Thoughts on the New “You Do You” MTA Masking Policy

Since March of 2020, masks have been part of our everyday lives. It’s almost like another limb or body part by now. If I leave my home without it, I get the feeling that I am missing something.

On September 8th, the NYC MTA announced the new policy on masking entitled “You Do You“. Essentially, it is a personal choice as to whether or not to put on the mask when on the bus or the train.

I understand why the decision was made. As time has gone on, many of us have gotten tired of the preventative measures that we took seriously just a short time ago. It has become harder to Let’s be honest, masks can be uncomfortable and a pain in the ass, especially if you wear glasses.

However, we also know that the virus is still with us. Too many are getting sick and dying from the disease. Even though we know that the vaccine is safe and more importantly, saves lives, many Americans still refuse to get the shot.

For the time being, I will continue to wear my mask. Not just for me, but for everyone else around me.

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Am I the Only One Confused by the New Covid Mask Ruling?

Covid-19 has been part of our lives for more than two years. Since March of 2020, we have become accustomed to wearing masks, minimizing socializing, leaving our homes, and making sure that we get our vaccines.

Last week, Florida Judge Kathryn Mizelle (who was nominated by he who shall not be named, FYI) struck down the federal mask mandate on airplanes and other public transportation. While it was music to the ears of airplane passengers, it also created confusion among the local municipalities in and nearby New York City. Adding to the confusion is that the number of cases are again rising.

I know that we are all sick of this virus. With the warmer weather on the horizon, the urge to fling off all Covid-related restrictions and just pretend as if the last two-plus years have not happened. But my gut tells me that we cannot. Though the vaccines have allowed us to relax, we must remain ever vigilant. The chances of another wave is not out of the question. Until this virus has completely disappeared, the need for keeping the emergency light on will continue.

Thoughts On the Latest Health/Political News: The Fourth Covid Shot, Insulin Prices, and NYC Celebrities Vaccine Mandate Exception

At the end of the day, our health is our most important asset. Without it, nothing else matters.

Last week, one of the bills that Congress was scheduled to vote on was the possible reduction of the price of insulin. Americans living with diabetes can potentially spend up to $1,000 a month on the drug. If the bill had passed, the cost would have been capped at $35 a month. As expected, some members of the Republican party voted against it.

I hate to use the word “hypocrite” because it is overused when it comes to the GOP. But there is no other way to describe them. We are not talking about a bottle of aspirin that is opened occasionally due to a headache. The choice between taking lifesaving medication and keeping a roof over your head/food on the table should not be necessary. Anyone with even a modicum of human decency would recognize that.

In Covid-19 news, the CDC has announced a new recommendation for a fourth shot. At this point, the priority is people over the age of fifty or anyone of any age who is immunocompromised. But we should all get it eventually. I get it, this virus is still new. But a fourth shot? Does this mean that we will have to get one every six months for the rest of our lives?

In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams announced two weeks ago that performers and athletes are exempt from the vaccine mandate. While I understand the economic benefits, it feels like it is half-finished. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. The basketball player making the winning jump shot at Madison Square Garden and/or the actor taking the final bow at the end of the Broadway show should have the same status as a member of the cleaning crew. It just creates a bad taste in the proverbial mouth and reinforces the class status.

We forget that our health is paramount, until, for many of us, it is too late. Unfortunately, it took a pandemic to remind us of this fact. It is a reminder that we can never forget.

Sarah Palin: The One Woman Superspreader

If we have learned one thing about Covid-19 since March of 2020, it is that this virus is highly contagious. We do not have to be coughing and sneezing in someone else’s face to spread it.

Last week, former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin was dining out in New York City. The idea of her choosing to eat out is nothing new. We have been slowly moving back to leaving our homes for a meal for months. The problem is that Ms. Palin not only tested positive for Covid, but decided to ignore the local guidelines that require anyone who has received a positive test to be quarantined for five days.

As expected, she has not received the vaccine and will accept the only shot if she is no longer in the land of the living. By then, it is nothing but futile.

“It’ll be over my dead body that I’ll have to get a shot,” Ms Palin announced at the right-wing conference AmericaFest 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona last month. “I will not do that. I won’t do it, and they better not touch my kids either.”

