Tag Archives: Covid-19

Republicans and the Hypocrisy of Small Government

Every political movement, big and small, has a core ideal that governments their policies and legislation.

If we are to believe the current Republican party, they are governed by the idea of small government. As per Thomas Jefferson, it is as follows:

[A] wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.

On paper, it doesn’t sound hypocritical at all. It comes off as fairly reasonable. The powers that be should not be interfering in the day-to-day life of the average person on the street. But the reality is another story entirely.

When they are called out for their duplicity, they claim “free speech“. What about my right to free speech? Why is it they are allowed to speak their truths, but if I do it, I am labeled a radical lefty snowflake?

If they want to live in a right-wing, sexist, and racist Christian theocracy, that is their choice and their decision. As we say in Judaism “Zolst leben un zein gezunt!” (Yiddish for you should live and be well!). but do not impose your beliefs on me and expect me to quietly give in.

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Throwback Thursday: Carnage (2011)

One of the things I find fascinating and frustrating as a grownup is that we claim to have the ability to be mature and think things through in an intelligent and reasonable manner. That being said, it is amazing how easy it is to revert back to childish behavior.

The 2011 film, Carnage, is based on the play God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza. After two eleven-year-old boys get into a fight in Brooklyn Bridge Park, their parents meet up to figure out what exactly happened and mend fences. Michael and Penelope Longstreet ( John C. Reilly and Jodie Foster) and Alan and Nancy Cowan (Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet) hope to resolve the problem in an adult and expedient manner. Instead, the conversation devolves into revelations of the character’s flaws as both spouses and parents.

Directed by Roman Polanski, this movie reveals what happens when people stop being polite and start being real (to borrow a quote from The Real World). The most interesting narratives are the ones that reveal our shortcomings as human beings. This one has revelations oozing from the core, asking all of us to look at our own imperfections and be honest about the weaknesses we need to work on.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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I Love That Patti LuPone Called Out the Audience Member for Not Wearing a Mask

When Covid-19 came onto our shores more than two years ago, we all expected that it would be a short-lived experience. We would return to our normal lives within days or weeks as if nothing had happened.

As I write this post, it is May of 2022. Many who have done everything they could have done to not get sick have gotten sick. One million Americans have lost their lives to this virus.

During a talkback after a performance of the Broadway musical Company, star Patti LuPone yelled at audience members who were not wearing masks. The video of this incident quickly went viral.

I’m not a huge fan of hers, but props to LuPone for saying what we are all thinking. Anyone entering a Broadway theater as an audience member must be masked. As of now, this rule is in place until the end of the month.

What we have to remember as audience members is that while this is entertainment for us, this is a job. If there is another shutdown, no one involved in the production gets paid. Over the last two years, I have become acutely aware that while I had the luxury of working from home. There are still and were many people who did not have that option. Wearing the mask is about respect not just for ourselves, but for the people around us.

I know that we are all tired of masks and the hoops we have to jump through just to get out of the house. But until this disease is either conquered or toned down to the point of non-existence, this is what we have to do to stay alive.

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Pandemic, Inc.: Inc Chasing the Capitalists and Thieves Who Got Rich While We Got Sick Book Review

Alexander Pope once said the following:

“To err is human, to forgive divine”

The new non-fiction book, Pandemic, Inc.: Chasing the Capitalists and Thieves Who Got Rich While We Got Sick, by J. David McSwane, was published in April. Since Covid-19 entered the United States in March of 2020, the government has spent billions of dollars to keep the nation economically afloat. Nearly 1 million lives have been lost. While I feel that we have to remember that this virus is new to us and therefore a medical hurdle in its own right, we also have to recognize the chaos, corruption, and incompetence that was created by the previous presidential administration.

Using every tool in his investigative journalism toolbox, McSwane explores that while millions of Americans were getting sick, dying, or an inch away from being broke/homeless, others took advantage of the situation. Traveling to different parts of the country, he tells the story of those who only saw dollar signs. First, there was the con artist who was given a multi-million dollar contract to provide PPEs and failed to provide the promised products. Then there was the Paycheck Protection Program, which was supposed to help small businesses stay open and keep employees on the payroll. But before many of these companies could get their hands on the money, the money was gobbled up by larger businesses whose bottom line was less likely to be affected. Finally, there was the whistleblower who understood that masks were necessary to save lives. Before their message could get to the public, they were muzzled by officials and elements within the right-wing press.

As I got further into this book, I became angry. In our greatest hour of need, when we relied on elected officials and business leaders to step up, they saw an opportunity to enrich themselves. Instead of relying on science, medicine, and logic, they pushed ideas that they knew were lies, took advantage, and thought only of filling their pocketbooks.

This is absolutely one of the best books I have read this year. If there was a list of titles that every American should read, this one would most certainly be on it. It is a reminder of the choices we have when times are tough. Do we only see ourselves and our needs or do we put others first?

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Pandemic, Inc.: Chasing the Capitalists and Thieves Who Got Rich While We Got Sick wherever books are sold.

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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.

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I’ve Been Working From Home For Two Years

When Covid-19 washed onto our figurative and literal shores two years ago, the assumption was that the virus and the following quarantine were temporary. It would all blow over and we would return to our normal lives like nothing had happened.

I remember leaving work on that fateful Friday in March of 2020, thinking that it would be just any other weekend. I would return to the office on Monday and do my job. On Sunday, I decided to check my work email. The CEO of my company announced that we would all be working from home for the short term. Cut to two years later, and I have only returned to my desk once.

Recently, my company has re-opened the office, offering a seat to anyone who wants to come in. It would be nice to see another four walls. But I don’t want to. The extra hour of sleep helps tremendously, as does the ability to dress comfortably. I don’t have to worry about getting on the train and considering the idea that I might not get in on time due to unforeseen issues.

The one thing I did not understand until I started working remotely was how much more discipline I would need. I’ve always put my job first during business hours. But the thing I underestimated is how much temptation there was at home. There is always something else to do, something to watch on TV or streaming, a book that is waiting to be read, etc.

But as much as I would like to do all of that, none of those activities result in a paycheck. The only thing to do is to put the blinders on and do what needs to be done. If nothing else, I am grateful that I have remained employed for the last two years. There are many people who cannot say the same.

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I’m Torn About the Mask Removal Mandate in NY

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am so tired of Covid-19. I want to take off the mask, throw open the doors, and live life to the fullest.

With Omicron numbers declining, a number of local and federal officials across the United States have announced that mask mandates will either be downgraded or removed completely. In New York State, the mask or vaccinate requirement for indoor businesses will expire on Thursday, February 17th.

For now, the masks must be worn while in schools, child care programs, medical facilities (nursing homes included), and while riding on public transportation. The removal of masks while attending class is pending the numbers after the upcoming winter break. In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams announced that individual business owners can decide for themselves if masks are still needed to enter the premises.

I have mixed feelings about this. To be perfectly honest, this piece of cloth that is supposed to keep us alive is a pain in the behind. We have to make sure that we have one on us when we leave the house, we have to make sure it fits properly, etc. As someone with glasses, I stopped counting the number of times that the lenses have fogged up.

But, at the same time, we know enough about this virus to understand that it is not done with us. It may be just a matter of time before we get hit by the next wave or variant. I think the best way to describe this moment is to be cautiously optimistic. For now, we can take a breath. But the question I feel we have to ask is how long will that breath last?

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P.S.: Randy Rainbow’s new video, THE TANGO: VACCINE – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody is right on target as usual. Based on the song Tango Maureen from the musical Rent, it’s the release we all need right now.

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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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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.

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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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