVID-19 pandemic that killed more than 1 million Americans. People’s faith in the economic future is improving. We have reduced the national budget deficit and taken bites out of our still-growing national debt.

Yes, Mr. President. Bidenomics is working!


What is Pence talking about?

Listening to former Vice President Mike Pence announce his presidential candidacy, I was struck by the nation he was describing to a roomful of supporters in Iowa.

The United States of America that the former VP was laying out there for us is a nation in decline, that we are angry and afraid of our future, that we’re heading straight to hell.

I was left to wonder: What in the name of truth-telling is Mike Pence talking about?

President Joe Biden inherited an office at a time the nation was suffering from a pandemic that would kill more than a million Americans. We had lost millions of jobs because employers couldn’t do business while fighting the COVID-19 virus. Our allies had lost confidence in our ability to defend them — and ourselves.

As for the pandemic, it’s now essentially whipped. The jobs are coming back by the hundreds of thousands each month. Unemployment remains at historic lows.

Mike Pence talked about how he would defend Ukraine against a war of aggression from the Russians. Did he offer anything different from what Joe Biden has done already? No. He didn’t!

I am not at all clear as to what the former VP would do to restore the nation. Or what he could do.

From my perch here in Collin County, Texas, the nation is functioning well. This is occurring despite the right wing’s best efforts to demonize the left, to attack that thing called “woke,”

I listened to much of Pence’s announcement today, powered through the platitudes and promises to “make America great again.”

However, I will suggest to the Pencekins out there who have swallowed that MAGA swill that America today is greater than it ever has been and that, yep … the best is yet to come.


No, RFK Jr., don’t do it!

Never in a zillion years would I have believed I would declare my intention to oppose the political aspirations of one of the late Robert Kennedy’s children.

But … Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s intention to run for president of the U.S.A. in 2024 as a Democrat has me mighty steamed.

RFK Jr. is an anti-COVID vaccine advocate, which means policies such as his would have resulted in many more deaths than we already have suffered since the pandemic swept into the country in late 2019.

I hate saying this about one of the heirs to my first political hero, but RFK Jr. is a kook, a nut, a goofball. He has filed paperwork declaring his intention to run for president.

According to BBC: In March, Mr Kennedy shared on Twitter that he was considering a run for president.

At the time, he said: “If I run, my top priority will be to end the corrupt merger between state and corporate power that has ruined our economy, shattered the middle class, polluted our landscapes and waters, poisoned our children, and robbed us of our values and freedoms.”

Kennedy heir to challenge Biden for White House (msn.com)

Memo to Bobby Jr.:  The economy ain’t “ruined.” The middle class isn’t “shattered.” And I have not been robbed of a single “value” or “freedom.”

I’m going to stick with President Biden, thank you very much. Stay out of the race, RFK Jr. Anti-vaccine policies such as his are the true danger to us all.


COVID vaccine: political weapon

Damar Hamlin’s collapse on the football field during the Buffalo Bills-Cincinnati Bengals contest the other evening has prompted a disgusting and disgraceful display of politicization I didn’t believe was possible.

Hamlin is now released from the hospital and is home in Buffalo continuing his recovery from the frightening moment when he suffered a heart attack after tackling a Bengals player in the first quarter of a game that was suspended and eventually canceled by the National Football League.

Now comes word from some right-wing commentators and a Republican U.S. senator from Texas that Hamlin’s collapse might have been spurred by the COVID-19 virus vaccine.

What an utterly disgraceful turn!

The senator was Ted Cruz, who retweeted a message that came from actor Kevin Sorbo questioning the circumstance surrounding Hamlin’s collapse. Cruz took the tweet down. U.S. Rep. Collin Allred, a Dallas Democrat — and a former pro football player — called Cruz’s politicization of the Hamlin incident a “new low, even for Ted Cruz.”

This kind of second-guessing, grandstanding and hideous conjecture from the cheap seats simply illustrates the coarsening of our society.

It has no place … except in the gutter.


Thank you, Dr. Fauci

While we’re giving thanks to this or that person, I want to offer a word or two of gratitude for the public service delivered by someone who served seven U.S. presidents.

Anthony Fauci has retired from his post as chief medical adviser to President Biden. He is calling it a career after serving as the nation’s chief infectious disease expert.

I want to offer him thanks for taking on a job that earned him as many foes as friends over the years. Why is that? Because he was unable to predict the course that infectious diseases would take, but he still managed to save literally millions of lives over his many years of service.

Republicans who are about to take control of the House of Representatives have promised to bring Dr. Fauci back to Capitol Hill to answer stern questions about his service during the COVID pandemic. The good doc likely will stand strong against the GOP onslaught.

I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Fauci while attending the International Conference on HIV/AIDS in Bangkok back in the summer of 2004. He was there to provide wise counsel to those seeking answers to that disease. I was in Bangkok as part of a journalist contingent traveling through Southeast Asia to learn about the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in that part of the world.

Fauci served with distinction in presidential administrations dating back to Ronald Reagan. He served under the administrations of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and finally, Joe Biden.

Yes, there were some rocky times, particularly during the Trump years as the administration sought to get its arms around the COVID virus. The vitriol hurled against Dr. Fauci from those on the far right has been unfair and just plain wrong.

I just want to take this brief moment to express one American patriot’s deep thanks for the service Anthony Fauci delivered. Those who survived illness from the killer virus well might owe this good man their lives.


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.