There is only one word to describe her: selfish. We all know how deadly this disease can be. It doesn’t take much to get someone else sick. I don’t know about anyone else, but I couldn’t look myself in the mirror I gave it to someone else. The fact that she just doesn’t give a shit pushes all of my buttons and then some.

The major problem with this pandemic is not the medical aspect and its side effects. It’s that if we all cared, it would be a thing of the past. But there are far too many who don’t care and don’t realize that it is not about them when they get vaccinated. It is about everyone around them. But I guess there are some people who are too selfish to understand that.

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RFK Jr., Anne Frank, and the More Than Inappropriate use of Holocaust Analogy

For the last few decades, Holocaust education has become a normal part of our overall academic and cultural education. Which is sadly, still needed in 2022. The problem is that some think they can twist the facts and the history to fit their needs.

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. It should be a day of quiet contemplation and reverence. Instead, it has become another fight to preserve the memories of those murdered. Earlier this week, Kennedy family scion Robert F. Kennedy Jr. apologized for his remarks made at a recent anti-vaxxer rally.

“Even in Hitler’s Germany you could cross the Alps into Switzerland, you could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did,” Kennedy told a crowd of 20,000-30,000. “Today the mechanisms are being put in place to make it so that none of us can run and none of us can hide.”

What he and others who use this terminology conveniently forget is that they have choices that European Jews were denied. Anne Frank and the other inhabitants of the Annex did not go into hiding for shits and giggles. Anyone with half a brain and any basic knowledge of the period knows that the dehumanization, persecution, and murder of six million Jews was systematic and methodical. Their options were at best limited, and at worst, non-existent.

If someone chooses not to vaccinate themselves or their children against Covid-19 or any other virus, that is their decision. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have yet to see police or soldiers banging down doors, demanding to see vaccine cards.

The kicker is that his wife, actress Cheryl Hines, condemned his statement. If nothing else, that speaks volumes.

His analogy is more than inappropriate, it is insensitive. He may have apologized, but apologies mean nothing unless there are actions behind those words.

May the memories of the millions who were killed (including my own relations) forever be a blessing. Z”l.

Why Does Vaccinating Our Kids Against Covid Seem Like a No Brainer?

When it comes to our kids, we want the best for them. This, I think, should include making sure that they are physically and mentally healthy.

Last week, the rates of pediatric Covid cases shot up dramatically. According to an article from December 28th, almost 200,000 children were diagnosed with carrying the virus and 2,100 were in the hospital. I’m not a parent and by right, I cannot tell someone who is how to take care of their children. However, logic tells me that every child who is eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine should receive one. Given the number of immunizations that are required to attend school in person, I would think that this shot would be a no-brainer.

The thing that strikes me is that we know that receiving an in-school education is critical to a child’s emotional, psychological, and educational development. While learning via Zoom (or another similar program) was a temporary measure, it can never replace the experience of being in a classroom. The problem is that as Covid cases rise in general across the nation, this ping-pong game of bouncing between the school and the computer will not have a good ending.

We need our kids to go back to school, we need to go back to work, and we need to get the economy going again. The only way for this to happen is to vaccinate as many people as possible. Only then can we move forward.

P.S.

A relation of mine caught Covid last week. Thankfully, he was already hospitalized for an unrelated reason and was taken care of by the staff. But that does not mean that my mind went to the worst place possible.

Covid-19 Hit a Little Too Close to Home

It’s impossible to avoid Covid-19 these days, regardless of whether or not we contracted the virus.

Over the last couple of weeks, a friend of mine got sick from the disease and one of my cousins nearly got sick. Both were vaccinated.

The fact is that no one is immune. Any one of us can catch it at any time. What makes it so dangerous is that we can either have the virus inside of us and not know it or confuse it for a cold or the flu.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I find it extremely frustrating that we know what we need to do. Herd immunity is not an impossible task to complete. But because of a minority of fools, we continue to lose loved ones and keep our economy from getting back to where it was two years ago.

On a segments on one of my favorite podcasts, The MeidasTouch, an excellent and all too timely observation was made.

(Start at 1:06)

It’s not a hard concept to understand. Only an idiot would knowingly have unprotected sex with someone who has an STD or AIDS. By the same token, only an idiot would refuse to take basic measures that would save their life.

My fear is that these idiots will be the downfall for us all.

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What Will it Take For This Country to Come Together? Another Pearl Harbor?

The United States has always been a land of division. But even with that differences, we have found something to make bridge those divides.

Today is the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Like 9/11 sixty years later, it was a moment in time in which all Americans, regardless of labels or identity, were one.

These days, the cracks are the deepest it has been in generations. We are on the verge, if things go a certain way, of being the former United States of America. Between that and Covid-19, this nation may go down in history as the modern democratic experiment that failed. We know what we need to do to kick this virus to the curb and return to normalcy. We need to get vaccinated, wear our masks, wash our hands, and social distance when necessary.

It’s not rocket science. But there are some in this country who are either too proud, too foolish, or too stupid to realize this. If and when America goes down Hindenburg style, the blame will be on those who were unwilling to take the most simple of steps to prevent our downfall.

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The State of American Politics: The Democrats Messaging Problem and the Republicans Attack on Big Bird

When it comes down to it, politics is about two things: messages and action. One can say the right things, but without acting on what has been said, nothing gets done.

I am a lifelong Democrat. My first major election was the 2000 Presidential election in which George W. Bush ran against former Vice President Al Gore. For the last twenty-ish years, I have voted mostly along party lines. But that does not mean that I can’t or won’t speak when I feel the need. The problem with today’s Democratic Party is not the message. They just finally passed the Infrastructure Bill, for G-d sake. The problem is how the message is being presented. Instead of hearing that our young children will be educated, our seniors will be provided for, and our roads will be maintained, the only thing we are being told is the cost.

There were three recent elections that exemplified this issue. In my hometown of New York City, former police officer, and current Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams won handily against activist Curtis Sliwa in the Mayoral election. Truth be told, Adam’s win was not a complete given, but generally accepted that it was the obvious outcome. NYC is, for the most part, politically blue. It was not a surprise that Sliwa lost.

Across the river, current New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy won his Gubernatorial election against Jack Ciattarelli, but only by a narrow margin. Down south, the shock that Republican Glenn Youngkin was proclaimed the winner in the Virginia Gubernatorial election rippled across the nation. His opponent, Terry McAuliffe lost because instead of focusing on kitchen table issues, he spent his time on you know who. Youngkin won because he mostly repudiated the former President and spoke to the everyday problems that voters are dealing with.

While this is happening, the Republicans are making mountains of out molehills. With the announcement that children ages 5-11 are now eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine, the powers that be reached out to the people at Sesame Street. Via Twitter, Big Bird is encouraging young children to get the shot.

Ted Cruz, in his usual unhelpful way, decided to attack this most beloved of characters. Instead of remembering the 760,000 Americans who have died from the virus, he is opening the door for even more of us to lose our lives. When will he get it through his extra thick skull that the only way to stay alive and return to normal is to be vaccinated?

There is no doubt that the American political scene is nothing short of a shit-show. Until we get our heads out of our asses and do what needs to be done, it will continue to be a shit show.

P.S. How is Paul Gosar still in Congress when he posted a video in which AOC is killed and the President is attacked? He doesn’t have to agree with her, but he crossed the line with the suggestion of violence.

700K are Dead from Covid. Vaccine Mandates are Still Being Questioned.

After everything that we have been through in the nearly two years, I would think that we would use our heads. But logic still seems elusive, even when the facts are right in front of our eyes.

The United States reached a grim milestone this week, 700,000 people have lost their lives to Covid-19. In spite of the proof that the vaccine prevents hospitalization, severe illness, and (most importantly) death, there many who refuse to get the jab. In New York City, teachers and other school personnel had until today at 5PM to get the first shot. If the choice was made to remained unvaccinated on Monday morning, those who made that decision will be forced to go on unpaid leave. Statewide, a similar mandate has been put into place for healthcare workers. The only exemption is for religious purposes. Those wishing to file have until October 12th to do so.

I don’t get it. We are all entitled to our rights. But, we also have to realize that the vaccine requirement is not being done for shits and giggles. It is the only way to defeat this virus. What is frustrating to me is that teachers and healthcare staff work with those who are the most vulnerable to Covid-19. The reason I was vaccinated earlier this year was not just for selfish reasons. G-d forbid I get sick, the last thing I want is to spread it.

We know what we need to do. The science is clear. But instead of getting it done and returning to normal, we continue to be foolish and let our fellow Americans die for no good reason.

May G-d have mercy on all of us and one day, forgive us for what we have done.

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